‘Thor: Ragnarok’: Get to Know Cate Blanchett’s Hela, Marvel’s First Female Villain

     March 9, 2017

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The first stunning looks at the lead characters in Taika Waititi‘s Thor: Ragnarok emerged earlier this week. While it was a short-haired and hammerless Thor (Chris Hemsworth) that’s stirred up all sorts of conversation, it was the nearly unrecognizable Cate Blanchett‘s dark do and netherworld aesthetic that grabbed our eyeballs. Now, Blanchett is opening up about her villainous villainess Hela, the first female antagonist in the MCU.

In a chat with EW, two-time Oscar-winner Blanchett revealed Hela’s part to play in the third Thor outing, her powers, and how close the character comes to her comic book counterpart. She also commented on wanting to work with director Waititi and how her filming experienced measured up to her expectations. It’s time to meet Marvel’s next nemesis.

thor-ragnarok-cate-blanchett-hela-villainBlanchett’s character doesn’t need much of an explanation beyond her moniker as the Goddess of Death.

I think that’s where you put the period in the sentence, right? She arrives with a lot of baggage. She’s a little bit cross … She’s been locked away for millennia, getting more and more cross, and then, with a mistake, she get unleashed and she ain’t getting back in that box.”

On being Marvel’s first female villain (since that whole Iron Man 3 thing didn’t quite work out as planned):

Well let’s face it: as a woman, these opportunities have not in the past come up very frequently and I think there’s a revolution happening from within Marvel. I’ve seen so many of the Marvel franchises, particularly being the mother of four. They tend to be the only type of film particularly having young boys.

 

Can you believe it? Can you believe we’re having this conversation and it’s 2017 and we’re talking about the first female villain? It’s ridiculous. There’s so much untapped potential villainy in women. It’s really exciting. I think finally it’s beginning to be acknowledged that women and men want to see a diverse array of characters, and that’s race, gender across the sexual spectrum.

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Image via Marvel Studios

On wanting to work with Waititi and how her expectations were met on set:

For me as an actor, this is separate, is my desire to work with [director] Taika Waititi … Well I had seen his vampire movie [What We Do in the Shadows] and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. I was trying to get my head around the collision of his sensibility as a director and what had previously existed in the Thor franchise and I thought that’s going to be interesting to say the least and I thought it could produce an interesting combustible connection because tonally his work is so different from what previously existed. Obviously they wanted to do something fresh and different, which is always exciting.

 

He’s sort of part sumo wrestler, part showgirl, part father you always wanted to have. He’s so nimble. I keep saying the word irreverent. He takes the work seriously but he doesn’t take himself seriously. So there’s music on set the whole time. There was hilarity but he knew every single time when to focus.

On researching the villainess and how close she’ll come to the comic book version:

You gotta know the history of the character. And there are so many iterations of the origin story. For any of these characters, there’s never one origin story. But yes, it was really interesting to go back. Most of the time she was masked. So that’s what I really talked to the Marvel team and Taika about was when we would chose to have her masked and when she wouldn’t be masked … She’s able to manifest weapons. Her headdress can be weapons. She can manifest weapons out of different parts of her body. I won’t tell you which — I’ll leave that hanging.

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Image via Marvel

On interacting with the the denizens of Asgard:

Well, Asgard is so good. I mean one only need to have a mildly unpleasant thought and you’re considered evil. Everyone is too perfect. Why not mess it all up? It’s easy to play bad but, like when I was in Cinderella, like what makes the stepmother evil is interesting. So, it was trying to in the screen time I had to tease that stuff and to give her a journey really. So hopefully we’re given her a journey, like how you understand why Loki is as screwed up as he is. Hopefully, there’s that satisfaction in watching Hela.

For more on Thor: Ragnarok, be sure to get caught up with our recent write-ups below:

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