The Thor series of movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe centers around the super-powered Asgardian who has been a major figure in the comics for more than four decades. Thor: The Dark World didn’t quite meet critics’ high expectations, but Taika Waititi shook things up with Thor: Ragnarok, bringing a fun sense of humor that has made it the highest-rated Thor movie on Rotten Tomatoes. The change in tone wasn’t the only thing behind the movie’s popularity, and Thor is far from the only popular Asgardian from the comics.
Fans went wild when it was announced that Valkyrie would be in Ragnarok, played by Tessa Thompson. Not only would a woman of color play a major part in a superhero blockbuster, but the character is canonically attracted to both genders in the comics, having had a romance with Annabelle Riggs. Valkyrie’s sexuality was ultimately omitted from the final cut of the movie, but Thompson has stated that sheyo incorporated that aspect of the character as she was filming. There are still plenty of hidden tidbits to uncover about Valkyrie and her enhanced Asgardian anatomy following the movie.
Note: The character is known as Scrapper 142 and Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok, and she’s also called Brunnhilde in the comics. For simplicity’s sake, she’ll remain Valkyrie.
Updated on June 28th, 2022 by Amanda Bruce: Valkyrie’s role in the MCU continues to expand as she becomes King of Asgard in Thor: Love And Thunder. With over 40 years of comic book history to pull from, the MCU has a lot of material surrounding the character that can be adapted for the screen. While she’s never taken on the title of King in the comics, there’s still a lot fans can learn about her from the pages that might make its way to the MCU.
Valkyrie Is Originally White In The Comics
Thanks to the critical and box office success of Thor: Ragnarok, Tessa Thompson’s portrayal of Valkyrie is what comes to mind for millions of movie-goers everywhere. However, much like Thor, the character is actually white and blonde in the original comics. Thompson, on the other hand, is of mixed race. Thompson’s casting as Valkyrie marked a significant moment in pop culture in a genre saturated with white male superheroes.
Supporters of the decision were excited to see a woman of color kicking butt in the forefront rather than blending in as Asgardian Number 23. Also, it’s a casting choice that paid off; Thompson has been praised for her performance, having no problem keeping up with MCU veterans like Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo.
She Has A Valkyrie Tattoo On Her Left Arm
Valkyrie first appears in Thor: Ragnarok on Sakaar as Scrapper 142 and captures Thor for the Grandmaster’s Contest of Champions. She comes off as a selfish mercenary fending for herself, but Thor soon learns that she’s an Asgardian and tries to appeal to her sense of honor after he catches a glimpse of the tattoo on her left arm.
As it turns out, her tattoo is exclusive to the Valkyries, a group of elite Asgardian female warriors. It’s a little odd that Valkyrie doesn’t bother hiding it properly, hinting at her lingering loyalty to her fallen compatriots. Or, perhaps she’s gotten so disillusioned that she doesn’t care who knows about her former life.
Waititi Designed The Valkyrie Seal
It is a truth universally acknowledged that if a tattoo is featured in a major franchise, fans will get it, piecing together the whole design from grainy footage and fleeting shots. It sure helps that the Valkyrie symbol looks absolutely stunning, and that’s all thanks to director Taika Waititi.
According to the director’s commentary, Waititi designed the seal that’s now been permanently inked on countless fans. Valkyrie isn’t the only one sporting a tattoo, either. There’s footage floating around featuring Thor with a “LOKI R.I.P.” tattoo on his forearm. Waititi seems to have designed that too, judging by the sketches on his own arm, one of which says “LOKI 4 EVA.” However, none of these made it into the final cut like Valkyrie’s ink.
Valkyrie Ages Slower Than Humans
This should come as no surprise by now, but even though Valkyrie looks like a human, she possesses traits far more impressive than us mere mortals.
As an Asgardian, she’s not immortal but does live far longer than humans, “give or take five thousand years,” as Loki puts it. She simply seems immortal because her lifespan is much longer than a human’s. She’s also much stronger and faster, and more resistant to physical damage. Sure, earthly objects can hurt Asgardians, but they need to be wielded by someone who also has extraordinary abilities. Her resistance to physical damage probably means there’s some sort of heavenly tattoo equipment in Asgard, especially since Valkyrie is far from the only Asgardian with body art.
Valkyrie Can Tell When Someone’s About To Perish
Valkyrie shares a lot of physical traits and skills with her fellow Asgardians, but she’s got a power that not even Thor or Loki has. In addition to being pretty much invincible, she can tell when someone’s life is about to end in the form of an aura or “death glow” around their body. That said, she can only tell that the end is near, and not how the person will actually perish.
It’s a power that must be really useful, since Valkyrie is the leader of the Valkyrior in the comics, choosing fallen warriors and bringing them to Valhalla to honor them. It’s probably also a massive burden, though; imagine poor Valkyrie looking around just as Thanos is about to snap his fingers.
Valkyrie’s Soul Gets Trapped In A Crystal
At one point in the comics, Valkyrie is prohibited from taking human warriors to Valhalla and becomes super cynical and bitter. She then meets Amora the Enchantress and joins her on her adventures. Soon, Valkyrie realizes that the Enchantress is wicked, but before Valkyrie can leave her, the Enchantress traps her soul inside a crystal. Valkyrie’s body stays in suspended animation while the Enchantress channels her powers or grants them to someone else.
Since Marvel incorporated elements of Planet Hulk for Thor: Ragnarok, maybe this could be part of Valkyrie’s arc in the future. Fans have been curious if Valkyrie will ever battle Enchantress in the MCU.
The Enchantress Takes Over Valkyrie’s Body
As if it isn’t bad enough for Valkyrie to get her spiritual essence trapped inside of a crystal and have her powers loaned out to wicked strangers, the Enchantress also takes control of her body. Posing as Valkyrie, the Enchantress forms the Lady Liberators with the Wasp, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, and Medusa, manipulating the superheroines into fighting against the Avengers. Fortunately, her true intentions are discovered and she fails to carry out her plan to eliminate the good guys.
There is a second incarnation of the Lady Liberators, though. This time around, the team is led by She-Hulk, and Valkyrie is part of this new group of superheroines going against the Red Hulk.
Valkyrie’s Consciousness Ends Up In Barbara Norris
Valkyrie’s physical body can go through a lot of damage, and luckily, her spirit is just as resilient, because it travels from body to body over and over again. One of her host bodies is a woman named Barbara Norris.
Norris had been losing touch with reality after being trapped in an alternate mystical realm, and the Enchantress puts Valkyrie’s consciousness in Norris’s body to help the Defenders escape from Casiolena. However, the Enchantress doesn’t reverse her handiwork even when the plan is done, leaving Valkyrie’s spirit inside of Norris’s body. As a result, Norris’s body takes on Valkyrie’s appearance as well as her abilities and consciousness. Valkyrie is perfectly aware that she’s stuck with someone else’s body and tries to learn more about Norris’s life.
Meanwhile, Valkyrie’s Body Holds Norris’s Spirit
While Valkyrie’s spirit is in someone else’s body, her own real body is still in Asgard and houses Norris’s consciousness at one point. The two eventually meet when Ollerus tries to take over Asgard, and they end up fighting against each other. Norris’s consciousness in Valkyrie’s body is sent to Niflheim, the realm for non-heroic Asgardian warriors who have passed.
But, Valkyrie doesn’t seem particularly concerned. She goes back to Earth with the Defenders, still using Norris’s body, and isn’t exactly scrambling to reunite with her original body. Fans don’t know the reason for her nonchalance, but it could be that she agrees with Yoda, believing that her body is just a crude vessel for her soul.
Valkyrie’s Mind And Body Are Reunited Thanks To Doctor Strange
Even though Valkyrie doesn’t seem to mind having her consciousness in someone else’s body, and having a stranger’s consciousness in her real body, she does end up getting her spirit back in her own body.
Norris’s body perishes, which frees up Valkyrie’s spirit; meanwhile, the Enchantress saves Valkyrie’s body from Niflheim. Then, Doctor Strange helps Valkyrie reunite her body and soul, and she regains all of her memories and personality traits as a result. Finally freed, Valkyrie gives the Enchantress a taste of her own medicine, sending her to the crystal. Yet, instead of going back to Asgard, Valkyrie chooses to return to Earth with the Defenders because of the Asgardians’ (especially Odin’s) indifference to her struggle.
Valkyrie Consumes The Apples Of Idunn
The Golden Apples of Idunn haven’t been mentioned in the MCU, but in the comics, they help the Asgardians maintain their youth and vitality. It’s a miraculous fruit exclusive to Asgard, and the goddess Idunn is the only one who can pick them.
Valkyrie also eats the Golden Apples, which helps her stay in peak physical condition. However, she does eventually stop eating them, which reduces her stamina and makes her more vulnerable. It turns out that her plan in the Fear Itself arc is to obtain the hammers used by Cul’s servants and seal them inside herself. When she perishes, having stopped eating the apples, the hammers would also disappear from existence for the rest of time.
Tessa Thompson Gained 15 Lbs Of Muscle To Play Valkyrie
There’s a lot of talk about how the male stars of the MCU undergo intense training to transform into believable superheroes, but they’re not the only ones with such dedication. Thompson revealed that she gained 15 lbs of muscle to play the role of Valkyrie. The hero doesn’t have trouble keeping up with Thor, and Thompson also holds her own alongside Hemsworth.
Thompson also adds that she wanted to defy the idea that in order for a woman to be beautiful, she has to be thin. Part of the reason for bulking up was to unabashedly show Valkyrie’s physical strength, and how she doesn’t care about how she appears to others. Tessa Thompson shares the same sentiment as the character and felt strong and comfortable in her skin.
Odin Takes Away Valkyrie’s Powers For Saving Sieglinde
Valkyrie, along with other Asgardians and non-human species in general, can seem pretty much invincible. However, she hasn’t always been as powerful as she is. In fact, at one point, she is fully stripped of her superpowers and rendered helpless. Odin gives Thor the identity of Siegmund, a mortal warrior, and Odin eventually demands that Siegmund’s life be taken.
Siegmund does perish, despite Valkyrie’s interventions, but Valkyrie helps his pregnant lover Sieglinde stay safe. Odin isn’t happy about Valkyrie’s disobedience, so he takes away her Asgardian powers and puts her into a trance as a consequence. Later, Siegmund and Sieglinde’s son, Siegfried, wakes up Valkyrie, and as it turns out, Siegfried is yet another mortal identity of Thor.
Valkyrie Leaps Into Thor/Siegfried’s Funeral Pyre
After being awakened, Valkyrie eventually becomes Siegfried’s partner and decides to make him invincible, as long as his back isn’t turned on his enemies. Siegfried eventually double-crosses her, but Valkyrie remains in love with him.
When Siegfried’s life comes to an end, rather than carrying on without him, Valkyrie chooses to jump into his funeral pyre. And since Odin has stripped her of all her Asgardian powers and traits, she perishes in the fire alongside Siegfried. Just like the Asgardian characters themselves, this chapter in her life is inspired by the actual mythology in our own universe. It’s a tragic episode in her life, but like most comic book characters, neither Valkyrie nor Thor/Siegfried remain deceased for long.
Valkyrie Comes Back To Life Without Memories
The two partners come back to life, courtesy of Odin, the guy who started this whole mess in the first place. Both Thor and Valkyrie go back to their old Asgardian lives and regain their superpowers, but Odin wipes their minds of their memories on Earth.
There is a catch though: this account of Valkyrie’s backstory and transformation from Asgardian to human, and back to Asgardian, might not be entirely reliable. It’s a story recounted by the eye of Odin. Odin had exiled his eye into Mimir’s Well, and it became its own sentient being and kept all of Odin’s knowledge. So, it could very well all be a lie, or very liberally embellished.
Valkyrie Can Travel Between The Realms Of The Living And Dead
In Norse mythology, a Valkyrie is a female figure tasked with choosing who lives and who perishes in battle. They then decide who among the deceased are allowed to go to Valhalla. The Marvel Valkyrior play a similar role in the comics, choosing only the worthy to pass onto Valhalla.
Since her primary responsibility is to guide these fallen warriors, Valkyrie is able to freely pass between the realm of the living and the realm of the deceased. She can even bring along someone who has passed or is about to pass by simply willing it. It’s certainly a convenient skill for the leader of the Valkyrior to have, if only she had as much control over her spirit, freeing her from the Enchantress’s crystal.
Odin Gives Valkyrie Extra Powers To Fight Moondragon
Odin is the ruler of Asgard, so it stands to reason that he’s the most powerful Asgardian there is: giving and taking away powers and lives as he pleases. Even though he (allegedly) takes away Valkyrie’s Asgardian powers for defying him, he gives her extra powers when she takes on Moondragon.
Odin initially assigns Valkyrie as Moongradon’s guardian, so the latter can learn humility. The two women even fight by each other’s side, but Moondragon doesn’t stick with the good guys for long. As Moondragon turns against the Defenders and attacks them, Valkyrie is temporarily given extra powers by Odin. As a result, she’s able to make her body huge and she defeats Moondragon, but doesn’t capture her.
Valkyrie Becomes A Statue
Moondragon comes back for another attempt on the Defenders’ lives, but this time, stronger than ever thanks to the help of the Beyonder. In order to defeat her and the Dragon of the Moon, Valkyrie, Interloper, Andromeda and Manslaughter join their life forces together and three other members of the Defenders go off to save innocent bystanders.
Their plan works, and the Dragon of the Moon, the entity that caused Moondragon to revert to her old immoral ways, is seemingly defeated. However, the victory comes at a great cost. When the three Defenders come back to the scene, they find that Valkyrie, Interloper, Andromeda, Manslaughter, and Moondragon have all turned into statues made of ashes and dust.
Valkyrie Gets Put In Someone Else’s Body (Again)
Valkyrie comes back to life (again) with the help of Doctor Strange (again) and is put in someone else’s body (again).
This time, her host is Sian Bowen. Not much is known about Bowen except that she’s essentially a university student who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. And, if fans think this is the last of Valkyrie’s unfortunate Freaky Friday situation, think again. She and Annabelle Riggs (yes, as in her girlfriend the archaeologist) share the same body for a while in the comics, each taking turns to determine who’s in control. At another point, Valkyrie’s powers are also given to Samantha Parrington by the Enchantress. It’s not really the same host body situation, though, since Parrington is more of a copy of Valkyrie.
Thompson’s Valkyrie Wig Cost A Fortune
Huge Hollywood blockbusters have giant budgets, and the MCU is no exception. Every facet of production is highly detailed to withstand even the most intense scrutiny. So, it’s not really a surprise that Thor: Ragnarok dropped some big bucks for hair and wardrobe. But, Thompson’s Valkyrie wig reportedly cost $10,000 (take that, Thor).
Director Boots Riley reveals that Thompson was doing reshoots for Thor while filming Sorry to Bother You. She used her own multicolored hair for the role of Detroit because the principal production of Thor was already done. Clearly, it would be odd for Valkyrie to show up in a scene with a rainbow bob, so Disney had to spend thousands of dollars for a realistic-looking wig for reshoots.
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