A couple hours ago, The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Marvel is courting Academy Award-winner Cate Blanchett to join the cast of Thor: Ragnarok. Our own sources have now confirmed that the actress is indeed being sought after and that talks are underway. The film is slated to begin production next summer, ahead of a November 2017 release, making it the fifth film of Marvel’s Phase Three.
What part is she being looked at for? We have no idea, but I can certainly make an educated guess. Some sites are pegging her for rumored parts like Valkyrie or Amora the Enchantress, but neither seems right to me. For one, while the Vakyrior are likely to make some sort of appearance in the film due to the apocalyptic nature of the tale being told, I can’t see a lot of screentime being given to any one of them. It seems likelier that they would simply appear as striking, mysterious beings carting off fallen warriors to Valhalla.
As for Amora? While I would love to see Enchantress and Executioner show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe someday, there just doesn’t seem to be room for them in Ragnarok. This is a film that has a LOT that it has to get across. First things first, it is the capper to Thor’s solo film trilogy, so it needs to tick most of the remaining narrative boxes in that regard. We need some sort of sit down with Odin. We need proper character moments for the likes of Sif, Heimdall, and the Warriors Three. We need closure for Thor as the future ruler of Asgard. We should probably get some sort of closure involving Jane Foster as well, whether or not Natalie Portman decides to return (we’re hearing “no”).
Beyond those moments, the film still needs to tell the tale of Ragnarok, which is the destruction (and potential rebirth) of Asgard. Will the demon Surtur be involved and a main foe in the film? Or will the consolidate things and have Thanos helping Loki to bring about the end of the Asgardians? As much as I would love to see Surtur grace the screen, I suspect we are in for the latter, which brings me to my next point…
Out of all of the Avengers he must contend with, the two likeliest to give Thanos trouble are Thor and Hulk. It’s no coincidence that Hulk will be in this film and fighting alongside his mighty friend. Having Hulk in Asgard gives Thanos incentive to not only take a troublesome race off the board, but both heroes as well. Bringing about Ragnarok and possibly temporary deaths for Thor and Hulk would certainly be a deathblow of a move before his invasion of Earth in Avengers: Infinity War.
Regardless of whether or not we are dealing with Surtur or Thanos as the main villain of the picture, alongside the ever-maniacal Loki, there is one character who this film really needs to introduce: Death (the person). In a film likely to be filled with death (the action, not the person) and possibly having heroes and villains being carted off to Valhalla and Hel, it makes since to include the character Hela in the latter. It also makes sense to combine both Hela and Death into a single character. Someone who can make her debut here ahead of a sure-to-be integral role to Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and Avengers: Infinity War Part 2.
It’s hard to see exactly what specific narrative beats that Marvel has in mind for Ragnarok. The original Christopher Yost script is reportedly been tossed and director Taika Waititi is now working with a new writer to rework the latest script that they have. The film doesn’t shoot until next summer, so they certainly have time to whip things into shape and (hopefully) deliver the first solid script that the Thor franchise has had to date.
Because of this, it’s hard to say exactly what role Blanchett is being sought for. Still, my money is on Death herself, who will likely be a combination of Marvel characters Hela and Death. We’re still almost two years away from the release of Thor: Ragnarok, so a lot of things can change in the interim. Will Blanchett sign on for this, even though she passed on the role of Queen Hippolyta in Wonder Woman? Who knows! Still, coming off of what sure to be a big awards season for the actress, she might want some blockbuster paycheck security in the form of a multi-film role for Marvel, thus offering her the freedom to continue chasing more roles and projects like Carol in the future.
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