Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett will make her grand Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as Hela, the Asgardian Goddess of Death, in November’s Thor: Ragnarok, and the actress is hoping her role as Marvel Studios’ first major villainess on the big screen opens the door for more lady lead villains.
“I didn’t realize… I was inhabiting the first female Marvel villain onscreen,” Blanchett told E! News at San Diego Comic Con. "I thought, 'Surely not… well, no actually, that's true.' There's been many, many, many [female villains] in the comic books, but they've been a little tardy in bringing them to the screen, so hopefully there will be a lot more villainesses."
As seen in both the Thor: Ragnarok teaser trailer and the more recent Comic Con trailer, Hela destroys Thor’s mighty hammer, Mjolnir, shattering the magical weapon to pieces. Hela’s power move, which comes early on in the film, helped convince Blanchett to board the Thor threequel.
“That had me at ‘hello’ actually,” Blanchett revealed. “I thought that was really exciting that they were prepared to destroy Thor’s power in the first few minutes. It’s a nice entrance.”
When it comes to female villains on the big screen, Blanchett said, “Marvel is catching up at a rapid, rapid rate.” Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) squared off against Extremis-powered A.I.M. agent Ellen Brandt (Stephanie Szostak) in Iron Man 3, a film which was originally planned to have a main villain in Maya Hansen (Rebecca Hall). The decision to have a female lead villain was vetoed by corporate because of a belief that a female villain wouldn’t sell toys, according to Iron Man 3 director and writer Shane Black.
Marvel has several female villains on the TV side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, Daredevil, and Luke Cage all featuring female villains. Most recently, the upcoming The Defenders features a female lead villain in the mysterious Alexandra, played by Sigourney Weaver.
Fans familiar with the comics know Thanos (Josh Brolin) — the villain responsible for uniting the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's heroes in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War — is in love with Death, a sentient cosmic being that motivates the Mad Titan to want to wipe out the entirety of the universe. Many expect Hela, being the Asgardian Goddess of Death, to be the apple of Thanos' eye come Infinity War, but both the actress and the character have yet to be confirmed for the superhero epic. Blanchett, however, is open to returning to menace the Marvel Universe:
"These guys do eight films back to back, so they've got to stay in shape," Blanchett said of her superhero co-stars. "Me, I get in shape then I'm back to eating hamburgers. They have to put me in another movie because otherwise I'm just too lazy."
In Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first, he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!
Thor: Ragnarok is directed by Taika Waititi with a screenplay by Eric Pearson. The film stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddleston reprising his role as Loki. They are joined by Cate Blanchett (Hela), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Jeff Goldblum (Grandmaster), Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie), Karl Urban (Skurge), Anthony Hopkins (Odin), Sam Neill, Ray Stevenson (Volstagg), Tadanobu Asano (Hogun), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), and Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Stephen Strange). Thor: Ragnarok opens November 3rd.