When Thor returns to the big screen in November, he'll have to contend with one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most damning threats: Hela, the Asgardian Goddess of Death, played by Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett.
"It's just a Goddess of Death, but what I like about playing her is that I really didn't know anything about her and that's really exciting," Blanchett told ComicBook.com. "I mean obviously, the deep hardcore fan base would know a lot about her, so there was kind of a really interesting process of discovery for me."
"I guess like any of the Marvel characters, they have really interesting and varied back stories - it depends which origin story you read as to whose side she's on and why she's been kept at bay for so long," Blanchett said. "But yeah, playing the Goddess of Death has been really interesting."
Blanchett says the lady of death has been left with a grudge after imprisonment, and the villain will be returning the eternal sleep to a realm known for its extended lifespans.
"She's been banished for a very long time," Blanchett added of the Asgardian villainess. "I don't know how much I'm allowed to say. She's been banished for a very long time and I think if you do time under the Asgardian stairs for 5,000 years, you'd be a little bit cross. But I think it's very interesting to bring the concept of death into a world that's ostensibly immortal. You know, you look at the Western world and in most cultures, Death has been banished from the world in which most Western people live. And as a result, I think it's made life rather screwed up."
Blanchett paints Hela as more of a force of nature, and one who doesn't understand why beings reject her and the idea of Death.
"There's a side of death which can be the gentleman kind and there's a side of death which can be brutal and savage, depending on whose death it is," Blanchett said. "But I think that there's a lot of unresolved issues with Asgard. She doesn't meet people who are receptive to her, and I think she's quite bewildered as to why people are frightened of her -- but the more havoc she wreaks, the stronger she becomes."
Blanchett joins a cast that includes Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, Tessa Thompson, Jeff Goldblum and Anthony Hopkins. Thor: Ragnarok opens November 3.