Cate Blanchett played the villain Hela in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok. Early on in the development of the first Thor movie -- which was Chris Hemsworth's first but far from last Marvel Studios movie -- Hela would have made a much less meaningful Marvel Cinematic Universe debut. Responding to a "Marvel Twitter confession" post on Twitter, Thor co-writer Zack Stentz confessed that he knew little about Marvel's version of the Norse god when he began working on the script with co-writer Ashley Edward Miller. "I knew almost nothing about Thor the comic book when Ash & I got the job to write the movie (Ash was a huge expert, though.)," Stentz tweeted. "I did a crash course in the [Stan] Lee & [Jack] Kirby, [Walt] Simonson, & JMS [J. Michael Straczynski] runs along with auditing a college course on Norse mythology while writing the script."
He went on to say that he wrote a humorous Hela cameo into the script that Miller had him remove. "In the 1st draft of the script, during Thor's coronation at one point I had Volstagg blurt out 'What the hell!' and Hela turn around & glare at him until he said 'Sorry; figure of speech,' Stentz recalls. "Ash made me take out the joke, which is fortunate given the events of Ragnarok…"
In the 1st draft of the script, during Thor's coronation at one point I had Volstagg blurt out "What the hell!" and Hela turn around & glare at him until he said "Sorry; figure of speech." Ash made me take out the joke, which is fortunate given the events of Ragnarok...— Zack Stentz (@MuseZack) September 8, 2020
Having Hela show up as a one-note joke in Thor would have made her big bad debut in Thor: Ragnarok more awkward. They dodged that complication, and Blanchett made the character a formidable foe for the god of thunder. As for whether she'll ever return to the role, Blanchett said in 2019 that "That's probably a Marvel question. I'm here."
Blanchett also expressed excitement over Natalie Portman's return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, where she'll work with returning Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi. "I'm so, so excited," Blanchett said. "I'm so looking forward to seeing it because I absolutely loved seeing them all with my kids. But I really, really loved Captain Marvel. No offense, Taika, but it was probably my favorite."
Thor: Love and Thunder will follow a storyline from Jason Aaron's recent run on Marvel's Thor comics, in which Jane Foster lifts Mjolnir to become the new Thor. "[Taika] would flip through and read that run [Jason Aaron's The Mighty Thor] while he was doing Ragnarok," Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige said of the movie in 2019. "And I think when he agreed to come back and do another Thor, he was like, 'How do we–?' This is a very big movie that'll be folding in a lot of elements. That is a hugely important part of it. He pitched it to us, and we were totally in. We loved it. We'd been in touch with Natalie. She's part of the MCU family, and we put she and Taika together. It took one meeting, and she agreed to do it."
Thor: Love and Thunder opens in theaters on February 11, 2022.