Hela in Thor: Ragnarok

Hela in Thor: RagnarokThor: Ragnarok comes out on November third in the U.S. This movie promises Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo reprising their roles, but another classic Thor character is joining the mix as well. Cate Blanchett, famous for her portrayal of Galadriel in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy, will become Hela, the goddess of death.

Hela: Goddess of the dead

In the original Norse mythology, Hel was a being who presided over a realm of the same name and received a portion of the undead, yet was not allowed to rule the honored dead. She ruled Hel and Niflheim. Niflheim is where the dishonored dead are sent, whereas Hel contains souls neither specially honored nor dishonored. The final place of eternal rest was Valhalla, the place of the victorious or courageous dead. In the Marvel universe, Hela is Loki’s daughter (more on that in a bit), who looks to expand her influence to Valhalla, usually through open conflict with Odin and Thor.

Hela, is not the current Loki’s daughter. Yes, it is confusing. The idea of Ragnarok is one of cycles and incarnations—she is the daughter of a previous incarnation of Loki. When she came of age (unsure how one can survive the entire rewriting of the universe) Odin appointed her goddess of two of the three realms of the dead. As a result she ended up turning into a villain powerful enough to not only kill Thor, but Odin as well.

In addition, her parenthood may give us a clue as to her part in the new movie. As she is from a previous cycle of Ragnarok, she may be aware of its implications. She could have a desire to bring it about, prevent it, or simply survive. Either one of those, or she could also look to expand her power over Valhalla and Asgard. We will know it due time.

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Doctor Strange Character and Movie

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange
Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange

In July of 1963, Marvel debuted a character named Doctor Strange in Strange Tales #110. A world-famous surgeon, Doctor Strange remained a vain, uncaring, and selfish man, until a car accident left his surgical skills a thing of the past. Desperate for a cure, Strange traveled to Tibet and found the Ancient One’s palace. He began to study the magic arts, and discovered he was destined to become the next Sorcerer Supreme. He would defeat powerful beings in their own mystic realms, clash the Ancient One’s other apprentice, and defeat a test given by death itself, giving him near-immortality and endless magical strength–as well as selflessness.

Returning to New York, Strange began his career as a superhero, battling alongside other Marvel heroes such as Spider-Man, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, and many more. He participated in the fight against Thanos, Dormammu, and many more over his long career.

Now we have the chance to see Doctor Strange on the big screen. Benedict Cumberbatch, famous for playing Sherlock Holmes, “John Harrison,” and for having the most British name possible, is going to star as the titular Doctor. Only a teaser trailer has been released so far, but we know the path Doctor Strange follows is the same as in the comics: selfish surgeon, car accident, goes looking for Ancient One to cure himself, gets magical powers instead. The movie will be released on November 4th.

Also appearing the film will be Mads Mikkelsen playing a yet-unnamed sorcerer, Chiwetel Ejiofor (Solomon Northrup in 12 Years a Slave, the Operative in Serenity) will play Karl Mordo, the Ancient One’s other apprentice (who is an amalgamation of several characters from the comic book series). Rachal McAdams will appear as a fellow surgeon, Michael Stuhlbarg as a rival scientist, and Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One.

Swinton’s casting created controversy, as the Ancient One was presented as an old Tibetian man.  Co-writer C. Robert Cargill described it as a Kobayashi Maru-esque situation: “More about which way you’re willing to lose”—Cargill explained the character was a racial stereotype at its creation, and couldn’t risk using an actor from a different Asian country due to the political tension involving Tibet, or even a Tibetan one. Director Scott Derrickson decided to “use this as an opportunity to cast an amazing actress in a male role.”

Comic Doctor Strange
Comic Doctor Strange

Filming has concluded (baring possible pick-up shots), and has scenes shot in Nepal, the United Kingdom, and New York City. It’s also been revealed James Gunn, director of Guardians of the Galaxy, provided notes for the script, beyond the normal amount of conversation between directors of Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

We’re eager to see the finished product. Thanks for reading, be sure to come back next time for more fun fan information!