I think it’s still a bit hazy what will actually happen in Thor: Ragnarok, besides the inclusion of apocalyptic villain Surtur from the realm of Muspelheim. Only thing, he’s sort of a third act kind of bad guy and wouldn’t be resurrected so early in the film because he’s that powerful. It’s possible Loki could return to the main villain mantle, but there’s another villain I think Marvel hinted to strongly in Age of Ultron that could take his place.
This concept art from the Avengers: Age of Ultron art book showcases the population of the realm of the dead Hel, which is ruled by Hela, an ambitious and powerful Thor villain who could easily become the main antagonist of Thor: Ragnarok. It’s extremely likely she is the one who sets the events in motion to bring about Ragnarok, which is the destruction of all the realms by the hands of Surtur.
While Loki is spiteful and dangerous, he’s also not about to wipe-out his entire kingdom and threaten his own life in the process, he wants to rule his people and likely without conflict. At the end of Thor: The Dark World that’s just what he’s doing, secretly taking the place of Odin. Even if Thor figures out his scheme, which is doubtful, I don’t think finding-out Loki is alive will anger Thor after his apparent sacrifice. Let’s not forget that Loki actually references Hel in The Dark World, so it’s possible he might have been there before and figured a way to travel between the realms, this might be how Loki was hooked-up with Thanos.
We’ve all assumed that The Enchantress will be the villainess of the film, but it’s starting to look like Marvel might be aiming to use Hela instead, or combine the two characters. One major reason being that DCCU’s Suicide Squad will be first out of the gate with their own magical character named Enchantress next summer. Meaning, that might try to avoid using the name Enchantress completely to avoid confusion with the DC Comics films, and Hela is a kind of character that allow them to change-up Amora for Ragnarok. Combining characters isn’t a new thing at Marvel, as the Vision took some elements from Adam Warlock and there is already chatter that Daniel Bruhl‘s Zemo might be a combo of Baron Zemo and Baron Mordo.
I’ve been quite vocal that Marvel has been holding back their heavy-hitting female villains that could become main villains instead of supporting ones, Madame Hydra being a Captain America villain I’ve been desperate to see in the future, if not in Iron First. Hela and Amora fall into that category, except Amora has a history of being a co-villain instead of being a leading one.
Hela’s motivation is quite clear, she wants to rule all realms of the dead, including Valhalla which is populated by famed heroic fallen warriors and the Valkyrie who carry them off the battlefield, and is under control of Odin. Her ambitions could lead her to release Surtur and her army of demons/dead (including Fenris Wolf) on Asgard and the other realms, thinking it would increase her powers along with her empire of the dead/damned. Hela could get ahold of Surtur’s Sword of Doom then invade Asgard to set it ablaze with the Eternal Flame which is sitting in Odin’s vault.
The Valkyrie almost made it into The Dark World but were removed from the final film, likely to introduce and include them first in Ragnarok which will explore the realms of the dead.
In the comics, Hela is the daughter of Loki, but this seems like something that will needed to be reworked for the cinematic universe to make the character less confusing. I’ve had a couple of ideas of how Hela could come into play and actually have a larger overall role within the future of the MCU including Infinity War, one being that she might be Thano‘s love Death, who he’s attempting to offer lives to as a method of courting her. Then again, they could be two different characters, but if they’re playing with the realms of the dead they might as well try to incorporate her as Death, but that’s just how I see them moving forward with her. They could also make her a partner of Loki, taking the place of Amora and giving her that relationship with Loki. A third version could be that she might be the biological mother of Loki, since she’s an actual being Hela could turn out to have given birth to Loki, this could explain his smaller stature compared to the other Frost Giants, along with his strong magical powers.
Amora’s connection to Surtur comes from the cartoon Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, where she becomes his pawn. I’m not saying it’s set in stone but I would assume that Marvel might to put all the effort into a villainess like Hela, but I won’t rule out seeing Amora in the film.
So who should Marvel be looking at for the role of Hela?
Well of course there aren’t any names circling because they haven’t come out to say this is the role they are casting. However, I have some ideas for casting considering that they’d really need to land a heavy-weight actress to pull-off a main villain role. I’ve been in the mindset that Marvel has been giving us subpar villains lately and it would be nice to have a solid one to makeup for the lacklustre Dark Elves in The Dark World, who really had zero weight to them as baddies.
My choices would include actresses such as Charlize Theron, Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett, Eva Green, and Marion Cotillard. All excellent actresses who have made a name for themselves for playing dark and complex characters throughout their careers. All pretty much have commercial successes as well as being respected, and won’t be as obscure of a choice as say Christopher Eccleston, Thomas Kretschmann or James Spader. Let’s not forget this actress would likely be either aligned or have many scenes with Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and all five could keep up him. Basically, Marvel should be aiming high which they really haven’t been doing with this franchise, and if this is our last Thor solo film they should really go all out. After having Robert Redford as a Marvel villain you’d think the studio would aim a bit higher for casting, here’s hoping they do.
Thor: Ragnarok will be out in November 3rd, 2017.