Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie in “Thor: Ragnarok”Photo: Marvel Studios
This week at San Diego Comic-Con, actress Tessa Thompson revealed that she’ll play the first explicitly LGBTQ character shown in any of the Marvel Studios superhero films. Specifically in Thor: Love and Thunder, the fourth installment of the Norse-inspired series due out in November 2021, Thompson will reprise her role as Valkyrie and search for a queen to rule at her side in New Asgard.
This is a big deal as Marvel Studios’ 23 superhero films released over the last decade have basically had no queer representation, save a grieving man in The Avengers: Endgame. The announcement also comes a week after it was revealed that Marvel’s rival comic book company, DC Comics, will feature explicitly lesbian characters in its upcoming 2020 film Birds of Prey.
A quick recap whether you’ve seen the Thor films or not: In part three, Ragnarok, Valkyrie appears as “Scrapper 142,” a slave trader who captures Thor and sells him to The Grandmaster, an elder ruler of the planet Sakaar. The Grandmaster forces captured warriors to fight in life-or-death coliseum battles for the delight of his citizens.
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Valkyrie initially appears a drunk, but is later revealed to be an exile from Thor’s homeland Asgard. She helps Thor escape The Grandmaster when she hears that their homeland, Asgard, has been overrun by Thor’s older sister, the goddess of death, Hela. By the end of The Avengers: Endgame, Valkyrie is chosen to rule over the other displaced Asgardians in New Asgard.
In the comics, Valkyrie is bisexual and had a relationship with mortal scientist Annabelle Riggs in a July 2013 issue of Fearless Defenders 7. In fact, Thor: Ragnarok was supposed to have a brief shot of a woman leaving Valkyrie’s bedroom, but the director cut from the film for fear that it would distract from Valkyrie’s conversation with Thor.