Based on what we’ve seen so far, Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok looks like an eye-popping delight that takes more than a little bit of the visual aesthetic of Jack Kirby. But director Taika Waititi and writer Eric Pearson also borrowed elements from the Incredible Hulk‘s “Planet Hulk” story arc as well as plunking the Grandmaster (brother to the Collector) into the mix. Comics are convoluted things, with histories as long and drama-filled as daytime soap operas, so it makes sense to condense characters and plots. However, that raises the question of what other mergers may be taking place in Thor: Ragnarok. Not much is known about Tessa Thompson’s version of Valkyrie, but clues in the trailer could indicate Hela (Cate Blanchett) will be taking on some of the qualities usually associated with Amora, better known as Marvel’s Enchantress.
Before diving in, let’s examine what we know from the trailer. Valkyrie is working with the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) in some capacity. She captures Thor and brings him to the arena to fight. We also know at some point she battled Hela and lost.
Is it possible Valkyrie is battling Hela in the climatic battle? Yes. But it’s also possible — using the muted visual palette as a clue — that this is a flashback to another time and place. Possibly as far back as another cycle and another Ragnarok*. If that’s the case, we could be witnessing one of Valkyrie’s most prominent character traits: selective amnesia. Without going into the kind of detail that would fry everyone’s brain, Valkyrie has a tendency to end up in situations where she’s not 100% aware of who she is. Whether it’s because she’s been reborn on Earth, had her soul trapped in a gem, or body swapped with another woman (consensually or against her will), the idea that Valkyrie is not always herself is a consistent theme in the Marvel Universe.
(*Ragnarok, in Norse mythology, is merely the end of a cycle, not the end of everything. The Asgardians are simply reborn to begin the cycle anew.)
One of the storylines involving Valkyrie being “not herself” involves Amora. Using Valkyrie’s lust for adventure, Amora traps her within a crystal in a 1970 issue of The Avengers. While imprisoned, Valkyrie’s powers were used by Amora for various purposes, and the Enchantress could even grant other’s Valkyrie’s physical likeness. It’s within the realm of possibility they could glue pieces of that story to Thor: Ragnarok. Perhaps Hela removed Valkyrie’s memories after the battle. Perhaps the fall gave her amnesia. Or perhaps she was merely reborn once more without any knowledge of who she truly is, as in a recent run of her solo series.
Those theories make more sense than simply “Valkyrie left Asgard.” Nowhere in her history has Valkyrie abandoned her people. She has disobeyed Odin’s orders if she believed she was needed on Earth, but at the end of the day, Valkyrie is Asgardian through and through. Without an ulterior motive or loss of memory, I can’t imagine she would give Thor over to the Grandmaster. I suppose we’ll find out when Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters.