SDCC 2017 Exclusive: Tessa Thompson Talks Thor: Ragnarok

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SDCC 2017 Exclusive: Tessa Thompson Talks Thor: Ragnarok
Posted by Cat Combs

July 25, 2017

Let me start by saying Tessa Thompson is a sweetheart and I feel like we could be besties in real life. Known for her amazing roles in Creed, Selma, Dear White People, Westworld, and For Colored Girls (to name a few), it was an honor and privilege to speak with Tessa about her upcoming role in Thor: Ragnarok as the warrior Valkyrie. If you haven’t seen the new trailer for Thor: Ragnarok that was released over the weekend at Comic-Con, do so below. It features some great images of Valkyrie in action.

Thor: Ragnarok features the return of Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Idris Elba as Heimdall, and Anthony Hopkins as Odin. There are also new characters like Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster, Cate Blanchett as Hela, and Karl Urban as Skurge. We are all so excited to see this version of Valkyrie on screen at the release of Thor: Ragnarok on November 3, 2017.

SAN DIEGO, CA – JULY 22: (Back row L – R) Actors Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, Tessa Thompson, Rachel House, (front row L-R) Mark Ruffalo, director Taika Waititi, actors Cate Blanchett, Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston from Marvel Studios’ ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ at the San Diego Comic-Con International 2017 Marvel Studios Panel in Hall H on July 22, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Jeff Goldblum; Karl Urban; Tessa Thompson; Rachel House; Mark Ruffalo; Taika Waititi; Cate Blanchett; Chris Hemsworth; Tom Hiddleston

In Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk!

According to the Marvel wiki, Valkyrie’s an Asgardian by birth, also known by her real name, Brunnhilde. She was selected by Odin to lead the Valkyrior. Among her other aliases are Barbara Denton-Norriss, Samantha Parrington, Sian Bowen, and Annabelle Riggs who were all host bodies to the spirit of Brunnhilde. She is also an ally and one-time love interest of Thor. Her superhero abilities include: superhuman strength, endurance, and the ability to convey spirits of the dead.

Speaking with, Tessa shared some thoughts about her debut into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She gives us the best feels. Her speaking on women, black women, and women of color is absolutely uplifting and makes me proud to be a black woman in the industry.

So, welcome to the Marvel Universe!

Tessa Thompson: Thanks so much! Thank you! I’m like, what is life. I’m so confused. (LOL) I was really lucky. I was up all night working on Westworld, we just started the second season. So, I got home at 6 a.m., I went straight to sleep, I woke up an hour and a half later, and then was on a plane here. So, I’m like, literally, am I dreaming? I think I am.

It’s all very exciting.

Tessa Thompson: Yeah!

Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson)

What initially encouraged you to take this role as Valkyrie?

Tessa Thompson: I mean so many things. The thing that’s so exciting about being a part of this company, which I consider the cinematic universe to be, is that its people are such fantastic actors, you know, and wonderful people to collaborate with. And I was such a fan of Taika’s work. I loved his films from Boy to What We Do in the Shadows, to Hunt for the Wilderpeople. I just think he’s such a singular film maker and I thought it was so exciting that Marvel wanted to take the third installment of this franchise and do something really fresh and new and trust a young filmmaker with their unique voice to do that. And I saw the same thing happening with Ryan Coogler with Black Panther, of course I worked with him on Creed, and I just thought what an exciting time to enter this universe where they’re taking a chance, not even taking a chance, because these are film makers that are incredible, these are actors that are incredible, and it’s a no brainer. Like, why wouldn’t I. I’m lucky to be in their company. So, when they asked me to do, it was, yeah of course.

Absolutely. Now is there a characteristic of your character that you wanted to shine and bring forth to the screen more than others?

Tessa Thompson: I think, you know, I feel like one of the biggest things when Valkyrie was introduced as being a character, there was a lot of speculation within fans, the fan group, that she would be a love interest because Jane Foster wasn’t going to join us. And I think there was something so exciting about playing a female character that has her own agency, that really could give a damn about a man in the movie. And in fact, Thor is kind of a fan girl for the Valkyrie, you know. And she kind of could care less about him. She challenges him, and I thought that was so neat, and something that you don’t get to see.

Especially, in the context of action movies or superhero films, who often see the fleshed out female character being someone that is either the girlfriend or the love interest, or even if she’s a superhero, she’s still, her story, is often tied to the men in the film, and I thought it was so fantastic that she had her own story, her own journey, and she reluctantly joins his. And I just think that that’s something that may speak to a lot of women, and of course, I feel like representation is very important. I don’t assume that I will represent all black women, all women of color, but I think we’re making strides. And it makes me feel so proud to end our panel and then to sit back stage and, like with tears in my eyes, watch the Black Panther trailer and see all these fantastic women of color and black women on screen. So, I just think it’s a really rich time to be involved and I’m so lucky to play a character that hasn’t historically been represented this way. I feel like it speaks to where we are in this present moment. And I’m just, I’m still pinching myself! (LOL)

(LOL) Well, thank you. We are very excited to see the film.

Tessa Thompson: Thank you! I’m so grateful. Thanks for taking the time.

Of course!

Honestly, the sweetest. We can’t wait to see her kick butt in Thor: Ragnarok.

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