Marvel today announced that Cate Blanchett has joined the cast of Thor: Ragnarok as the mystical villainess Hela. Her stepping into the role marks the first time Marvel has cast a woman to play the main villain in its ever-expanding Cinematic Universe. She'll be joined by Jeff Goldblum, who is set to play the supremely powerful Grandmaster, alongside Dear White People's Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, Star Trek's Karl Urban as Skurge, and a returning Mark Ruffalo, who will reprise his role as the Hulk.
Hela is coming
Hela is a significant addition to Marvel's movie universe. Having debuted in the comics back in 1964, she is the daughter of an older form of Loki's and the ruler of Hel, the Asgardian realm of the dead. Her presence is intrinsically linked to Ragnarok, or the Norse apocalypse, wherein all gods of Asgard are killed off. (An event that was hinted at in Avengers: Age of Ultron.) It's easy to imagine Blanchett, a two-time Oscar-winner and living Royal Elf, lending the role incredible power.
The rest of the cast hints at the next Thor being far more ambitious than the franchise's last outing, Thor: The Dark World, even if their significance to the plot is a little harder to discern. Tessa Thompson taking up the mantle of Valkyrie makes her Marvel's second superheroine of color, and she's set to replace Natalie Portman as Thor's love interest. Jeff Goldblum's Grandmaster is one of the most powerful beings in the universe, and Karl Urban's Skurge is a great Asgardian warrior. And, of course, Bruce Banner being anywhere near Asgard hints at a possible connection to Marvel's Planet Hulk storyline, wherein he takes over and rules an alien world.
All told, there is surprisingly a lot to be excited about. Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters on November 3rd, 2017.