One of the biggest and most welcome surprises in Thor: Ragnarok was the presence of Cate Blanchett as the main villain Hela, Thor and Loki’s long-lost sibling. As it turns out, the character almost showed up in a very different avatar in the first Thor movie, as the film’s writer Zack Stentz recently revealed on Twitter.
“In the 1st draft of the script, during Thor’s coronation at one point I had Volstagg blurt out “What the hell!” and Hela turn around & glare at him until he said “Sorry; figure of speech.” [Co-writer] Ash [Miller] made me take out the joke, which is fortunate given the events of Ragnarok…”
It’s interesting to consider that Hela at one point was meant to be one of the good guys in the MCU, made apparent by her presence at Thor’s coronation. This is a sharp departure from her characterization in Thor: Ragnarok, where Hela is shown to be out-and-out evil, and most definitely not on friendly terms with Thor or Odin.
If Hela had appeared in the first Thor movie in a minor role, she would probably not have been played by Blanchett either, who has stated she joined Ragnarok in order to work with director Taika Waititi. And the MCU would have lost a fantastic villain. The actress has previously spoken about her experience playing the character, and trying to imbue Hela with mystery yet grounding her in believable emotions.
“You can be mysterious… but also give enough information of the back story so you understand why the character does what she or he does, because I think the best villains are those that you kind of love but hate what they do. You sort of understand it. There is a logic to it. They are just not completely nuts. There is an incredible, fantastic element to Hela but you still want an outline of a person in there that people can grasp onto.”
Perhaps even all the way back during the first Thor, when the MCU was just beginning, and no one could have imagined it would become the franchise juggernaut it is today, showrunner Kevin Feige had some inkling of the potential that Hela’s character possessed, and wanted to save her for a bigger part.
As it is, Hela’s eventual arrival in the MCU was one of the most spectacular for any villain, starting with a bang by shattering Thor’s hammer like it was nothing, and proving herself more than a match for the combined might of Thor and Loki.
Although Hela died at the end of Thor: Ragnarok, the MCU has a habit of bringing characters back from the dead when convenient, and considering the fact that Hela is an immortal goddess, it is quite possible fans will get to see her again in a future movie.
For now, Taiki Waititi is gearing up for a return to the world of superheroes with the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, which will see the character of Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, assumed the power of Thor, along with Chris Hemsworth once again reprising his lead role as the God of Thunder.