Thor: Ragnarok director on ignoring the source material and casting Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie

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Jul 19, 2016, 11:05 AM EDT

Filming on Thor: Ragnarok is currently in full swing in Australia under the direction of Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows), with Chris Hemsworth back to wield the hammer as the mighty God of Thunder, Mark Ruffalo reprising the dual roles of Bruce Banner and the Hulk and Tom Hiddleston as everyone’s favorite silver-tongued God of Mischief, Loki. They are joined in Thor's third solo outing by Tessa Thompson (Creed) in the role of Valkyrie.

When it was announced that Thompson had been given the traditional role of the white and very blond warrior goddess of the Marvel comics, fans were left puzzled by Waititi’s choice to cast her for the part. In an interview with Comic Book Ressources' Spinoff Online, Waititi explained how Tessa Thompson came to be considered for Valkyrie.

“Right from the start we wanted to diversify the cast, and it’s hard when you’re working with Vikings. [Laughs.] You want to be more inclusive and provide a broader representation. And at that point, you have to look at the source material as a very loose inspiration. And then take it from there and go with your gut. Say, “You know what? None of that stuff matters. Just because the character was blonde and white in the comic book. That doesn’t matter. That’s not what [that character] is about.

People forget that. Die-hard fans will say, “That’s not really authentic to the comics,” but as soon as they watch the movie, and they’re involved in the story, and actually what’s happening, everybody forgets. The fact that we even have to keep having this conversation is ridiculous, because we keep forgetting. Unless it’s the topic of the film, it just shouldn’t even be — what do we even care?

I think the story is king, and you want the best person for the job. And Tessa tested against — we cast a very broad net, and Tess was the best person.”

Waititi then went on to discuss the wide cast that sees the introduction of Karl Urban as Skurge the Executioner; Cate Blanchett as Hela, the Goddess of Death; and Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and how he went about pitching a comic book movie to them.

“I think a lot of them having seen how good the other Marvel films are, they want to be part of that. Superhero movies are seen like really ridiculous, cartoony things anymore. There’s a time and a point where you really wouldn’t want to touch superhero movies, especially in the mid to late ’90s and definitely in the ’80s. There were a lot of very ridiculous and possibly career-ending move to make if you were an actor. But I think that the reputation of Marvel is very high. The things that they do is very high quality and they tell good stories. That’s the main thing. That’s why I got involved with them as well. At the heart of it they want to tell good stories, and that’s what I’m about as well. I’m not about explosions and the like. I like that stuff. I think it’s fun to do, but it’s not why I became a filmmaker. The thing I love is character and story.”

Thor: Ragnarok will open on Nov. 3, 2017. What do you think of Taika Waititi's reasons for casting Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie?

(via Spinoff Online)