Thor: Ragnarok has been one of the most hotly-anticipated Marvel sequels since it was first announced, with fans largely encouraged by promises to shake up the status-quo of the Thor movies by hiring offbeat director Taika Waititi and adding a major guest star in Mark Ruffalo’s Incredible Hulk. But the film has also faced controversy in the form of a small but aggressive contingent of angry voices decrying the casting of Afro-Latin American actress Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, a figure typically depicted as a blonde white woman in the comics and classical Norse mythology.
Now, a new video posted to Facebook gives fans an early look at Thompson in part of her makeup as the character. The new video, a candid walk through an outdoor set during downtime, was posted to the social media site by director Waititi and features Thompson along with Chris Hemsworth and other on-site actors and film personnel joking around about their presence on the set – particularly what they are and are not meant to reveal about the highly-secretive upcoming film. Part of that joking around ends up including Thompson’s odd-looking facial makeup, which is implied to be part of her costume in the actual film.
While the Valkyrie of the comics is typically depicted looking like an otherwise normal human being wearing medieval-style armor, the Marvel films have not been shy about giving a more stylized look to the Asgardian characters in the Thor films, in keeping with the strange sci-fi/fantasy aesthetic established for the franchise. So while Thompson’s face paint (a series of symmetrical white lines above and below her eyes) doesn’t match any immediately familiar version of the character from the comics, the genre-bending logic of the Marvel Cinematic Universe filmes means that any number of alternate takes are possible.
Still to be discovered: What the rest of Valkyrie’s uniform will look like in the finished film. In addition to armor similar to Thor’s, the character in the comics traditionally carries a magic sword (a version of which Marvel has already shown off), wears a large cape and occasionally travels by means of a winged white horse. The heroine is based on figures from Norse mythology, who were said to transport fallen warriors to the afterlife.
And while the new look is unlikely to quiet those fans who so strenuously objected to the character’s ethnicity being changed for the film, Waititi has indicated in the past that such issues are not his concern. In fact, he’s previously maintained that increasing the diversity of the Thor films and the broader Marvel sandbox by extension are both important to him and informed the casting and character-design of the film overall.