One of the interesting elements in the Marvel Cinematic Universe from Marvel Studios, especially if you’ve been a fan from the original comic books, is seeing how the characters and events are adapted into film. Thus far, most opine that the MCU is a decent adaptation of a comic-book universe.
Another curious development that came to prominence with the “live-action comic book universe” is the concept of “synergy” or making character/event alterations from the movies return to the base comic-book versions. Thus Captain America: Civil War, a loose adaptation of the 2007 comic storyline, spurred a Civil War II title.
The latest instance of Marvel movie-comic synergy to be noticed comes in the wake of Thor: Ragnarok which premiered November last year. The film featured the Asgardian warrior called Valkyrie, a blonde character in the comics but played by dusky Tessa Thompson (American of Afro-Panamanian and Euro-Mexican descent) in Ragnarok.
While fans of a “purist” mindset may have decried the adaptation skin-color change, none can deny that Thompson’s portrayal of Valkyrie alongside Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk was highly effective. It’s understandable therefore that Marvel’s recursively adapting this Valkyrie as a new character in comics.
Marvel is reviving the popular 2000s comic series Exiles starting this April. They’ve already put together a roster for the dimension-travelling alternate-universe superhero team. This latest Exiles run will be written by Saladin Ahmed with artwork by Javier Rodriguez, and they’re both excited to introduce a comic-book take on “Tessa!Valkyrie.”
A statement by Ahmed elaborates on how different this Valkyrie is from the “main-universe” comic Valkyrie. “Our Valkyrie is known as the Lone Defender of Asgard,” he says. “She’s a tankard-draining, maiden-wooing, giant-slaying thunderbolt of a woman.” Ahmed adds that while she’s not the exact MCU character, she does take on the characteristics of the Thor: Ragnarok Valkyrie portrayed by Thompson, “turned up to 11.”
It should be noted that this Valkyrie “wooing maidens” is a shout-out to the implied film characterization of Valkyrie as a bisexual. Tessa Thompson notes that a movie flashback was cut showing a female lover leaving her character’s room. The only hint left of Valkyrie’s orientation in Ragnarok is her look of grief as a fellow female warrior dies in front of her by the hand of Hela (Cate Blanchett).
Issue #1 of the new Exiles will be published by Marvel Comics on April 11.