In case you haven't heard yet, there's quite a lot riding on the third (and assumed final) installment in Marvel Studio's Thor franchise, Thor: Ragnarok, which Kevin Feige has described as instrumental in setting up the path that leads to [The Avengers: Infinity War](tag:738027).
"This is a very important movie for us in Phase 3. We plan on taking Thor to another level. It picks up where we leave Thor in Avengers: Age of Ultron and impacts everything that comes after."
And like every good Marvel movie there's been a ton of rumors circulating around it, especially since we don't really know very much for sure about the film yet. Recently, another one of these rumors sprang up via Birth Movies Death, citing a mysterious "source" inside Disney claiming that super-heroine Valkyrie would finally be launched into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Thor: Ragnarok, set for release in 2017.
While it's always sensible to take these types of rumors with a hefty dose of salt, it is worth nothing that this same post said that Thor 3 would include Bruce Banner / Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and we now know that this is true so, you never know...
Valkyrie (a.k.a. Brunnhilde) is the leader of the Valkyrior, Asgardian warrior goddesses who ride winged horses, and a core member of the Defenders. In a lot of ways she's an early female counterpart to Thor, and just as badass. Earlier this year we saw concept art for a live-action Valkyrie who was almost introduced in [Thor: The Dark World](tag:206462) and she looks pretty neat, but who could play her?
There's always much contention around casting for female heroes as they're few and far between on-screen that it's important to get it right (see the fervor around the wonderful Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the DCCU), but Thor has gotten it spot on before with Jaime Alexander as Lady Sif; so who could measure up to play Valkyrie? Here are our favourite contenders for the role.
Last seen as the lead actress in drama Dixieland, actress and model Riley Keough showed us her acting chops in this year's smash hit [Mad Max: Fury Road](tag:41445) as Capable, one of Immortan Joe's five wives, where she demonstrated her ability to act with both compassion and an iron will.
She was rocking some awesome red hair back in Fury Road but also looks great with blonde locks like Valkyrie's, and we can definitely see her stepping into some Asgardian armor and wielding a spear in [Thor: Ragnarok](tag:956858).
Three words: Brienne of Tarth.
Gwendoline Christie is best known for her turn on HBO's Game of Thrones and, though her looks are dressed down to fit her on screen role, she's the embodiment of strength and beauty. An actress, model, and former gymnast, she stands at 6 feet and 3 inches tall and has the perfect physicality to portray the strong Asgardian shield maiden.
Her career is really jumping off now as she's set to appear as Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and has just done a turn in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II, so could we see her taking a turn with Marvel, too? Here's to hoping.
Jamie Clayton is perhaps best known for her current role, that of hacktivist Nomi Marks on Netflix's Wachowski produced Sense8. In addition to having the sharp angular features of Valkyrie, she's got that certain air of no-nonsense about her that could carry well over to the character of Brunnhilde.
Though she's mainly known for her TV work, Clayton will be making her feature film debut in Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon next year alongside big names like Jena Malone, Keanu Reeves and Christina Hendricks, so we look forward to seeing that hopefully opening up new avenues of work for her.
BONUS ROUND: Amber Heard
Actress and social activist Amber Heard got a Marvel makeover courtesy of JoshWMC over at DeviantArt a while back as the God of Thunder himself, and she certainly looked the part (even if the giant nipple guards are a little much).
Based on this image alone we could see her stepping into Valkyrie's shoes in Thor: Ragnarok, but Heard has also proven she has the horror/action acting chops to back up that image, having already appeared in Zombieland, Drive Angry and Machete Kills.