The rumors of Valkyrie's appearance in Thor: Ragnarok have been circulating ever since the film was announced, thanks to this character's role in the comic book arc of the same name. Now that Tessa Thompson has been cast in an as-yet unnamed role, it seems highly likely that she'll take up the mantle of the Nordic warrior, adding another superhero to the MCU's roster, and opening up some interesting possibilities for Avengers: Infinity War.
The third Avengers film will focus on the fight with Thanos, and directors the Russo brothers have already teased an impressive line-up for the film.
This could be the crossover epic we've been waiting for, as heroes from all corners of the MCU unite to stop the interstellar supervillain. The fallout for Infinity War could be just as epic as the team-up though, and fans are already assembling their dead pools, betting on which Avenger will face the final curtain. With that in mind, Valkyrie's role in the MCU might be primed to get much, much bigger than we ever imagined.
Valkyrie, Goddess Of Asgard
Before we get into the theory, let's have some context. As an Asgardian, Brunnhilde the Valkyrie has taken many forms. She can actually be reincarnated as mortals, or inhabit the souls of mortals, depending on the origin story Marvel want to go with.
In an odd use of straw feminism, Valkyrie's first origin was as feminist Samantha Parrington — after leading an anti-patriarchy protest, Samantha caught the eye of the villain Enchantress (no, not the Suicide Squad one), who transformed her into the misandrist warrior Valkyrie. Well, it was the '70s.
Since then, Valkyrie has had many adventures, usually as her original Asgardian persona of Brunnhilde, and it seems likely that this will be the character the MCU goes with. As the leader of the Valkyrior, Brunnhilde is responsible with transporting fallen warriors to Valhalla. This gives her powers beyond that of normal Asgardians, such as sensing when someone's close to death, and the ability to teleport between realms without the use of the Bifrost.
She's been a member of several heroic teams over the decades — the Defenders, the Secret Avengers, and the Avengers have all had her as a team-mate. Suffice it to say that she's one of the most popular female heroes, and her entrance into the MCU has been long awaited.
Taking Up Thor's Mantle
And now, the theory. With the current Thor in the Marvel comics being female — Jane Foster is the latest to wield Mjölnir — it's entirely possible that the MCU could follow this trend. We don't yet know what the consequences of Infinity War will be, but Thor's right up there on the list of Avengers most likely to die. And Valkyrie could be the perfect candidate to pick up the hammer, as Natalie Portman has reportedly sworn off the MCU for good.
Of course, this is just the mere beginnings of speculation, but as an Asgardian and a legendary warrior, Brunnhilde has more than enough credentials to become the God of Thunder. This would be an intriguing end to Infinity War Part One, as Thor lays slain and a grieving Brunnhilde picks up Mjölnir, vowing vengeance in Thor's name.
Or, this could also be how Ragnarok ends, which would make for an interesting twist on the comic book arc, which saw both Thor and Brunnhilde perish with the rest of Asgard. (They came back of course, because no-one's ever dead in comic books.)
It's far too early to tell, but suffice it to say that Valkyrie's role in the MCU is already looking like more than just an interesting new Asgardian to bulk out the cast for Thor: Ragnarok. Although it's a bit of a wild theory, we'd really like to see Brunnhilde take up Thor's mantle, or at the very least become a major player and join the Avengers in Infinity War. Either way, it seems likely that the MCU wouldn't add an awesome hero such as Valkyrie without something big planned for her, and we can't wait to find out what's in store for the legendary hero.