The Thor franchise has always featured some of the MCU’s more impressive casts, including the legendary Sir Anthony Hopkins, Idris Elba, Rene Russo, Stellan Skarsgård, Tom Hiddleston, and Cate Blanchett. Still, one of the more beloved additions is that of Tessa Thompson. Joining the MCU in Thor: Ragnorak, Thompson’s Valkyrie quickly became an MCU favorite for her deadpan sensibilities, tragic backstory, excellent comedic timing, and ferocity as the last of Asgard’s warrior shield-maidens. After helping to defeat Thanos, Valkyrie finds herself sitting on the throne of Asgard as king instead of protecting it.
In Thor: Love and Thunder, Valkyrie is having a tough time adjusting to bureaucracy. It’s a bit of tension that Thompson plays wonderfully; she’s rightfully annoyed during meetings and the opening of shops around New Asgard and yearns for battle—so much so that she’s seemingly holding onto a weapon at every moment should a fight breakout. So when the chance comes along for her to join Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Jane (Natalie Portman), and Korg (Taika Waititi) in their hunt for the murderous Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), she leaps at the chance.
Ahead of the latest Thor installment, Complex quickly chatted with Thompson about Valkyrie’s desire to return to the battlefield, her relationship with Portman, and how her creative relationship with both Hemsworth and Waititi has evolved throughout the many projects they’ve now done together.
TT: Oh, it’s so fun. I love Natalie so much. I love getting to spend time with her in any context. For me, she really is a real-life superhero in terms of how much she advocates for other women and for her community, and for communities that she does not belong to. She’s just rad. Getting to see her like, actually be in a cape and be a superhero, that’s how I see her anyways as a human. Then it’s just like getting to spend, you know, six months with a good friend of yours and laugh and have fun and drink protein shakes. [laughs] It was just a real blast.
This is your third collaboration with Chirs Hemsworth and your second project with Taika. How have those relationships grown and evolved throughout these various projects?
TT: Oh, they’re great. Both Taikia and Chris are really good friends of mine. I just love them as humans. I think the thing that happens when you work with people over time is you can cut through any layer of artifice and really hold each other to task and challenge each other to be better. And also just have fun together, be like a safe space where you can really show up as your authentic self. If you’re having a bad day, which we have all of us as humans, you can let your friends know that, and your friends can take care of you and hold you in that if you’re going through stuff. That’s really, really, really nice and also really, really rare. I just love them both as humans and also as artists; I just think they’re tremendous, tremendous, hardworking, incredible artists. So I feel really lucky to get to know them and love them as people. But also, to get to collaborate with them is really a gift.
You can see Thompson’s performance in Thor: Love & Thunder in theaters now.