Tessa Thompson on Valkyrie's regal reinvention in Thor: Love and Thunder: "She's a kind king"

Valkyrie and Mighty Thor in Love and Thunder
(Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

Tessa Thompson returns as Valkyrie in Thor: Love and Thunder – but not quite as you remember her. Just like Natalie Portman's Jane Foster has undergone a transformation into Mighty Thor, Valkyrie is also a little different: she's King of Asgard. 

But what kind of king is she? Thompson explains in the new issue of Total Film, which features Love and Thunder on the cover. "I think she's very egalitarian," the actor says. "She's a kind king. I know there's been some confusion on the internet in terms of the gendering with her being king. The truth is, that's the job that Thor was going to do, and then he just gave her the job, and we just didn't bother to change the title, because the title is 'king', and she's like, 'Well, I can be king.' The suits that she wears – we thought it was sort of a fun nod to Frida Kahlo."

As for how Valkyrie is finding ruling New Asgard, you'll be pleased to know that she's enjoying her role. "She likes it," Thompson says. "She feels slightly less enchanted with the bureaucratic elements of New Asgard. It's really been put on the map by the events that have happened in past movies, so it's also become this sort of tourist destination. I think she feels entirely proud. The thing about Asgard that's always been true is, it's not a place, it's its people."

While being king has helped Valkyrie away from the darker spot she was in at the start of Thor: Ragnarok, as Thompson says, she could still use an adventure. "Last time around, you met her, she was quite despondent, and missing her sisters, and not dealing with her trauma, maybe, in the healthiest of ways," explains the actor. "This time around, I think you meet her with a new sort of lease on life, in a position of leadership, representing her people. She loves her people, and loves being able to lead for them. She also really enjoys being on Earth. 

"But I think she feels a lack of purpose," Thompson continues. "I think the time when she feels most of use is really in community – it's been, historically, in battle, with her tribe. And so I think in some ways, now having this new sort of problem to deal with, with her old friend Thor, it's exactly what she needs."

Thor: Love and Thunder opens in UK cinemas on July 7, before opening in the US on July 8. For much more from Thompson, Taika Waititi, Kevin Feige, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Christian Bale, check out the new issue of Total Film when it hits shelves (and digital newsstands) this Thursday, June 23.

Total Film's Thor: Love and Thunder covers

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios/Total Film)

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(Image credit: Total Film/Disney/Marvel Studios)
Matt Maytum
Editor, Total Film

I'm the Editor at Total Film magazine, overseeing the running of the mag, and generally obsessing over all things Nolan, Kubrick and Pixar. Over the past decade I've worked in various roles for TF online and in print, including at GamesRadar+, and you can often hear me nattering on the Inside Total Film podcast. Bucket-list-ticking career highlights have included reporting from the set of Tenet and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as covering Comic-Con, TIFF and the Sundance Film Festival.

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