When we last caught a glimpse of the fearless Valkyrie (played by Tessa Thompson) in Avengers: Endgame, she had just been declared king of New Asgard by Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth). The god of thunder then set out for a new adventure with the Guardians of the Galaxy, leaving Valkyrie in charge of the few Asgardians left after the events of Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War. It was initially unclear how her storyline would pan out since Marvel kept its Phase 4 plans firmly under wraps until recently.
Thompson will return for 2021’s Thor: Love and Thunder, alongside Hemsworth and Natalie Portman (Dr. Jane Foster). Speaking in front of fans at the San Diego Comic Con, Thompson also teased some details of her character’s involvement in the film: “First of all, as king, [Valkyrie] needs to find her queen.” This marks the first outright confirmation of Valkyrie’s bisexuality, making her the first LGBTQ superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Adding to this, Marvel chief Kevin Feige later confirmed that they are moving forward with better LGBTQ representation for characters in future films.
— Ryan Gajewski (@_RyanGajewski) July 21, 2019
Thompson’s announcement led to mixed reactions online. While some felt that Marvel was simply wanted to appeal to LGBTQ viewers, others argued that this was a much-needed step forward after the Russo brothers’ disastrous attempt at including a gay character in Avengers: Endgame. Director Joe Russo made a quick cameo in a counseling scene with Steve Rogers (played by Chris Evans) where his character, the Grieving Man, talked about his experience of dating a man after half the universe was wiped out. Given that this was the first scene featuring an openly LGBTQ character in an MCU film, many were disappointed that Marvel had simply glossed over the chance of proper representation at that time.
Interestingly enough, earlier hints about Valkyrie’s sexuality were supposed to be included in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok. Thompson wanted to draw from her character’s comic book roots and pitched the portrayal of Valkyrie in the film as a bisexual woman to director Taika Waititi. Apart from the now-iconic scene of Valkyrie shooting down enemies with a massive cannon, a deleted scene of a woman exiting her bedroom on Sakaar was meant to be included in Thor: Ragnarok. Though Waititi wanted to have Valkyrie’s sexuality be represented on-screen, he had to cut out the scene since it distracted from Thor: Ragnarok‘s over-arching plot.
Valkyrie was first introduced in the MCU as one of the Valkyrior, a legendary group of female warriors who were supposedly wiped out after battling the death goddess Hela (played by Cate Blanchett). She had been the one to capture Thor on Sakaar and sell him off as a gladiator to the Grandmaster (played by Jeff Goldblum). Though she initially rebuffed the thunder god’s requests to help him, she later aids him, the Hulk (played by Mark Ruffalo, Loki (played by Tom Hiddleston), and the other gladiators in saving Asgard.
When she did not make an appearance in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, people began to wonder if Valkyrie had perished alongside the other Asgardians when Thanos attacked their ship. Much to everyone’s relief, she reappeared in Avengers: Endgame when the Hulk and Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) came for Thor. During the final battle, she suited up with the rest of the female Avengers and helped take down Thanos’ Chitauri army.