Why Cate Blanchett Chose to Play Hela in the MCU’s ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

Though Cate Blanchett’s Hela in Thor: Ragnarok left much to be desired in terms of character depth and exploration, the actress perfectly embodied the ruthless killer with a fearless sense of omnipotence and superiority; she slayed and then sashayed with a strut to be remembered. Yet, why did the two-time Oscar winner and six-time nominee choose to step into the skin of a Marvel Cinematic Universe villain? Why join the MCU for a single turn — as a force destined to be eliminated by the end? 

Cate Blanchett Thor Ragnarok MCU
Actress Cate Blanchett arrives at the premiere of Disney and Marvel’s ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

During an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Cate Blanchett explained why she was drawn to the role of Hela in Thor: Ragnarok, as well as some of the difficulties that the character presented. 

Cate Blanchett on why she chose to portray Hela in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

When asked why she wanted to portray Hela in the MCU — one of the most formidable foes to ever threaten the God of Thunder, who was capable of destroying Mjolnir with one hand — the actress kept her answer short and sweet. Blanchett provided three clear reasons: 

A) It was Taika. B) It was the goddess of death. And C) There’s never been a female Marvel villain.

Cate Blanchett / LA Times

From Taika Waititi’s unique directorial flair to the opportunity to play the first major villain in one of the most successful franchises, Blanchett could not walk away from Hela. And, the actress has experience taking on roles in franchise films, as she previously starred in both Indiana Jones and Lord of the Rings. 

Remember deadly agent Irina Spalko who was also on the hunt for the Crystal Skull of Akator in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Or, what about Galadriel — the royal Elf of Noldor and Teleri? When it comes down to it, Blanchett seems drawn to the fantastical and the mystical — as such roles likely present a nice change of pace from the real-life — often emotionally debilitating— characters she tends to try on for size. 

Cate Blanchett on her struggle getting into character and Hela’s get-up in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

Cate Blanchett explained to the LA Times that her “biggest struggle” transforming into Hela was the need to feel powerful and credible as a villain, all while wearing a CGI suit and some over-the-top headpiece. She labeled the role an “exercise in tone” for this reason. Blanchett stated:

The headdress is such a huge part of when she comes into the height of her powers in the film…I only wore that really in the photo shoots. I had to sort of imagine what it was like being a reindeer.

LA Times

Though fans hoped to see Cate Blanchett play a character who would continue to exist in the landscape — and go on to receive the same sort of complex and layered depiction inherent to Loki — this actress’s time in this superhero soiree has likely come to an end. However, who knows what Kevin Feige and Co. may have tucked up their sleeves?