[WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Thor: Ragnarok.]
In Thor: Ragnarok, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) teams up with Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), but the movie also seems to briefly introduce the classic comic book version of Valkyrie, Brunnhilde – only to kill her off immediately. In both of the first two Thor standalone movies set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor has teamed up with fellow comic book characters, though typically the Warriors Three. Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok goes in a different direction instead, having the God of Thunder work with his fellow Avengers teammate Bruce Banner aka the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and his brother, the God of Mischief Loki (Tom Hiddleston).
However, Thor: Ragnarok also introduces an entirely new character to the MCU who joins forces with Thor in order to defeat the Goddess of Death, Hela (Cate Blanchett): Valkyrie. When Thompson was cast as Valkyrie, there was an outcry among a certain group of fans that the actress doesn’t resemble the comic book character’s classic look. The original Valkyrie, Brunnhilde, is white with long blonde hair in the comics, while Thompson is, obviously, not. Still Waititi seemingly managed to include a reference to this original Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok.
Related: Thor’s Human Characters Were Never Considered For Ragnarok
In Thor: Ragnarok, Thompson’s character’s background remains a mystery for much of the film, with her character going by her Sakaar title of Scrapper 142. It isn’t until Thompson’s Valkyrie runs into Hiddleston’s Loki, and he dives into her mind to learn her true history, that viewers see how the character came to be stranded on Sakaar. In the flashback sequence, Thompson’s character is shown riding into battle against Hela alongside a whole horde of Valkyrie. However, all the others are killed in battle, while one particular Valkyrie – with long blonde hair – sacrifices herself for Thompson’s character.
It’s not explicitly stated that this blonde Valkyrie is Brunnhilde, but her appearance and the fact that she’s the only other Valkyrie besides Thompson’s character who gets any real focus during the flashback seems to indicate this is an Easter egg featuring the classic comic book character. But until Waititi, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, or someone else involved in the production of Thor: Ragnarok confirms either way, we won’t know for sure if this truly is Brunnhilde.
In terms of adapting the superhero from the comics, Thompson has been vocal that her version of Valkyrie is bisexual, as it was established in more recent Marvel Comics canon. While Thompson clarified her comments on Valkyrie’s bisexuality to reveal her sexuality isn’t explicitly shown in Thor: Ragnarok, one fan asked the actress on Twitter if the blonde Valkyrie in the movie is her Valkyrie’s girlfriend. Thompson replied with a simple winking emoji, so fans can take that as they will. Still, it seems possible the blonde Valkyrie is Brunnhilde, as well as the girlfriend of Thompson’s character – though that’s entirely unconfirmed.
Of course, those fans who want to see Brunnhilde join the MCU in earnest are probably hoping the blonde Valkyrie in Ragnarok isn’t Brunnhilde. But even if it isn’t, there’s no guarantee Brunnhilde will be introduced as a named character so long as Thompson’s Valkyrie is around. For now, we know Thompson’s Valkyrie will be returning for Avengers: Infinity War, and perhaps even for another Thor movie, maybe in a starring role as the female Thor. With Marvel’s Phase 4 one big mystery, it remains to be seen what becomes of Valkyrie in the MCU.