Marvel’s ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is still in its production stage, but director Taika Waititi has spoken about the decision to deviate from the comic books.
The helmer, who previously directed ‘What We Do In The Shadows’ and most recently ‘Hunt for the Winderpeople’, made the decision to cast Tessa Thompson (’Dear White People’, ’Creed’) in the role of Norse heroine Valkyrie. He told Comic Book Resources that hardcore fans are too precious over some source material, especially when alterations are made.
Die-hard fans will say, ‘That’s not really authentic to the comics,’ but as soon as they watch the movie, and they’re involved in the story, and actually what’s happening, everybody forgets. The fact that we even have to keep having this conversation is ridiculous, because we keep forgetting. Unless it’s the topic of the film, it just shouldn’t even be — what do we even care?”
Originally, Valkyrie is a blond-haired Caucasian so when Waititi made her mixed race some sections of fans weren’t pleased. But then, the same sort of narrow-minded backlash emerged when John Boyega was cast in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, which was totally unnecessary for people top have issues with.
But Waititi was keen to stray from the specific path of the established comic book world by modernising with a more diverse cast, which is surely a positive thing.
“Right from the start we wanted to diversify the cast, and it’s hard when you’re working with Vikings. [Laughs.] You want to be more inclusive and provide a broader representation. And at that point, you have to look at the source material as a very loose inspiration. And then take it from there and go with your gut. Say, ‘You know what? None of that stuff matters. Just because the character was blonde and white in the comic book. That doesn’t matter. That’s not what [that character] is about.’”
It’s refreshing to hear where the director’s coming from and the way the production (and Marvel as a studio) are striving to be more diverse than the standard Caucasian casting, even if the likes of ‘Doctor Strange’ has come under fire for that very issue regarding Tilda Swinton’s The Ancient One.
However, Waititi insists on casting the right actors to complement the narrative: “I think the story is king, and you want the best person for the job. And Tessa tested against — we cast a very broad net, and Tessa was the best person.”
We’ve already seen a breakthrough a few years ago when ‘Thor’ came out, as Idris Elba was cast as Heimdall, which also ruffled some feathers for casting a black actor in a white comic book role.
With Thompson added to the cast that already includes Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Mark Ruffalo, and Jeff Goldblum, Idris Elba, and Cate Blanchett, the third ‘Thor’ outing is poised to be a spectacular spectacle indeed.
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ is in UK cinemas from 27 October, 2017.
Picture credit: Marvel, WENN