Love & Thunder Star Reveals Surprising Influence for Valkyrie

Thor: Love and Thunder star, Tessa Thompson, reveals a surprising way Shakespeare influenced her performance as Valkyrie. The highly anticipated Thor sequel finds the titular character in the midst of a mid-life crisis as he struggles to pick up the pieces following the devastating events of Avengers: Endgame. With Thanos defeated and his family dead, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) searches for a new purpose in his life. However, when Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale) steps into the fray with a mission to wipe out all gods, Thor must reunite with his best friend Korg (Taika Waititi), the Guardians of the Galaxy, his former love interest Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) as the Mighty Thor, and the Asgardian warrior King Valkyrie to take on the new villain.


Following the complete destruction of Thor's home world of Asgard in Thor: Ragnarok, as well as the death of many of his people at the hands of Hela and her army, the survivors settled in the village of Tønsberg, Norway and renamed it New Asgard. Although Thor was their ruler during that time, Valkyrie ran the kingdom as the God of Thunder struggled with depression following his perceived failure against Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. However, after their success in defeating an alternate Thanos in Avengers: Endgame and resurrecting the dead, Thor chose to join the Guardians of the Galaxy while Valkyrie took up the mantle as King of Asgard.

Related: Why Thor: Love & Thunder's Villain Threatens Valkyrie's Future

While as a guest on the popular talk show Hot Ones, Thompson revealed that her experience with Shakespeare influenced her performance as Valkyrie in Thor: Love and Thunder. When asked whether her time with the Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company informed her approach to her character, the actor explained that it had through her experience gender-swapping roles. Read what Thompson revealed below.

"Oh, that's so interesting. Yeah, [that's] something we talked about because, you know, we're always gender swapping. So many of the women in that company would play men and there was this idea that men just are more kind of upright, that men aren't inclined to break their lines and for some reason we associate that with power. So, if I'm here talking to you in a scene and I'm doing a lot of this (rests head on hand) or this, it's a way of signaling -- it shouldn't be a way signaling -- that I don't have as much power. I think in taking on Valkyrie, this character that wants to feel really powerful, not masculine necessarily, but I thought a lot about that in terms of body position, and then also just getting buff helped."

Tessa Thompson Valkyrie Thor Love And Thunder

The Los Angeles Women's Shakespeare Company produces professional productions of the famed English playwright's works using an all-female cast. As a result, women will have to play men, allowing the actors to discover the intricacies between masculine and feminine roles in order to deliver convincing performances. Thompson explained that she used that valuable experience and applied it to how Valkyrie carries herself as the Asgard king.

With Thompson's comments, she apparently wants to think of her performance as Valkyrie not as masculine or feminine but through a more nuanced set of characterizations. The actor appears to want to remove some gender expectations from the role and instead deliver the best performance that Valkyrie deserves based on the character's experience within the MCU. As Thompson has already proven in Thor: Ragnarok, Valkyrie is a force to be reckoned with. However, as multiple trailers have shown, Thompson will have more of a chance to flex both her acting and literal muscles as King Valkyrie in Thor: Love and Thunder.