The Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t kill its own heroes often. No one wants to watch a superhero movie where the people who save the world die. But there’s actually some precedent for Cate Blanchett’s new villain, Hela, to kill a long-standing MCU hero in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok. Here’s how that could work out.
Hela, the Asgardian goddess of death, has killed a lot of people in Marvel’s comics over the years. Since her introduction in Marvel’s Journey into Mystery #102 (1964), Hela has taken on Thor and the entirety of Asgard many a time, laying waste to armies, typically in order to gain control over the dead of Valhalla. Introducing her into the Marvel Universe and not allowing her to do the one thing she’s famous for doing in the comics — kill heroes — seems like an odd choice.
While Hela, in the comics, was given reign over Hel and Niflheim by Odin, she often craved control over the souls of the dead residing in Valhalla — the realm of the honored dead. The Asgardians would fight her away, but in one such instance, one Asgardian warrior did not escape with their life.
There’s a pretty good chance that Lady Sif, warrior of Asgard, will die in Ragnarok.
Jaimie Alexander has played Sif since the character’s introduction in 2011’s Thor. While Sif is usually cast as both Thor’s fellow warrior and his love interest in Marvel’s comics, the MCU has kept Sif firmly at arm’s length from Thor. There are a few shots of Sif staring sadly at Thor in the films or being a little too protective of him for her feelings to be taken as platonic by audiences, but things have otherwise been quiet between them. But MCU’s version of Sif would still certainly sacrifice her own life to save Thor’s.
That’s what happens in Marvel’s comics.
Hela manages to steal a part of Odin’s soul while he’s asleep in the Sea of Eternal Night because Loki has been plotting to take over Asgard and cause problems. If that sounds familiar, then you’re right; that’s essentially what’s gone down in the MCU. In Ragnarok, Loki will be playing King of Asgard while Odin is incapacitated, and Hela will be released because he’s a lax king. We’re unsure of how Hela manages to escape, but maybe it will be because she’s stolen a part of Odin’s soul and used the power of it to escape.
After a lot of back and forth in the comics, Thor is eventually killed by Hela after she puts human lives at stake to draw him out. Heartbroken, Sif offers to trade her soul for Thor’s, to which Hela agrees. Sif dies — at least, she does for a while, since these are comics, and death is rarely permanent.
Alexander told the Los Angeles Times in July 2015 that Sif would have a “pivotal” role in the third Thor film. Maybe that role will be sacrificing herself for the greater good.
Thor: Ragnarok premieres in theaters November 3.