It’s simple: When Thanos snapped his fingers in Avengers: Infinity War, characters either survived the purge or were raptured into a pile of dust. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe likes to keep things close to the vest—to the extent that even actors not named Robert Downey Jr. don’t know what’s going on plot-wise, aside from their own dialogue—they’ve been plain about who survived Infinity War and who didn’t. But the divide between those who were Thanos’d, those seeking revenge, and those who used the calamitous event as an excuse to undergo an extreme makeover in Avengers: Endgame doesn’t account for the MCU characters who vanished for reasons outside of a finger snap. As in, say, the quirky band of weirdos from Thor: Ragnarok.
The non–Jeff Goldblum post-credits sequence of Ragnarok bled directly into the opening of Infinity War, when Thor’s ship of Asgardian survivors was attacked by Thanos and his minions. You know how that went: Thanos beat the crap out of the Hulk, strangled Loki to death, and effectively purged the vessel before peacing out. We knew what the implications were for the Hulk and Thor—the former was express-shipped to Earth, while the latter was picked up in space by the Guardians of the Galaxy—but what was less clear was the fate of Ragnarok standout Valkyrie (played by Tessa Thompson, who, as her IMDb shows, seems to be in everything at the moment).
Though Valkyrie doesn’t have as much import to the MCU writ large as Captain Marvel or Iron Man, she was a fun and able sparring partner for the God of Thunder, matching his dude-bro charms with a penchant for chugging booze. As Ragnarok shifted the tone of the Thor movies from earnestly Shakespearean to bizarro slapstick comedy, Valkyrie—as well as Korg, a charmingly strange rock-man voiced by director Taika Waititi—were essential to this new ethos. In the first two Thor films, Thor’s interchangeable buddies known as the Warriors Three were so deprived of personality, you probably didn’t give it a second thought when they were killed by Hot Topic Queen Cate Blanchett at the beginning of Ragnarok, if you remember it at all. With Valkyrie and Korg, not only did Thor get to have more fun, their banter actually had the audience clamoring for more Thor-centric movies. (Imagine feeling that way after Thor: The Dark World.) But that would all be rendered moot if Thanos unceremoniously killed Valkyrie and Co. off-screen before Infinity War even started.
I don’t expect many fans assumed Valkyrie was tossed aside that way—not after having such a memorable introduction in Ragnarok. But with so many characters’ fates discernible, if not a little upsetting, thanks to the events of Infinity War, the fact we don’t really know what the hell happened to Valkyrie is a bit strange. The Russo brothers were juggling dozens of A-list actors in one film, but a throwaway line from Thor to the effect of, “I’m glad at least some Asgardians were able to escape, sweet Rabbit” could’ve provided some pre-Endgame clarity. As it stands, the most we have to go on is Tessa Thompson’s assuring fans on Twitter that Valkyrie is, quote, “in one piece and THRIVING.”
No, she’s in one piece and THRIVING https://t.co/AUuyAMoCbf— Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) September 29, 2018
Thompson wouldn’t tweet out these assurances without the Marvel stamp of approval, so while it’s not ideal, at least we know Valkyrie wasn’t among the Asgardian casualties. But then there’s another obstacle for the character’s well-being: If she survived that initial attack, what about the snap?
Well, if Thompson being spotted with Chris Hemsworth during Endgame reshoots wasn’t enough of a hint, it appears Valkyrie has not only survived the rapture, but that she’s going to play a part in the fight to come. Once again, the actress hinted that she was alive and in the mix with a post on social media, and a recent Endgame TV spot showed a literal second of the character to seemingly confirm her involvement. Given that the survivors of Endgame seem to be heading for some type of cosmic confrontation with Thanos in space—and seeing that Valkyrie is thriving somewhere in the galaxy—it appears likely that she will have some kind of rendezvous with the Avengers in the stars. It certainly helps that Thor, her only link to the Avengers, is still alive and can confirm she’s a good hang. And maybe that reunion can provide some details on how the hell Valkyrie made it out of Thanos’s attack and who might be alive along with her.
But what will happen after? While Hemsworth has said he’d be game to do another Thor movie if Waititi were involved, it’s nowhere near a guarantee—Endgame very much seems like the final bow on the arcs of heroes like Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America. If future Thor movies aren’t in the cards, how will Valkyrie fit into the MCU moving forward? That is something Marvel will surely disclose when it can reveal details about its next cinematic “phase,” but given Captain Marvel’s own propensity to hop around the galaxy and save people—which she’s apparently been doing since leaving Earth in the ’90s—some kind of intergalactic high jinks with Valkyrie would be a nice compromise. Thor can retire (if he survives!), and Valkyrie can become Carol Danvers’s new drinking buddy. It seems like Thompson and Brie Larson would be down:
"my favorite avenger is... the newest avenger. brie larson, captain marvel. that's my girl." — tessa thompson. pic.twitter.com/nfIoqhrBbF— abril got spoilers | -2 (@lenasnirvana) April 23, 2019
But that’s tomorrow’s worry. For the time being, there’s still a genocidal alien who needs to be taken care of. And while Valkyrie probably isn’t the character who’ll deliver a final blow to Thanos—though I would support her throwing a half-empty bottle of Jägermeister at his huge purple dome—her confirmed presence in Endgame is a welcome sight. Now can we please make sure Korg is OK?