God Of Thunder stans, the wait is nearly over — Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel's third Thor movie, opens Nov. 3. The film introduces a number of new characters, including one fans of the comic book have been waiting to see ever since the first Thor movie was announced. Asgardian warrior goddess Brunhilde, better known as Valkyrie, makes her first major appearance in Ragnarok. Sure, she's a goddess, but this is a superhero situation, and what Valkyrie's powers are explains why she's so damn cool.
Played by Tessa Thompson in the film, Valkyrie in the comics is leader of the all-female Valkyrior, an elite troop who search battlefields to find worthy mortal warriors on the brink of death. The Valkyries lead them to Valhalla, a heaven created specifically for Brunhilde's chosen. As an Asgardian, Valkyrie has powers that would seem extraordinary compared to the average mortal — super-strength, agility, and speed, able to withstand higher levels of pain and damage, and invulnerability to diseases. Even compared to other Asgardians she's strong; the most able of their warriors, her Valkyrior form the select guard group of Odin himself.
Beyond this, Valkyrie can sense the "deathglow", an aura indicating someone is close to death, though she can't tell exactly how they'll die. This comes with her role as Chooser of the Slain, a title bestowed by Odin, as does her ability to transport herself and others immediately to Valhalla. She has a psychic link with her fellow Valkyrior, and carries two magic weapons: the indestructible sword Dragonfang which lets her, uh, change her clothes at will? OK... and the enchanted spear Geirr, which doesn't have any magical "women be shopping" powers but is very magical without doing anything in particular.
Valkyrie also has the ability to pass a portion of her life essence on to others. This was intended not as a superpower, but a spell cast by comic book villain The Enchantress to steal Valkyrie's strength. Fortunately, it's allowed Valkyrie to pass her powers on to mortal avatars, and inhabit several bodies at once. Comic book storylines are entangled messes anyway, so Valkyrie-as-god-Brunhilde alive and fighting the same time as Valkyrie-in-the-body-of-one-or-more-humans is only mildly comic-level confusing. Thor: Ragnarok is a lot more straightforward in terms of plot, with Valkyrie coming to the aid of her fellow Asgardians to do what she does best: rage hard in battle.
Not all of Valkyrie's comic book powers make their way into Thor: Ragnarok, but as one can get from the film's title, there's an end of the world battle, during which the hero's fighting skills definitely come in handy — especially when she's facing off against Cate Blanchett's Goddess of Death, Hela. Thor and his pals need all the help they can get from their new, powerful ally.
The alternate meaning of Ragnarok is "Twilight Of The Gods", a destructive end to all of Asgard and a rebirth of a new world of man without gods. It's all too easy to imagine a dramatic beat where, in future Thor movies, Valkyrie sees the deathglow around one of her fellow fighters, particularly an Asgardian, knowing they're doomed and unable to do anything about it. It would be an odd darker moment in a film series that otherwise has a goofier, funnier tone, but it's not outside the realm of possibility.
Of course, while speculating is fun, the real deal will reveal itself soon enough, and one thing's absolutely sure — we're going to see Valkyrie in full warrior glory (and full warrior armor, in a pleasant change of costuming pace from skimpier bikinis of comics past) fighting for Asgard alongside Thor.