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The newest entry in the Thor franchise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduces several brand new characters, but one of them came from a somewhat unexpected place, a galaxy, far, far, away. It turns out that Tessa Thompson, who plays Valkyrie in the new movie, says that director Taika Waititi pitched her character to her by comparing her to everybody's favorite smuggler from the Star Wars franchise. According to Thompson...
It was quite collaborative but [Taika] and I got on from the minute we met each other. He pitched Valkyrie as sort of the Han Solo over the movie and so I sort of knew the space that she wanted to occupy, and we wanted to subvert any sort of cliches in our portrayal of her. I say 'ours' because he was really integral to that.
While we don't know exactly what sort of character Valkyrie will be in Thor: Ragnarok, we can see a bit of what Tessa Thompson is saying to The Independent in what's been released so far. The first Ragnarok trailer shows Valkyrie working alongside The Grandmaster, though at some point, she clearly switches sides and begins working with Thor. There's obviously a bit of mercenary there, which is likely part of why director Taiki Waititi saw the character as the Han Solo of the movie.
And really, every movie needs a Han Solo, doesn't it? The fact that the Star Wars prequels didn't have any sort of analog to Solo is one of the biggest things those films are missing. Every movie could likely improve itself with a good scoundrel with a heart of gold. If Valkyrie is the Han Solo of the movie, then we can likely guess that she will eventually fully embrace the path of the hero in the same way that Han did, though just because Valkyrie is inspired by Han Solo doesn't mean the character will follow the character arc perfectly.
Still, since there's a pretty good chance that we're going to see Valkyrie again in Avengers: Infinity War, then we're guessing she'll be throwing in with the good guys full time. What happens after Infinity War is, of course, up in the air. Though, with rumors being that the plan is for the MCU to focus on more galactic heroes, there's still a spot for Valkyrie to take a prominent role going forward. Perhaps she'll be a long-term addition to the MCU.
As for her Star Wars inspiration, he's become such a popular character that he's getting his own movie coming up next year, in the recently titled Solo: A Star Wars Story. With the character's own arc having been already set out in the original Star Wars trilogy, it will be interesting to see just how much like Han Solo, Han Solo actually is in his own movie.