“Thor’ movie was the first in the universe that made a huge impression on me,” says Tessa Thompson

“Thor: Ragnarok” releases in U.S. theaters November 2nd.

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She plays Valkyrie, a female warrior in the third installment of Marvel’s super hero film “Thor: Ragnarok,” and despite being a newbie to the Marvel franchise, Thompson says she knew a bit about Thor and the Marvel Cinema Universe before signing on to play the elite fighter.

“I knew plenty in the sense that I watched a number of the movies, but I was not a comic book nerd growing up,” shares the actress who starred alongside Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone in the Rocky story “Creed” two years ago.

In “Thor: Ragnarok,” Chris Hemsworth returns to this sequel as the hammer-wielding hero of Asgard, nullwho finds himself imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his trusty hammer as his village is under siege.

In a quest to stop the destruction of his home base, he joins forces with Valkyrie.

“They’re both fighters,” explains Thompson, who initially captures Thor. “Valkyrie is sort of an ex-pat who’s been hanging out on another planet called Sakaar. She’s left Asgard behind because it caused her too much pain in the past, meets Thor and Hulk, and she reluctantly becomes a part of their team to try to save Asgard.”

Directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Taika Waititi, female power is conspicuous in this sequel with Cate Blanchett stepping in the role of the villainous Hela, a powerful sinister fantastical character who poses a threat to mankind.

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“Cate imbues Hela with so much humanity,” shares Thompson. “She’s also so charming and charismatic that she’s the kind of villain that you can’t really help yourself liking. But she’s frightening, and Valkyrie is frightened of her. So it makes for a third act that is scary.”

For Thompson, who also stars in the hit HBO drama series “Westworld,” working on “Thor: Ragnarok” presented many physical challenges. Clad in leather, armed with daggers and sporting a ninja hairstyle, she clearly embodies a space-age warrior goddess.

“Valkyrie is an incredible elite fighter and is arguably as strong as Thor. She doesn’t have a hammer, but she can wield a sword like nobody’s business, and she’s incredibly agile and this has been the most physical I may ever have been in my life.”

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With film credits that include playing the civil rights activist Diane Nash in the Ava DuVernay directed film “Selma,” Tyler Perry’s film “For Colored Girls” and a starring role in the 2014 film “Dear White People,” Thompson has had a steady acting career since her debut role playing Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet: Antebellum New Orleans 1836.”  It was a role for which she received an NAACP Image Award nomination.

“It’s been a blast.  I can’t believe that this is my job. I can’t believe that I get paid to come in and do what I get to do. Acting feels like a responsibility in a way, which is never a bad thing.”

(photos courtesy of Marvel Studios)

“Thor: Ragnarok” releases in U.S. theaters November 2nd

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