Last week’s Avengers: Infinity War shoot at Durham Cathedral has sent fanboys and fansites into a speculative frenzy about what was going down there and what location it might be in the film. Many have connected the site to Thor’s vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron and believed that the location could spell doom for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. We’ve done our own thinking and we believe that Durham Cathedral may be the stand in for Valhalla, the hall of dead warriors in Norse mythology.
As many keen-eyed observers have noted, a piece of the Durham set looks awfully familiar. This statue, caught on set a couple of times last week, was also seen during Thor’s self-induced vision in the Waters of Sight in Age of Ultron.
That statue looks awfully heavy. It’s also identical the the one in Thor’s vision. In that vision, Heimdall, whose eyes are missing, explains to Thor that everyone he sees around him is dead and that he is leading them to Hel.
That vision is what sets Thor on a journey that takes him away from the team during the film and again at its conclusion. It’s safe to say when we see him again in Thor: Ragnarok, he’ll be on the same path, following the leads to see who is behind the events involving the Infinity Stones. The path he follows, though, seems destined to lead Asgard to Ragnarok and him to Valhalla, where we might see him, the Hulk and even Rocket when at some point in Avengers: Infinity War.
Though we have no inside info, the evidence is there to connect the dots and deduce that the place Thor sees in his vision and the set of Durham Cathedral is Valhalla. If you recall the vision scene, everyone, including Heimdall, seems awfully happy to be dead. When Thor enters the hall, it’s to what appears to be a pretty big rager, which is exactly what you’d expect to see in Valhalla. The Norse gods and warriors were not afraid to die; they accepted it as part of their fate and they only hoped to see a good death on the battlefield. When heroes died in battle, they were taken by the Valkyrie to Valhalla where they fought, feasted and drank waiting to be called by Odin to battle in Ragnarok. So if there’s going to be a big battle going on at some point, we need some Viking warriors.
In late January, Marvel issued a casting call for men and women, ages 18-50, to take part in a six-day shoot (March 31-April 7) that would involve them dressing as Vikings and being comfortable with fake blood. A week is enough time to film a pretty intense battle and fits pretty nicely into the idea our speculation about Valhalla becoming a key location in both Ragnarok and Infinity War.
If Thor and Hulk are in Valhalla, that would mean that Cate Blanchett’s Hela is not defeated in the final battle for Asgard in Thor: Ragnarok and at this juncture in the MCU, it’s probably about time for the heroes to lose. It’s possible that Valhalla may well play into Hela’s story as well and, in fact, be the reason she seeks vengeance against Asgard in the first place. Hela, the powerful Goddess of Death, was granted the kingdom of Niflheim by Odin. Her kingdom, also known as Hel, was inhabited by the souls of all those who didn’t die a glorious death in battle, but instead died of age or sickness. Many times in the comics, Hela, thirsting for more souls, tried to push her purview into Valhalla, calling down the rage of Odin and his forces. It’s possible we’ve already seen a part of this earlier battle in the trailer.
The winged horses and blue capes are the unmistakable signs of Odin’s army of Valkyries waging war against Hela. If I had to guess (and that’s all I can do) we are seeing a flashback of the Valkyrior attacking Hela in her own kingdom of Niflheim. While the trailer doesn’t make it look good for the warriors, I’d guess this scene leads to Hela’s imprisonment and gives Tessa Thompson’s character her reason for hanging up her cape. We know Thompson’s character will redeem herself and join the Odinson in the battle for Asgard (which may or may not include the mighty Fenris wolf!), but we aren’t so sure just how any of them will make it out alive. Thompson was also on location last week in Durham, indicating that it’s very possible she ends up in Valhalla along with Thor and Hulk.
We’re just speculating here and we can’t be clear just how all of this will tie together. We’ve been told that Thor: Ragnarok will lead directly into Avengers: Infinity War and if we take it literally, we could actually be left with a unresolved cliffhanger in which things look very, very bad for our heroes. So bad, in fact, that they’re dead. An old rumor had Thor and Valkyrie leading an army of the dead (including Heimdall) against Hela during the events of Ragnaork. Maybe that idea was cut and moved into Infinity War. Maybe it will happen in both movies. Maybe it won’t happen at all. However, with a Valkyrie, dead Vikings, Hela’s hunger for souls and the link to Thor’s vision of dead people partying, we’re guessing that we will see Valhalla sooner rather than later.
Source: Twitter, Project Casting