The seventh episode of What If? Season 2 imagines the Goddess of Death, Hela, as the enforcer of peace across nine realms and beyond. Her transformative journey began when her father, the King of Asgard, Odin, exiled her to medieval Earth instead of making her a prisoner in Hell. The seventh episode of the Disney animated series mixes the storyline of the first Thor film with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, where instead of Thor, it is Hela who finds herself on Earth, struggling to regain her power so that she can defeat her own father and claim the throne of Asgard. However, her ambitions change over time as she learns valuable lessons during her stay on Earth. So, let’s find out how Hela’s demeanor evolves after a strange encounter with mortals.
Why did Odin banish Hela?
King Odin, the mighty conqueror, had raised his children to become ruthless warriors so that he could unite the Nine Realms under the Throne of Asgard. In his campaign of blood and fire, it was his daughter, Hela, the pious warrior, who fulfilled his desire and forced the Nine Realms to surrender to Odin’s will. But even though the campaign came to an end, Hela hungered for more. She wanted to bring the entire cosmos under her father’s rule, but the old god was done fighting. He tried to preach the same to his daughter, but Hela, the warrior, found her existence in blood and conquest. It was not Hela’s mistake that she failed to understand peace. Instead, it was Odin who had failed as a father. In order to teach his daughter a lesson, Odin destroyed her Mjolnir and took away all her powers. He didn’t want anyone to become a God of Death until and unless they had learned the value of life. Finally, Odin cast Hela out of Asgard and sent her to Earth, where she ended up during the rule of Xu Wenwu, the mythical warrior who was in possession of the legendary rings and had raised an army under its name to fight the evil forces dwelling in the dark corners of Earth. Odin also threw Hela’s helmet to the same location, just like he did with Thor in the Marvel films, so as to make sure the weapon found its rightful owner, the one who had an appreciation for life.
What did Hela learn in Ta Lo?
In Episode 7 of What If? season 2, Hela met Xu Wenwu before the man found out about the mythical city of Ta Lo and fell in love with its gatekeeper, Ying Li. In this universe, the immortal warrior, unaware of love, got smitten by Hela’s brave spirit and invited her to his fort. After a bit of tea, Xu Wenwu proposed an alliance with Hela so that the two mighty forces could join hands and fight the dangerous forces that plagued the lands. However, Hela didn’t have time to spend on trivial matters and wanted to regain her powers so that she could strike back at her father and get back what was rightfully hers. She attempted an escape and came across a magical creature who brought the goddess to the mythical village situated in another dimension. The journey to the village seemed exactly the same as it was portrayed in Marvel’s Shang-Chi film.
At Ta Lo, Hela met a member of the Elder Council named Jiayi, who, after a bit of a conversation, decided to train Hela so she could achieve what she sought. During the training session, Jiayi asked her one of the most important questions. She asked what she was going to do next once she had taken revenge on her father and conquered all the cosmos in the universe. Evidently, Hela had no answer to the question. In that scenario, her existence would again cease to matter because there wouldn’t be any land left for her to destroy. Hela finally had a moment of self-reflection where she got the answers she had been seeking for a long time. Hela yearned for freedom from her father’s control. The freedom to choose her own path. Jiayi finally made her understand that everyone living on Earth seeks the same, and her conquest of the universe would rob people of their freedom of choice, just like his father took away hers. It was the moment when Hela had to face her father in one last battle so that she could defeat him and become free again.
How did Hela defeat Odin?
Odin had instructed Heimdall to keep a close watch on her daughter; however, when Hela entered the Ta Lo dimension, she disappeared from Heimdall’s radar for the time being. While searching for Hela, Heimdall came across Xu Wenwu and his ten rings, which had the power to destroy the gods. He quickly informed Odin about it, and the insecure god didn’t waste a moment traveling to Midgard so as to take away the powerful artifacts from those primitive hands. As soon as Odin stepped on Earth, Hela felt his presence and decided to leave Ta Lo so she could face her father one last time. Hela didn’t have her powers, but the valuable lessons she had learned in the mythical village had made her stronger than Odin.
In the final battle, Hela teamed up with Xu Wenwu to fight against Odin, but even with the powers of the rings, the two couldn’t overpower Odin. The two warriors planned to separate Odin from his weapon, Gungnir, which was a source of his godly powers. With their zeal and courage, the two finally achieved their goal, and in the end, Hela requested that Odin stop his blind pursuit of conquest. It was the exact same moment when Hela’s helmet started to glow, implying that the Goddess of Death had finally learned her lesson, but Odin hadn’t. The god tried to kill his own daughter and ridiculed Hela for missing a chance to kill him. Even when Hela knew that her end was near, she repeated her father’s words and exclaimed that she appreciated life instead of hating it, just like he had taught her to do. It was the moment of Hela’s transformation that brought the helmet back to her and gave her back her powers, with the help of which she finally defeated Odin. Odin realized his mistakes and accepted the fact that his daughter had eclipsed his expectations. Under her rule, the universe would become a better place.
What happened to Hela and Xu Wenwu?
During What If? Episode 7’s ending, Hela finally gave peace a chance and transformed into a glowing symbol of freedom. She decided to ascend the throne of Asgard so she could unmake Odin’s empire and liberate the realms under his rule and the cosmos thereafter. Hela finally decided to make an alliance with Xu Wenwu and use the warriors of both sides to fight against evil across the universe. They also came across Marvel’s own punching bag, Thanos, who had seen more deaths than any supervillain in Marvel’s universe. Perhaps the makers are enjoying this joke now, but we are kind of over it.