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What Only Marvel Comic Fans Know About She-Hulk's Shapeshifting Runa

Contains spoilers for "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" Season 1, Episode 3

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has continued to expand since "Avengers: Endgame" delivered the end of the Infinity Saga, which has been unfolding ever since 2008's "Iron Man." And Disney+ has allowed Marvel Studios to explore a handful of characters with much more focus, including Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk (Tatiana Maslany), in "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law." It's already earned itself an 88% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so it's clearly successful.

The show revels in its various connections to the wider MCU, from Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), being a key part of Jen's origin to appearances from Emil Blonsky, aka the Abomination (Tim Roth), and Wong (Benedict Wong). But Episode 3 establishes a surprising connection to the "Thor" movies, with a pesky Light Elf named Runa (Peg O'Keef) causing chaos for sleazy lawyer Dennis Bukowski (Drew Matthews).

It's good timing since "Thor: Love and Thunder" arrived in theaters just one month before the "She-Hulk" premiere. The movie sees Thor (Chris Hemsworth) return to New Asgard after some time away — which is where he meets the newly powered Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who becomes the Mighty Thor when Mjolnir reassembles itself for her.

While the "Thor" sequel didn't show off any mischievous elves, "She-Hulk" has a lot of fun with Runa, who masquerades as rapper Megan Thee Stallion and cons Dennis out of $175,000. She even shapeshifts into a judge in court, which doesn't go down very well. But Marvel Comics fans know that Runa in "She-Hulk" is very different from the one in the source material.

Rūna is a one of the original Valkyries

While Runa in "She-Hulk" is an older Light Elf, Rūna in the comics isn't an elf at all — although there is a heavy Asgardian connection since she's actually one of the original Valkyries from the time of Odin's father, Bor. She's a relatively new addition to Marvel Comics, first debuting in "King in Black: Return of the Valkyries" #1 in January 2021. The warrior has a pretty tragic story: She was trapped inside an undead Celestial for millions of years while escorting the soul of her fallen lover, Alta, through the Realm Between to the afterlife (via Marvel Database). She's saved by Jane Foster — a Valkyrie — as the latter is searching for the Sentry's soul.

Like other members of the Valkyries, Rūna is an incredibly skilled warrior with an immense amount of strength. But unlike Runa in the series, she's not a shape-shifter, and she isn't a Light Elf. In fact, the two share no similarities whatsoever aside from their connection to Asgard. It's possible that the writers just liked the name and borrowed it for their mischievous Light Elf as a way of padding out the MCU with a reference to the comics.