Before Brie Larson became a fairly well-known name thanks to movies like Captain Marvel, she tackled a long list of roles in movies and television series. One of those roles had her playing Kate Gregson in United States of Tara. And what a role it was. The show starred Toni Collette as a woman living with dissociative identity disorder and raising her family. Brie Larson was her rebellious teenage daughter. In her first adult job, Kate becomes a debt collector, which she soon realizes is sort of depressing. While pursuing her new career, she has to track down Lynda P. Frazier, a comic book writer and creator of the feminist superhero Princess Valhalla Hawkwind.
Brie Larson’s character Kate becomes friends with the comic book writer she originally went to collect debt from. The writer even lets Kate try on her Princess Valhalla Hawkwind costume. Kate then films a video dressed up as the feminist superhero. It is about as fantastically kitsch and campy as it can get. You can see the video below.
As United States of Tara moves forward in season two, Brie Larson’s character wears the costume for a while. She develops some internet fame as the character and wears the costume while doing mundane things. She appears to be figuring things out about herself, and what the character means.
This is explored when Brie Larson’s character shows the video to her brother. The two are hanging out and smoking pot. He asks her about the video she filmed as the superhero and whether she’s posted it online yet. She shows it to him. He comments on the fact that the horse in the video looks totally fake, and she defends this, saying that was a purposeful choice because it’s representative. Incredulous, he asks what it’s representing. She says that it’s a comment, “on the testosterone-fuelled fantasy genre.” She pauses, finding her thoughts. “Totally subverting the hero archetype… Valhalla’s postfeminist.” He asks if she knows what that means. She does not. As her relationship with the comic book writer develops and her experience with the character moves forward, she explores those themes more.
Today, there isn’t much online about Brie Larson’s Princess Valhalla Hawkwind and her campy and fun storyline. At the time of the show’s release, it was a hit. The series aired on Showtime. The network had a PrincessValhalla.com website for the feminist superhero, complete with comic panels and backstory. Unfortunately, the website now redirects to the United States of Tara page on Showtime’s site. It’s been over a decade since the series went off the air, so that makes sense. While info on Princess Valhalla Hawkwind is now sparse, Brie Larson hasn’t forgotten the character. She occasionally brings her up for Throwback Thursday posts on social media.
United States of Tara only got three seasons. Despite its short life, the role was a big win for Brie Larson. The show’s idea originally came from Steven Spielberg, who became an executive producer on the show. Diablo Cody, who created Juno and Jennifer’s Body, became the showrunner. Toni Collette won Emmy’s for her role. While Brie Larson wasn’t center stage in the project, it did bring her to more attention. Around the same time that Brie Larson was bringing Princess Valhalla Hawkwind to life, she landed a part in Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World as Envy Adams.
Today, fans of Brie Larson mostly see her on social media or in Marvel movies, where she plays a very different kind of superhero. The Marvels releases in theaters on February 17, 2023.