When asked if it’s time for the movie side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to debut a superhero belonging to the LGBTQ community, Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo told India’s PinkVilla, “One hundred percent and you will see one very soon.”
Tessa Thompson, who reprises her Thor: Ragnarok role as Valkyrie in Endgame, pushed for Valkyrie’s bisexuality to be represented on screen before director Taika Waititi was forced to cut a scene hinting at a romantic encounter because “it distracted from the scene’s vital exposition.” Rumors later emerged of a deleted scene from Black Panther that would have hinted at Okoye’s (Danai Gurira) and Ayo’s (Florence Kasumba) mutual interest, also revealing Okoye as bisexual after she was seen in a relationship with W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya).
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., set in the shared MCU, previously introduced a gay character in Joey Gutierrez (Juan Pablo Raba). Marvel’s Runaways later featured a romance between Nico (Lyric Okano) and Karolina (Virginia Gardner). More recently, it was learned the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home will feature the first trans actors in the MCU.
Marvel’s Hercules, who in the Marvel Comics has been depicted as bisexual, is rumored to be a leading character in Marvel Studios’ upcoming The Eternals. It was earlier reported Marvel was looking to cast their first openly gay man in a lead role for the film, with speculation pointing to character Ikaris.
In 2015, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige said “there is no reason why [LGBTQ characters] can’t happen any time soon” while promoting Ant-Man.
“You know, we pull the characters from the comics, for the most part, and they’ve been forging new ground for decades in the comics,” he said. “They’ve been very progressive in the comics. And even more recently in a very important and progressive way. And we keep track of all of those things and are inspired by all of those things, so I’d love it to find an organic, meaningful and natural way for that to happen at some point in the not so distant future.”
Feige later said the Disney-owned studio was emboldened by the groundbreaking success of Black Panther to commit to even more diverse characters and progressive storytelling, saying in 2018 that path is one “we were heading in any way because they’re great stories from the comics. The success of Black Panther, like a lot of things with the history of Marvel Studios, has just emboldened us to just continue doing that and to continue heading forward with that.”
That same attitude is also championed by Marvel Studios’ executive vice president of production Victoria Alonso, who in December told the BBC the forward-thinking studio intends to bring more underrepresented communities to screen.
“You don’t get to have this kind of success if the entire world doesn’t see your product. So we are determined to have everyone of those people represented in our films, in some way, at some point in time,” she said. “Now, we only make two or three movies a year, so it’s difficult to have every single one — but it is definitely one of the things that we have in our minds all the time.”
Some of those characters could come in the form of the newly acquired bundle of X-Men character rights, as many of its characters belong to the LGBTQ community.
“That’s what I loved about genre films, science fiction films, is you’re telling these very serious, very real stories — the X-Men are a great example of that — any great science fiction stories where you’re dealing with things like alien races or wars but you’re really talking about contemporary society,” Feige told Coming Soon. “You’re really talking about people, which is what I love. It gives you something fun and entertaining to watch on screen, because that’s what I wanna see when I go to the movies, but you’re getting a message.”
Avengers: Endgame opens April 26.
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