The topic of inclusion and diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a major point of discussion amongst fans and critics over the last few years, particularly when it comes to representing the LGBTQ community. The biggest franchise has yet to have a openly queer character in any of its films to this point. That changes this weekend with the arrival of Avengers: Endgame, as directors Joe and Anthony Russo made a point to include a gay character in a small role early in the film. (Warning: There are very MILD spoilers ahead.)
At the beginning of Endgame, in the support group scene from the trailers, Joe Russo makes his cameo in the film, sitting close to Steve Rogers and talking about losing loved ones. His character is sharing a story about losing his partner in the Snap and then going out on a first date since the event. He talks openly about his male date, and how the two cried at the table over their devastating losses.
This is a small role, but for the Russo Brothers, it was the first step toward a much more inclusive MCU, one that was very important for them to make.
"Representation is really important," Joe Russo told Deadline. "It was important to us as we did four of these films, we wanted a gay character somewhere in them. We felt it was important that one of us play him, to ensure the integrity and show it is so important to the filmmakers that one of us is representing that. It is a perfect time, because one of the things that is compelling about the Marvel Universe moving forward is its focus on diversity."
While the character isn't a superhero or a major character, the directors thought that his role was significant in showing the lives of normal people.
"The fact that the character is gay will get attention but it isn't where the scene started," Joe continued. "When you have a story point that includes killing half of all humans on Earth, you're telling a bigger story than The Avengers. So that scene was important to us in telling the story of the larger world. We wanted to have a voice that was talking about the experience of people that went beyond The Avengers. That's why we felt we really needed it in the movie. Otherwise, it just became too hermetic and insular. That character that Joe is playing really came from that point of view, him being an everyman who has suffered from Thanos' act."
There has been talk of introducing a gay hero in a future MCU film, likely the upcoming movie The Eternals. Before making their potential MCU exit, Joe and Anthony Russo wanted to make sure to start the movement toward a more inclusive future.
Avengers: Endgame arrives in theaters this weekend.
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