The last decade has seen unprecedented growth for Marvel Studios, which has gone from focusing on the core characters of the Avengers to now establishing all new franchises in their billion dollar production house. Over the last few years, we've seen them put the spotlight on a major black superhero as the King of Wakanda in Black Panther, as well as female superheroes headlining films like Captain Marvel and the forthcoming Black Widow. And at the end of this year, The Eternals will apparently reveal the first out gay superhero to the world.
There have been rumblings about Brian Tyree Henry's character of Phastos being gay in the film, though it wasn't clear if it would be up front featuring a relationship prominently or if it would be more subtle as in Beauty and the Beast's portrayal of LeFou.
"I just shot a Marvel film with the first openly gay superhero, The Eternals. I'm married to the gay superhero Phastos, played by Atlanta's Brian Tyree Henry, and we represent a gay family and have a child," Sleiman told LOGO's NewNowNext.
When asked if the film would feature an intimate moment between their characters, Sleiman conformed.
"Oh, yeah, absolutely, and it's a beautiful, very moving kiss. Everyone cried on set," Sleiman explained. "For me it's very important to show how loving and beautiful a queer family can be. Brian Tyree Henry is such a tremendous actor and brought so much beauty into this part, and at one point I saw a child in his eyes, and I think it's important for the world to be reminded that we in the queer community were all children at one point. We forget that because we're always depicted as sexual or rebellious. We forget to connect on that human part."
Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed that the billion dollar successes of Black Panther and Captain Marvel have emboldened them to continue exploring diversity on the big screen to maximize their impact across the globe.
"Every time we do a movie, we hope it's going to succeed so that we can make another movie. That's always the idea," Feige said at CCXP last year. "And with those two films in particular, Black Panther and Captain Marvel, we wanted to keep showcasing heroes from the comics that represent the world that goes to see our movies. So our intention was always to continue to do that. What's exciting is that both those movies were such big hits that it squashed any sort of question otherwise, and I hope — and I think — it inspired other companies around the world to do the same thing and tell those different types of stories."
The Eternals premieres in theaters on May 6th.