While some MCU fans are trying to figure out if the Winter Soldier is bisexual, one of the MCU’s actual LGBTQ characters showed up in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. But be careful not to blink or you may miss it.
But before we get into it… WARNING: Spoilers for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 3 below!
The third episode in the latest MCU and Disney+ mini-series dropped earlier today. While the episode was chock-full of adventure and espionage, it’s the very end that got our attention. In the episode’s final moments, we see Sebastian Stan’s James “Bucky” Barnes or The Winter Soldier picking up a small metal marble (later revealed to be a Kimoyo bead). He then goes on a walk and picks up another one. In the end, he yells out into a seemingly empty alley, “I was wondering when you were going to show up.”
The camera then reveals the character of Ayo, played by Florence Kasumba, as she says, “I’m here for Zemo.”
But who is Ayo and why should you care? Well, she is one of the only LGBTQ characters in the MCU so far (besides Korg and Valkyrie). Though, unfortunately, her sexual orientation has yet to be acknowledged in the franchise.
Within the comics, Ayo is a member of the Dora Milaje, a team of elite warriors who protect and serve Wakanda and its rulers (meaning the Black Panther). Even further, Ayo is a lesbian and in a relationship with another Dora Milaje named Aneka. But in the Marvel film franchise, Ayo has only served as a small character. She first appeared in one scene of Captain America: Civil War before popping up again in Black Panther. She also fought alongside the Avengers in Avengers: Infinity War. But again, Ayo’s significance in the MCU has been fairly light.
In addition to that, Ayo’s sexuality, and overall background, has not been depicted. But her arrival in this Disney+ show gives us some hope of that happening. We have to be careful, though, to not get our hopes up too high. This is Marvel after all. If Ayo’s sexuality is explored, expect it to be a brief and small acknowledgment. Maybe a line or two about how men “aren’t her type.” Or, a mention of a girlfriend (if they can somehow get her to open up that much). That kind of idea.
In the end, though, it looks like Ayo will get some significance in the next episode. And with Marvel reportedly working on a Wakanda series, perhaps this cameo could open the door for an Ayo-led show. While we can’t be sure that her sexual orientation will be made open and canon, we can, at least, be excited for an LGBTQ character getting screen time.
So LGBTQ fans and fans of LGBTQ media, this is an exciting surprise. We can’t wait to see what comes of it!