A tear-jerking gay kiss is on the way in the MCU?
Back in December, we shared with you the leaked info of which actor would be playing the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first openly gay superhero. Thanks to early footage shown at CCXP, Brazil’s version of Comic-Con, we were given the info that Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos would be the MCU’s first openly gay hero. The trailer allegedly showed Phastos “holding hands with a male partner, with the pair accompanied by two kids.” And now, that other actor/character has revealed himself to the public.
Talking to Logo, actor Haaz Sleiman revealed that he is playing the other half of the MCU’s first openly gay couple. During the interview, Sleiman said his character is “married to the gay superhero Phastos, played by ‘Atlanta’s’ Brian Tyree Henry, and we represent a gay family and have a child.”
As we have tracked with you for two years now, executives over at Marvel Studios have expressed the desire to work on representation within their continued universe. And it looks like Marvel’s Phase 4 is dedicated to that mission. Not only is The Eternals looking to be packed with representation thanks to its diverse cast of characters, but other heroes of color and LGBTQ heroes are on the way. For instance, Valkyrie is expected to be looking for love in Thor: Love and Thunder, Wiccan is set to make his appearance in WandaVision, America Chavez and Monica Rambeau in the works to appear in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness and Wandavision (respectively), Kamala Khan aka Miss Marvel is getting a Disney+ show, both Blade and Shang Chi are planned to get future movies, and more.
But at the heart of all this is the desire to create meaningful representation. And according to Sleiman, the MCU’s first openly gay kiss scene does just that.
“It’s a beautiful, very moving kiss,” Sleiman says. “Everyone cried on set. 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 we’re 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.”
We have to say, we are excited to see it. Though, we are hesitant. After all, LGBTQ film viewers have been queerbaited left and right. While we’re certain that Phastos’s family will be open and outright representation, there is some room for argument in how important the characters will be outside of tokenism. After all, the Eternals is a largely packed film with eleven main characters. Will Phastos get a role to play in the movie’s greater storyline besides being the gay one? On top of that, will this gay kiss be received by the audience as the moving piece Sleiman sells it to be, or will it come off more like the pandering kiss in Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker?
We’ll see how things go when The Eternals hits theaters on November 6.