Kevin Feige is touching on the studio’s first openly gay character that appeared in Avengers: Endgame.
The MCU’s Queer Past
While the major film franchise has had plenty of LGBTQ characters in the last few movies, none of their sexual orientations/romantic relationships have been depicted or discussed on screen.
Bisexual superhero Valkyrie had a scene where she got out a bed with a woman edited out of Thor: Ragnorak, Korg’s relationship with fellow alien Hiroim was never depicted, and Black Panther’s Ayo was left as an incredibly small role who’s sexuality or romance was deemed unimportant for the grand story.
There are even more hidden LGBTQ characters for fans who want to do some digging. In that last instance, a scene showing Ayo and Danai Gurira’s Okoye flirting/dancing was later cut out of the film to focus on a straight romance for the latter character. In addition, Justin Hammer, a small-time character introduced in Iron Man 2, reappeared in a direct-to-video one-shot called All Hail The King. In that video, the Stark Industries rival is seen in jail with a boyfriend.
And let’s not forget all of the LGBTQ characters in the Marvel Netflix, Hulu, cable, and network television shows. Though, unfortunately, those shows are not canon in the film franchise.
Ultimately, all of that is completely unshown in Marvel’s films. Instead, the film franchise’s first openly gay character was a throwaway cameo for co-director Joe Russo. In the scene, Russo’s unnamed character is seen at a grief counseling session with Captain America and explains his date with another man post Thanos’ snap.
Don’t get me wrong, the nod was nice in its own way. Giving confirmed representation is always good, and do so through an emotional moment was nice. But given the long list of missed opportunities explained above, the Russo cameo can’t help but feel disappointing.
What Does Feige Think?
And while I feel simply disappointed, many fans feel insulted. As is the norm for the internet, you can find plenty of people complaining and getting angry about the scene. But now, Marvel big wig Kevin Feige has decided to comment on the whole thing.
While talking to io9, Feige says the Grieving Man character was the start of a bigger change in the franchise.
“That was never meant to be our first focused character. That was just meant to be a matter of fact and a matter of life and a matter of truth. And I liked it that our hero, Steve Rogers, doesn’t blink an eye at that fact. It is just truth and is heartbreaking for his loss and for the life he’s trying to put back together. It was never meant to be looked at as our first hero. I guess it’s the first reference so it does, of course, get a lot of attention. We haven’t been shy about saying that that’s coming and that there’s much more prominent LGBT heroes in the future.”
The MCU’s Queer Future
It’s true that Feige has already announced plans for LGBTQ heroes in the future. We shared with you last June that Marvel expressed this interest. While talking to the Playlist, Feige said the following:
“The Playlist: When are we getting a Gay, Bi, LGBTQ, out character in the MCU? Is it even in the works?
Kevin Feige: Yes.
TP: That’s the answer?
KF: Yeah, that’s the answer.
TP: It’s not someone we’ve seen yet, I’m guessing?
KF: Both ones you’ve seen and ones you haven’t seen.”
In response to that, we gave a similar list as above on who these already seen LGBTQ characters are. We even wrote up a list of potential new characters to appear in the MCU. Plus, rumors say The Eternals is hiring an openly gay male actor to lead or possibly an openly gay male character.
The MCU seems to be actively moving forward with representing LGBTQ characters in its iconic film franchise. So while its first attempt was small and possibly disappointing, it will hopefully have opened the door for bigger things in the future.