Let’s Talk About LGBTQ Representation in Avengers: Endgame
Mildest of spoilers below.
SPOILER ALERT: This post contains minor spoilers for Avengers: Endgame. Ye have been warned.
It’s safe to say that there is a lot happening in Avengers: Endgame. With a run time of three hours and years of plot to wrap up, the experience is akin to seeing ten Marvel movies at once. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing: I really enjoyed the film and felt that it did an admirable job of bringing a very complex series to a satisfying conclusion.
In addition to wrapping up 22 films worth of stories, Endgame manages to quietly slip in the first canonically gay character of the Marvel films. Co-director Joe Russo plays a gay man early on in the film, as one of the members of Captain America’s support group. Russo’s character talks about going on his first date post-Snap, and how he and his date both cried during their first date because they lost their partners. It’s a quiet moment, and you would almost miss it was gay were it not for Russo’s use of the pronoun “he” when referring to his date.
No one in the group reacts to his sexuality, just his story of moving on in the face of the world’s greatest tragedy. Cap offers him support, and encourages the rest of the group to try and keep on living in the wake of the Snapture. It’s a brief but tender moment showcasing the devastation all the remaining characters still feel five years on.
Russo said of the scene, “Representation is really important, 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.”
There have been, of course, LGBTQ characters on the small screen, from Jeri Hogarth on Jessica Jones to Joey Gutierrez on Agents of SHIELD. And Marvel already has two queer characters, Deadpool‘s Negasonic Teenage Warhead and her girlfriend Yukio, via their partnership with Fox.
Marvel has come close to big screen representation, most notably with Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok. Tessa Thompson, who fought for her character’s bisexuality, even filmed a scene of a woman leaving her room, but it ended up on the cutting room floor.
Russo followed up by saying, “We wanted it to be casual, with the fact that the character is gay tied into the fabric of the storytelling and representing what everyday life is … We’re trying to represent everyone in everyday life. These are global movies that reach a lot of people. They are important to a lot of people and everyone has the right to see themselves on the screen and identify somewhere.”
Marvel has long heralded a new queer future for the MCU, most specifically in their search for a gay Asian male lead in the upcoming Eternals movie. Brie Larson also discussed the importance of queer inclusivity in the MCU.
And while LGBTQ representation is always important, some fans think that Marvel and the Russos are being overly congratulatory for including a queer character in such a minor role.
So it took Marvel 22 movies and the elimination of half the population to find a single gay man in their cinematic universe? pic.twitter.com/7lMKYWHj2g
— Damian Holbrook (@damianholbrook) April 28, 2019
Marvel: We have LGBTQ representation!
Me: Does the character have a name?
Me: They didn’t have a name on screen. Can you tell me what the character’s name was in the script?
Me: Did you list him as Gay Character #1? Guys? Oh god. Did you?
Marvel: …. cmon man
— Brock Wilbur (feat. Brendon Urie of Panic! At The (@brockwilbur) April 27, 2019
marvel making their “first openly gay” character a minor character is so disappointing
— rhia ⧗ au📌 (@CHAVEZBABS) April 23, 2019
Feel like Thanos didn't snap half the universe to death for an unnamed gay character played by a straight(?) man to be Marvel's first go at queer representation on the big screen. https://t.co/wGsUXsBVxr
— Charles Pulliam-Moore (@CharlesPulliam) April 25, 2019
Omg there’s a gay character in @Avengers – he’s in one scene and doesn’t have a name but still.. progress I guess? Spoiler: it’s not Thanos
— Andreas Samuelson (@andy_samuelson) April 23, 2019
— 99% unsure | all the spoilers (@vibraniummm) April 26, 2019
What did you think of Russo’s cameo in Endgame? Did you find it too inconsequential or at least a starting point?
(via Deadline, image: Marvel)
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