So Who Could Be Marvel’s Yet-to-Be-Revealed Gay Legacy Character?
Valkyrie? Carol? Loki? Who knows.
Outside of director Joe Russo’s appearance as a nameless grieving Snap survivor in Avengers: Endgame, there hasn’t been much by way of canon LGBTQ+ characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Previously, scenes that showcased queer characters were deleted, such as Ayo and Okoye flirting in Black Panther or a woman exiting Valkyrie’s bedroom in Thor: Ragnarok. Marvel and the Russo brothers raised a big fuss about director Joe Russo’s character talking about going on a date with a man, but it’s hardly progressive for an unnamed side character to speak about a boyfriend when we’ve had 22 films and no queer protagonists.
However, there is hope, if one wants to be optimistic about the future of the MCU. The Russo brothers, in a recent interview as reported by Entertainment Weekly, when asked about Joe’s character, said that the cameo was the first openly gay character but there have “been insinuations about other characters’ sexuality, but this is the first openly gay character.” Later, they said, “There is a gay character coming up in one of their films, and I think Kevin will make that announcement, I’m sure pretty soon.”
This ties into Kevin Feige’s past comments about two LGBTQ+ characters coming to the franchise, including a character we’ve already met. While the future character who’s queer could be the lead of The Eternals, that still leaves us with the possibility of an established character coming out. The question now becomes who the previously introduced character is, and when we’ll find out about their sexuality.
I think Valkyrie is a guarantee, and in an upcoming film we’ll find out about her sexuality. I would love it if Okoye and Ayo wound up together should Okoye and W’Kabi be separated following the events of Black Panther. The importance of having three queer Black women cannot be understated, especially since all three are fan favorites and powerful, kickass women.
A slightly longer shot, though more likely given the fan response and the power the actress probably now holds at the studio, could be that Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel is revealed to be queer, as well. While her character is in a relationship with Rhodey in the comics, in the film, it seems as though Carol’s heart belongs to Maria Rambeau. Plenty of fans also ship Carol with Valkyrie, something that actress Brie Larson does encourage. Carol being queer would also be a massive step forward for representation.
It’s also highly possible that one of these characters could be Loki, who’s getting his own TV series on Disney+. Loki is canonically bisexual in the comics, and a show where he’s the main attraction would be the perfect time to highlight his sexuality. However, I wouldn’t want him to be the only queer character in the MCU besides an unnamed extra, because it wouldn’t exactly be great for the only major queer character being an anti-hero/villainous character, due to the history of queer-coding villains.
When I posed the question to the TMS staff, insightful assistant editor Princess Weekes suggested that when the X-Men are introduced, either Storm or Rogue would be great characters to be written as queer women, as well. When the Young Avengers are also brought to the screen, it’s likely that the canonically queer characters in those comics will be brought to life.
Another hope I have is that a trans actor will be cast to play a major hero in the next five years. If Marvel features a trans hero on the big screen, it will be a huge step forward for inclusion and something that Marvel could lead the charge on. While DC has a trans superheroine on The CW, Marvel could break new ground by having a trans lead in one of their films.
Overall, I don’t want to let myself get too hopeful that we’ll see many non-cishet characters, but I want to believe that Marvel will start to change their films to be more inclusive across the board. If Marvel wants to continue to stay ahead of the crowd and break new ground, they have to be more inclusive in front of and behind the camera. Joe Russo’s cameo would’ve been a bigger deal in 2008. In 2019, it’s a sign that Marvel needs to step up their game, and soon.
(via Entertainment Weekly, image: Marvel)
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