Marvel took home its first Oscar this year for the monumental Black Panther. This weekend, they’ll release their first movie starring a solo female hero, Captain Marvel, which is tracking for at least a $125 million opening. Given all the success, it’s not surprising the studio is continuing to champion diversity with its films. According to production chief Victoria Alonso, the next step is a clear one: a gay superhero.
“The world is ready, the world is ready,” Alonso told Variety at the Captain Marvel premiere. She continued,
“I’m so passionate about this, I’ve got to tell you. Our entire success is based on people that are incredibly different. Why wouldn’t we? Why would we only want to be recognized by only one type of person? Our audience is global, is diverse, is inclusive. If we don’t do it that way for them, we will fail. If we don’t put pedal to the metal on the diversity and the inclusivity, we will not have continued success. Our determination is to have that for all of the people out there watching our movies.”
Rumors have already been stirring that Marvel is looking to cast an openly gay actor for a lead role in the currently developing Eternals. Asked point blank if that were true, Alonso responded carefully, “We are going to cast the best Eternals cast that we can and when we’re ready to announce it we promise you we will.”
Another prominent Marvel Studios exec, Kevin Feige, confirmed to The Playlist last year that LGBTQ characters were not only in the future for the MCU, but already present. Asked if stories with openly gay characters were in the works, he replied bluntly, “Yes.” When pressed further if fans would be introduced to a new character or a familiar one, he said, “Both ones you’ve seen and ones you haven’t seen.”
Tessa Thompson has directly said her character from Thor: Ragnarok, Valkyrie, is bi-sexual. She apparently even got director Taika Waititi to shoot a scene in which a woman walks out of Valkyrie’s chambers, but it ended up being cut.
As for who the new gay character will be, it’s impossible to know. None of the Eternals in the comics — including the film’s expected principal parts of Sersi, Ikaris, and Piper — have identified as LGBTQ over the characters’ 40-year history. Marvel does have some gay characters in its catalog, however, including Moondragon (an Avenger and Guardian of the Galaxy), Wiccan and Hulking (a couple from the Young Avengers), and the X-Men Iceman and Northstar.
There actually are a few gay Marvel characters already in the larger media landscape, just not in the MCU. Deadpool 2 featured a lesbian couple in Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio (and, though he only survived a few scenes in the film, Shatterstar is bi in the comics), and Karolina and Nico of Hulu’s Runaways also have shared some romance.