Out and proud gay actor Sir Ian McKellen has had a long and illustrious career going all the way back to the 60s, but in recent years, he might be best recognized for his genre work, having played Gandalf in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ movies and Magneto in the ‘X-Men’ franchise.
McKellen appeared on Variety’s web chat show where he was asked about seeing a gay hero on the big screen.
“Frankly, looking at some of the images of these superheroes, I’m surprised to know that they’re not gay…It’s the reason I played Magneto; I wanted to look like that.”
He went on to add:
“I would think Marvel is a very responsible publishing house who came up with X-Men – which is a political story about life as it is lived by minorities of whom mutants are a prime example – would respond very favorably to the idea of having a gay or bisexual or transgender superhero. Can you imagine because of it all the wonderful complications of the story – mistaken identities, etcetera etcetera.”
You can watch his interview below:
Indeed, Marvel’s mutants are an allegory for anyone who grew up “different”, whether it was due to ethnicity, religion, nation of origin, even simply being a nerd or, yes sexuality. McKellen’s character, Magneto, debuted in the pages of Marvel Comics, but the films are produced by 20th Century Fox, so it’s unclear if McKellen thinks Marvel Studios or Fox should bring a gay character to the cinema.
James Gunn hinted that a character in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ could be gay, as besides Star-Lord and Gamora, most of the characters haven’t expressed a romantic interest at all. Earlier this year, there was quite a hubbub over a random line of dialogue in ‘Power Rangers’ which implied that one of them might be at least sexually fluid.
The first openly gay superhero was Marvel’s Northstar, who premiered in the pages of ‘Uncanny X-Men’ as a member of the Canadian team Alpha Flight. It’s entirely likely that the rights to this character could belong to Fox should they choose to utilize him. Of the existing movie characters, Mystique, originally played by Rebecca Romijn then Jennifer Lawrence, is actually bisexual in the comics, but her film depictions have not explored that aspect of her persona.
Which LGBTQ hero or villain should make their way to the big screen?