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There has been plenty of talk about introducing an openly LGBTQ character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Well, blink and you’ll miss it, but there is a gay character in ‘Avengers: Endgame’, but it’s not a superhero. In the trailers, fans witnessed Captain America (Chris Evans) attending a grief support group. In the extended version of that scene, one of the other people attending the meeting is a gay man, mourning the “Snappening” death of his partner, and then going on his first date afterward. He recounts that he and his date sat at a table and just cried over their losses. And, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. That mourning man is played by co-director Joe Russo!
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Russo spoke to Deadline and revealed:
“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.”
His brother, Anthony added:
“The fact that the character is gay will get attention but it isn’t where the scene started. When you have a story point that includes killing half of all humans on Earth, you’re telling a bigger story than The Avengers. So that scene was important to us in telling the story of the larger world. We wanted to have a voice that was talking about the experience of people that went beyond The Avengers. That’s why we felt we really needed it in the movie. Otherwise, it just became too hermetic and insular. That character that Joe is playing really came from that point of view, him being an everyman who has suffered from Thanos’ act.”
While it’s nice that the Russos included a gay character, it’s a really small role, and the character isn’t part of the main story. One pretty significant character, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) returns in ‘Endgame’, and Thompson has publically declared that Valkyrie is bisexual. This is true in the comic books, but the one scene that teased this in the films was cut from ‘Thor: Ragnarok’. Reportedly, another same-sex romantic subplot was also cut from ‘Black Panther’.
Now there is talk that a gay male hero will be introduced in ‘The Eternals’, with Ikarus and Hercules’ names in the mix.
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Marvel Studios has come a long way. Back when the studio was under the control of Ike Perlmutter and Marvel Entertainment, Perlmutter didn’t even want to make ‘Black Panther’ or ‘Captain Marvel’. Now, of course, both of those movies have not only been made but grossed over a billion dollars each, proving that audiences will embrace superheroes that aren’t all Caucasian men. Hopefully, that remains true in the case of LGBTQ characters.