entertainment

Marvel boss promises more LGBTQ representation in the MCU after Eternals

The President of Marvels Studios was speaking at the worldwide premiere of the latest blockbuster, Eternals, which will feature the MCU's first gay superhero.

2021-10-19

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Disney

Marvel's head honcho, Kevin Feige, has said that more LGBTQ representation is on the way following the Marvel Cinematic Universe's next blockbuster, Eternals.

Speaking at the worldwide premiere of the film, which features the MCU's first gay superhero, Phastos played by Atlanta's Brian Tyree Henry, Feige said the Eternals was "just the start" of the franchise's slate of LGBTQ heroes.

In the film, Brian Tyree Henry's Phastos will be seen as part of the MCU's first LGBTQ family with actor Haaz Sleiman playing Henry's partner and the two having a kid.

"It is more than past time in the movies"

Speaking to Variety at the premiere in Los Angeles Kevin Feige said when asked about the franchise's first openly gay superhero: "There have been gay heroes before in the comics. It is more than past time in the movies and it's just the start."

The rumours of Marvel's first gay superhero were confirmed by Feige back in 2019. Since then Phastos has gathered quite a bit of attention, especially given Marvel and Disney's record when it comes to LGBTQ representation.

Ahead of the release of 2019's Avengers: Endgame, it was promoted that the film would feature the franchise's first gay character. But this turned out to be a very minor role in one brief scene. 

The MCU has previously come close to depicting an LGBTQ superhero on screen in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok, which featured bisexual comic book hero Valkyrie (played by Tessa Thompson). A scene confirming Valkyrie's sexuality was cut from the film's final edit, Thompson claimed at the time.

However, the MCU has since made some progress with the Disney+ show, Loki, which not only confirmed the character was gender fluid but also bisexual as seen in the comics. In one scene the titular character confirmed he liked "a bit of both" when it came to princes and princesses.

However, the show was lambasted by writer Russell T Davies over providing a "feeble gesture" towards the LGBTQ community.

Disney has also come under fire for its use of LGBTQ characters elsewhere, with a recent example including the character of McGregor in Jungle Cruise, who failed to explicitly state he was gay, instead saying his interests "lie elsewhere" when discussing his former (female) fiancé.  

The Attitude Awards issue is out now.

Subscribe in print and get your first three issues for just £1 each, or digitally for just over £1.50 per issue.