We've Been Ready For a Gay Superhero - What Took Hollywood So Long?

At the Los Angeles premiere of Captain Marvel, Marvel's Production Chief Victoria Alonzo told Variety that "the world is ready" for a gay superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The timing of this statement would seem to confirm the rumors that Marvel's 2020 release, Eternals, is specifically seeking to cast a gay actor to portray a gay superhero character (there is speculation this character could be Hercules or Eros).

Between this news and the already confirmed casting of transgender actor Zach Barack as one of Peter Parker's friends in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Marvel does seem to finally be making progress in regards to LGBTQ representation. We might even see more in the near future if Kevin Feige's promise of a pre-existing character coming out on-screen turns out to be true. Many fans would certainly be overjoyed if Valkyrie has a girlfriend in Endgame after confirmation of her bisexuality was left on the cutting room floor in Thor: Ragnarok, or if Drax's return made the potential subtext of his infatuation with Thor into text.

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Such progress is highly welcome. However, just as it was with its first female-led movie, Marvel is a little late to the party.

Audiences have been "ready" for gay superheroes for a while now. Certainly comics have come a long way since the early '90s, when Pied Piper and Northstar became the first openly gay heroes in the DC and Marvel universes, respectively. From Apollo and Midnighter to Wiccan and Hulkling, there are plenty of LGBTQ characters in mainstream comics ready to make their big screen debuts.

So far, queer heroes have had much more success on the small screen. The CW's Arrowverse shows are among the most inclusive on broadcast TV, featuring both queer characters from the comics and their own original characters. Batwoman, perhaps DC's most popular lesbian character, is getting a series of her own, with Ruby Rose in the lead role.

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Even the MCU has been far more LGBTQ inclusive on television than in the movies. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. included gay Inhuman Joey Guiterrez in Season 3, lesbian lawyer Jeri Hogarth showed up throughout the Netflix shows and Karolina Dean and Nico Minoru got together at the end of Runaways' first season.

In contrast, the cinematic MCU has backed away from acknowledging queerness even when there were natural opportunities. Taika Waititi did film a scene of Valkyrie getting out of bed with another woman only for it to be cut from Thor: Ragnarok. The Thor movies also never bothered to address Loki's gender fluidity or Korg's homosexuality from the comics. Disney screened a flirty scene between Ayo and Okoye to the press, only to deny any romantic implications and then cut the scene entirely from Black Panther.

NEXT PAGE: The Lack of Gay Representation in Film Isn't Exclusive to Marvel

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