WARNING: The following article contains a minor spoiler for Avengers: Endgame, in theaters now.
Avengers: Endgame directors Joe and Anthony Russo have shed insight into the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first openly gay character, who made a cameo in the record-shattering film.
The unnamed person is played by Joe Russo, who made it clear that "as filmmakers of a massive franchise we're saying, we support you." The scene in question comes early on in the film when Chris Evans' Steve Rogers is leading a therapy group with civilians, and Joe's character reveals the pain he's experiencing from losing his male partner due to Thanos' "dusting."
"Representation is really important," Joe said to Deadline. "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."
While openly gay characters have already been featured on the TV side of the MCU in shows like Runaways and Jessica Jones, this is the first time an openly gay character has appeared in a Marvel Studios film.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has made it clear the future of the MCU will be more diverse with a gay lead being sought for The Eternals, as well as the possibility o f Valkyrie's bisexuality being explored further. Disney will already be inheriting a gay character in Deadpool's Negasonic Teenage Warhead. As for what the future holds in terms of progressive stories, the directors did indicate the studio would keep pushing for inclusivity.
"We've seen it now even in countries where people countries where homosexuality isn't as free as it is here [in America]," Anthony Russo added. "It's actually one of those elements of these movies that I think resonates in challenged places in the world as well."
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Avengers: Endgame stars Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, Don Cheadle as War Machine, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Danai Gurira as Okoye and Bradley Cooper as Rocket, with Gwyneth Paltrow Pepper Potts, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Benedict Wong as Wong, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie and Josh Brolin as Thanos.