During a New York Film Academy guest speaker question and answer session, Kevin Feige said that a transgender character will be appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, providing on-screen trans rep in a movie that is being currently filmed. UPDATE: However, Variety ran a follow-up article to clarify that he meant “more LGBT+ rep in general,” in spite of the fact that the question was about “specifically the T, trans characters.”
It wouldn’t be the first time that a transgender actor has appeared on the big screen in the MCU. In 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, trans actor Zach Barack played one of Peter Parker’s classmates. However, the character had a small role in the movie and remained in the background for the majority of the scenes in which he appeared.
There has already been trans rep on the small screen in the MCU, as well. On the Marvel Netflix shows, Mj Rodriguez appeared on Luke Cage, while Jessica Jones featured two trans actors: Shakina Nayfack played Frankie in the season two episode “AKA Pray for My Patsy,” and Aneesh Sheth played the recurring role of Gillian throughout the third season of the series.
A trans actor has also made an appearance on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. In the season five episode “Fun & Games,” which was directed by series star Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson), Erika Ervin plays Lady Karaba.
When it comes to the upcoming project alluded to by Feige during the Q&A, here are several pre-existing trans characters that could be included in upcoming MCU projects. One of the most promising candidates is Sera, who is the lover of Angela, Queen of Hel.
Sera first appeared in Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1 (2015) by Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennet, Phil Jimenez, Stephanie Hans, Romulo Fajardo, Jr., and Clayton Cowles, and her connection to Asgard through Angela offers a number of different ways her characters might enter the MCU as it currently stands.
Another high-profile candidate is an associate of Doreen Green, A.K.A. the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Ken Shiga, A.K.A. Koi Boi! First appearing in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2 (2015) by Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi, and Clayton Cowles, the character was confirmed to be trans by Henderson after he was glimpsed wearing a chest binder while changing into his superhero costume in issue #9 of the series.
There is also the possibility of utilizing Loki, Thor’s adopted sibling, as an avenue to trans rep: while the big-screen version of the character has yet to take advantage of the ability to effortlessly alter their gender presentation, other incarnations have embraced Loki as being genderqueer (and pansexual).
Although the prospect of more trans rep in the MCU is exciting, it remains to be seen how large a role the as-of-yet unnamed character will be afforded. While representation is essential, it must come in the form of meaningful roles: queer characters should not be limited to brief on-screen cameos or exclusively consigned to supporting and background roles.
Will the MCU manage to provide audiences with meaningful on-screen trans rep? The world is watching, and only time will tell. What characters do you hope manage to make their way to the big screen? Let us know in the comments!