The MCU is supposedly taking a big step forward for LGBTQ inclusion. According to a new interview with Entertainment Weekly published on Wednesday, Anthony and Joe Russo claim that a character the audience already knows will be revealed as gay in a future film. Obviously, that could apply to any of the characters in the MCU, whether they occupy roles that are large or small.
For example, an unnamed gay character played by Joe Russo appeared in a brief scene in Avengers: Endgame. That scene was subsequently cut from the film in countries like China, with no impact whatsoever on the movie’s plot, though the Russos’ comments about the scene make it sound far more profound.
“It was an integral scene to show how the world was reacting to what happened in at the end of Infinity War,” Joe Russo told EW of his bit part in Endgame. When asked to clarify if this character was “the first out gay character” in a Marvel film, Joe replied, “Yes, openly gay. There’ve been insinuations about other characters’ sexuality, but this is the first openly gay character.”
When pressed for more information, Joe demurred. He hesitated, then said, “We’re gonna find out!”
“That’s a story for another day,” Anthony added.
“There is a gay character coming up in one of their films, and I think Kevin [Feige, Marvel Studios president] will make that announcement, I’m sure pretty soon,” Joe told EW.
This news aligns with a previous announcement from Feige. In 2018, he said at least two openly gay characters would be revealed in future MCU films. “Both ones you’ve seen and ones you haven’t seen,” he explained. Assuming that Joe Russo’s character in Endgame was one of these characters, then who else will get to be canonically gay?
The MCU’s track record with erasing queerness isn’t stellar and accusations of queerbaiting have repeatedly been leveled at the MCU and the Russos, in particular. If Feige and the MCU do establish a major queer character, it will be a huge win. However, it’s hard to hope for anything truly groundbreaking when it comes to this franchise.
Samantha Puc is an essayist and culture critic whose work has been featured on Bitch Media, The Mary Sue, Bustle, and elsewhere. She mostly writes intersectional pop culture analysis with a particular focus on representation of LGBTQ and fat characters in fiction. Samantha is the managing editor at The Beat, as well as the co-creator and editor-in-chief of Fatventure Mag, an outdoors zine for fat creators who are into being active, but not into toxic weight-loss culture. She lives in Montana with her partner and cats.