After vague promises that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will feature openly LGBT characters, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed this week that the studio's upcoming film series "The Eternals" will include the MCU's first openly gay superhero.
Speaking to "Good Morning America" in a segment that aired Monday, Feige commented on what GMA describes as "the most diverse Marvel's cast yet, including an openly gay character."
"He's married, he's got a family, and that is just part of who he is," Feige told the show, opting not to reveal yet which of the characters he was describing. (Video below; relevant segment begins at around the 1:30 mark.)
As revealed at Disney's "D23 Expo" last weekend, "Game of Thrones" actor Kit Harington has been added to an already star-studded cast for new series. ET Online reports that among the big-name star appearing in the "ambitious" project alongside Harington are Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, and Brian Tyree Henry. The film is slated to open in theaters on November 6, 2020.
As noted by the entertainment outlet, the openly gay male character in "The Eternals" is not Marvel's only upcoming nod to the LGBT community in its cinematic universe. Tessa Thompson, who plays Valkyrie in the "Thor" and "Avengers" series, has confirmed that her character is a lesbian and will be looking for a "queen" to help her rule Asgard.
"As new king [of Asgard], she needs to find her queen. That will be the first order of business," Thompson told fans at Comic-Con last month. "She has some ideas. I'll keep you posted."
While "The Eternals" will feature Marvel's first openly gay male superhero, he won't be the first openly gay character in the MCU. "Avengers: Endgame," which dominated the box office this year, includes a character — named simply "Grieving Man" in the credits — participating in a support group hosted by Captain America/Steve Rogers. Grieving Man, played by co-director Joe Russo, tells the group that he's dating another man, but it's difficult to manage in the grim, "post-Snap" world. The moment was met with backlash from some critics, including Gizmodo's Charles Pulliam-Moore, who were upset about the "inconsequential" manner in which the MCU's first gay character was presented.
As The Daily Wire highlighted last month, Marvel has also already included its first transgender actor: Zach Barack, a female who identifies as a male, who plays one of Peter Parker's classmates in "Spider-Man: Far From Home."
"I'm not by any means an expert on comics, but I read them growing up, you know, and they were important. And there’s something very inherently trans about those stories, especially ones where identity and hidden identity is part of them," Barack told Variety. "For example, Peter Parker’s journey [in Spider-Man: Homecoming] is a lot about balancing being a teenager and having this other part of your life. And that is just so trans, it’s something that I absolutely think I’ve felt on a daily basis sometimes – especially being a transmasculine person because sometimes there’s a pressure to be a different way than I feel naturally inclined to do because I want to fit in, and I have to actively fight that instinct. But the fact of the matter is, being in this movie is so beyond incredibly meaningful and I hope that it means something to other people."