Though the Marvel character Valkyrie, as played by Tessa Thompson in “Thor: Ragnarok,” has always allegedly been queer, director Taika Waititi wants her to be “exclusively queer” in the next Thor installment.
Speaking with Variety, Waititi, who recently won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for his work on “Jojo Rabbit,” said he would have Valkyrie be openly queer if he were the one making the final decision, so long as the actors agreed.
“I think so,” Waititi said. “The IP is not mine. But with the actors, I feel whatever makes them comfortable — whether they feel like there’s a natural choice, or a natural way for that character to go — then I’m pretty supportive. If Tessa wanted to do that, I’m in.”
Actress Tessa Thompson has already expressed on several occasions her desire to see her character’s sexuality further explored in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, “Thor: Ragnarok” even had a deleted scene in which a female lover leaves Valkyrie’s bedroom, hinting at her bisexuality. Taika Waititi wanted to keep the scene initially but was forced to cut it.
“He kept it in the film as long as he could; eventually the bit had to be cut because it distracted from the scene’s vital exposition,” Thompson explained to Rolling Stone.
She’s bi. And yes, she cares very little about what men think of her. What a joy to play! https://t.co/d0LZKTHCfL
— Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) October 21, 2017
At the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, Thompson also said that Valkyrie should find a “queen” to join her as the new ruler of Asgard. “As new king [of Asgard], she needs to find her queen. That will be the first order of business,” she said.
“The answer is yes,” he said, “How that impacts the story remains to be seen with that level of representation you’ll see across our films, not in just ‘Thor 4.’”
Marvel’s “The Eternals” will introduce the universe’s first openly gay superhero, Phastos, who will be married to a man, and will be portrayed by actor Brian Tyree Henry. Prior to that, “Avengers: Endgame” featured the character Grieving Man (played by co-director Joe Russo) telling Steve Rogers in the opening scenes about a man he was dating. However, LGBTQ activists dismissed the character as little more than a cheap attempt at diversity by Marvel.
“As disappointing as [previous] missed opportunities for queer representation were, none of them stung anywhere nearly as much as the Grieving Man’s introduction inadvertently does, because his presence comes across like an inconsequential afterthought, and it doesn’t help matters that the Russos and Marvel appear to be quite pleased with the creative decision,” wrote Charles Pullman at Gizmodo.
As 2020 approached, reports circulated that Kevin Feige confirmed the upcoming arrival of the MCU’s first transgender superhero; those rumors were eventually shut down. That being said, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” did feature openly trans actor Zach Barack in a supporting role. “Spider-Man” actor Tom Holland also recently told Britain’s Sunday Times that he would be open to his character being LGBT in the future.
“The world isn’t as simple as a straight white guy,” he said. “It doesn’t end there, and these films need to represent more than one type of person.”