A new report in Variety Magazine claims that Marvel Studios Chief, Kevin Feige, who “confirmed” that Marvel is working on a movie with a “transgender” superhero, misspoke, and that there are currently no concrete plans to incorporate the “T” in LGBT into the Marvel Universe — yet.
Social justice activists were overjoyed, last month, when Feige told an audience at the New York Film Academy that Marvel was working on a film with a transgender lead character.
An audience member asked Feige if there were plans in the works for “bringing more LGBT+ characters into the MCU, specifically the T, trans characters.” Feige answered, “Yes — absolutely, yes…and very soon. In a movie that we’re shooting right now.”
Variety reports, however, that Feige misspoke when answering the question. “[T]wo sources close to the studio tell Variety that Feige intended to respond to the first part about LGBT+ characters, and he did not mean to imply that a trans character will be coming to the MCU ‘very soon.’”
Indeed, there was a clue that Feige didn’t understand the question in Feige’s answer. The only movie “shooting right now” is “Marvel’s Eternals,” the next entry into Marvel’s second cycle of superhero films. “Eternals” does, in fact, feature an LGBT character (but not a transgender character) — something that Feige confirmed back last summer at D23, the official Disney fan convention.
“In August, Feige confirmed that film — which stars Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Gemma Chan, Kit Harington, Barry Keoghan, and Brian Tyree Henry — will have the MCU’s first major gay character, though Feige declined to specify who it would be,” Variety noted.
“He’s married, he’s got a family, and that is just part of who he is,” Feige told Good Morning America during an interview at the D23 conference, the entertainment outlet adds.
The Marvel Universe did, recently, feature its first openly transgender actor, Zach Barack, who had a bit part in last summer’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” as a classmate of Peter Parker.
But even though there are no current, concrete plans to put a transgender superhero front and center in the Marvel Universe, it’s likely there are long-term plans for the development on the table. Feige has promised that this next chapter of the Marvel film saga will be more “diverse” and “inclusive,” starting with the sequels to “Black Panther” and “Captain Marvel,” both due out in the next few years.
“Eternals,” which features a much younger, more ethnically diverse cast playing a group of immortal aliens, is due out in late 2020.
Marvel is probably being careful with managing progressives’ expectations on the matter, rolling out developments on the diversity front slowly and deliberately. They will definitely have learned from the experience of another Disney property, Star Wars, which promoted the “same-sex representation” in its latest film, “The Rise of Skywalker,” but left social justice-focused audiences unsatisfied after the “representation” turned out to be a short kiss in the background of a single shot and not the introduction of a high-profile LGBT character.