Marvel president: An openly LGBT character is coming soon

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has promised that an LGBT character is “in the works.”

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) currently contains precisely zero queer superheroes, and has attracted criticism for not being inclusive.

This may be because whenever the company has the chance to incorporate one of its many, many canonical LGBT characters into a global blockbuster, it baulks at the opportunity.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 23:  Actor Chris Hemsworth (L) and President of Marvel Studios and Producer Kevin Feige attend the Los Angeles Global Premiere for Marvel Studios? Avengers: Infinity War on April 23, 2018 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney)

Chris Hemsworth and Kevin Feige (Charley Gallay/Getty)

But that may be changing.

In an interview with The Playlist, Feige was asked: “When are we getting a Gay, Bi, LGBTQ, out character in the MCU? Is it even in the works?”

Feige, who said in 2015 that there would be an LGBT character in the next decade, was more encouraging this time in his response.

The Avengers assemble (Marvel Studios)

He said, simply: “Yes.”

The Marvel Studios president clarified that when it came to LGBT characters in the MCU, there were “both ones you’ve seen and ones you haven’t seen.”

This probably refers to Thor: Ragnarok‘s Valkyrie, who had a scene of her making her sexuality explicitly clear cut from the film, so the jury’s out on whether that actually counts.

(YouTube/Marvel Entertainment)

Valkyrie on her way to kicking some more ass (Marvel)

As well as erasing scenes, Marvel has also been guilty of changing characters’ sexualities and gender identities from its comic books, simply making them straight and cisgender instead of respecting their original identities and the fans who loved them for their queerness.

For instance, Black Panther‘s lesbian couple were rewritten as straight for the incredibly successful film.

When the film was announced, fans were excited by the prospect of Okoye and Ayo, two of the title character’s bodyguards, getting together as Ayo and fellow female warrior Aneka do in the comics.

And these hopes were encouraged by reports that an early screening of the film featured The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira’s Okoye staring at Ayo flirtatiously as the two danced.

Okoye and Ayo in Black Panther (Marvel)

The enthusiasm provoked by this turned to frustration and claims of LGBT erasure after Marvel quickly denied the conclusions drawn by those who watched the scene.

These disappointing examples may explain why a study published in May showed that Disney’s blockbuster releases were failing LGBT kids.

GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index report showed Walt Disney Studios failing a basic test of LGBT inclusivity for another consecutive year.

Disney, which owns Marvel, is currently attempting to finalise a £47 billion takeover of 21st Century Fox, which would mean a myriad of LGBT stars entering into the MCU.

Avengers: Infinity War characters in bisexual lighting (Marvel)

Pansexual hero Deadpool, his co-star Shatterstar and X-Men characters including Iceman, Mystique, Prodigy and Jubilee would all be Marvel’s property – and hopefully retain their respective sexualities.

But that prospect is still hypothetical, and leaves us only able to speculate about the many, many queer comic books characters who Marvel could bring onto the big screen as the first LGBT Avenger.