Marvel producer addresses ‘frustration’ over lack of LGBT characters

The Avengers

A Marvel film boss has addressed the “frustration” about the failure to include visible LGBT characters in the film universe.

Despite featuring hundreds of characters across its 20 blockbuster films to date, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has never featured a visible LGBT character, despite many in the source comic books on which the films are based.

Several of the films, including Thor: Ragnarok, did have characters who were intended to be LGBT – but all references to their sexuality have unfailingly ended up on the cutting room floor.

It has been alleged that Disney bosses are concerned that LGBT content may harm the MCU’s global box office takings, as the blockbuster films rely on a wide release in markets where censors ban mention of homosexuality.

The straight Avengers in action (Marvel Studios)

Stephen Broussard, a producer on Ant-Man and the Wasp who has worked on MCU films since 2011, addressed the frustration.

Asked about LGBT characters by Den of Geek, he said: “For sure, you will see that.

“I know it can be frustrating if you’re part of a group that wants to see more representation and the answer is always ‘stay tuned’ – I can imagine that that’s frustrating – but that is happening behind the scenes, you’re going to be seeing that more and more. Representation across individual groups in the years ahead.”

Okoye and Ayo in Black Panther (Marvel)

Having waited ten years and 20 films for a single drop of representation, LGBT fans may wonder how long exactly they still have to wait.

Marvel boss Kevin Feige addressed the issue earlier this year.

Asked if an LGBTQ superhero was in the works, he said “Yes”, clarifying that they would be “both ones you’ve seen [already] and ones you haven’t seen.”

Feige has been making similar assurances on the issue since at least 2015, with no visible progress or change.

20th Century Fox release Deadpool 2, which is separate from the MCU, became the first superhero film to feature a gay superhero this year, revealing that returning character Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) is dating fellow mutant Yukio (Shiori Kutsuna).

Fans speculated that the R-rated Deadpool franchise, which is already banned in overseas conservative markets due to its violent and sexual content, had less reason to worry about abiding by international censorship standards on gay content.

The film’s star Ryan Reynolds previously confirmed as much, saying of his own character’s sexuality: “That’s not really a problem for us, because we were banned in China. We were rated ‘f**k you!’ in China.

“I think [Deadpool’s sexual interest in men] could be played up more. He’s an outsider in every way, shape, and form.”