Gay Marvel exec ‘longs for’ LGBT superheroes

The Avengers

Gay Marvel exec Victoria Alonso has spoken about the lack of LGBT+ representation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Across the 20 films in the Marvel universe that have debuted since 2008, zero have featured visible LGBT+ characters.

Victoria Alonso, the executive vice president of production at Marvel Studios, addressed the lack of diverse representation in an interview with the BBC.

“The gay community has not been represented whatsoever.”

— Victoria Alonso, Marvel

The Argentina-born Alonso said: “I think we haven’t represented the Latin community, in general. I think that’s something we have to do better. I’m Latin, I can tell you that I’m longing for that.

“The gay community has not been represented whatsoever. I’m gay, so I can tell you that I would long for that.”

Victoria Alonso of Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios exec Victoria Alonso speaks to the BBC.

Alonso added that Asian, BME and female characters are also under-represented, continuing: “We are determined to have everyone represented in our films in some way, at some point in time.

“Now, we only make two or three movies a year, so it’s difficult to have every single one — but it is definitely one of the things that we have in our minds all the time.”

She added: “I think that every ‘team’ film [like The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy] that we do has to have a very diverse cast, and that’s something that we are definitely working on trying to achieve.

“You don’t get to have this kind of success if the entire world doesn’t see your product.”

Several Marvel films including Thor: Ragnarok did have characters who were intended to be LGBT, such as Tessa Thompson superhero Valkyrie, but all references to their sexuality have ended up on the cutting room floor.

Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnorok

Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok (Marvel)

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 mentions of homosexuality.

Marvel Studios bosses have admitted the lack of representation previously

Stephen Broussard, a producer on Ant-Man and the Wasp who has worked on MCU films since 2011, previously addressed the frustration about the lack of LGBT characters.

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.”

Challenged in June, Marvel boss Kevin Feige said there were LGBT+ superheroes in the works, adding that they would be “both ones you’ve seen [already] and ones you haven’t seen.”

Okoye and Ayo in Black Panther

Okoye and Ayo in Black Panther (Marvel)

Marvel execs have been making similar assurances on the issue since at least 2015, with no visible progress or change.

Fox’s Deadpool 2 did feature LGBT+ content

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.”