Avengers: Endgame is first Marvel film to feature a gay character

A poster for Avengers: Endgame

Blockbuster superhero film Avengers: Endgame features a minor gay character, it has been revealed.

The film, which premiered on April 24, is the 22nd release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the first to include an explicitly LGBT+ character.

The character appears near the start of the film, and is played by the film’s co-director Joe Russo in a subtle cameo.

Avengers: Endgame  features Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first gay character

Without spoiling too much, the scene includes civilians who survived the events of Avengers: Infinity War struggling with the fallout of losing half the world’s population.

Russo’s character talks about going on a date with another man for the first time since the Infinity Snap, and both of them crying over the loss.

Director Joe Russo attends the Los Angeles World Premiere of Marvel Studios' "Avengers: Endgame" at the Los Angeles Convention Center on April 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

Director Joe Russo attends the Los Angeles World Premiere of Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame” at the Los Angeles Convention Center on April 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty)

Joe Russo explained to Deadline why he and co-director Anthony Russo included the character.

He said: “Representation is really important.

“It was important to us as we did four of these films, we wanted a gay character somewhere in them.

“We felt it was important that one of us play him, to ensure the integrity and show it is so important to the filmmakers that one of us is representing that.

“It is a perfect time, because one of the things that is compelling about the Marvel Universe moving forward is its focus on diversity.”

A poster for Avengers: Endgame

A poster for Avengers: Endgame

Marvel executives have previously promised that LGBT+ heroes would be coming to the universe.

Victoria Alonso, executive vice president of production at Marvel Studios, said: “Our entire success is based on people that are incredibly different. Why wouldn’t we? Why would we only want to be recognised by one type of person?

“Our audience is global, it’s diverse, it’s inclusive. If we don’t do it that way for them, we will fail.”

According to reports, upcoming film The Eternals is set to feature a gay superhero.

Gay character may prove a test in international markets

The Disney-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe is the world’s highest-grossing film franchise, and the moment will serve as a crucial test in markets where depictions of homosexuality are typically censored.

It’s yet to be confirmed whether the moment appears in international edits of the film.

Tessa Thompson previously revealed that she filmed scenes for 2017 Marvel film Thor: Ragnarok confirming her character’s bisexuality, but the scene was left on the cutting room floor.

Disney previously experimented with LGBT+ inclusion in blockbusters by including a minor gay character in Beauty and the Beast.

On that occasion, the film was banned in several markets including Malaysia until assurances were given that there was no explicitly LGBT+ content.

Disney Channel TV show Andi Mack also had its global distribution pulled it includes LGBT+ characters.