- Tessa Thompson has confirmed that her character, Valkyrie, will be openly queer in the upcoming “Thor” film: “As new king [of Asgard], she needs to find her queen.”
- “Avengers: Endgame” directors Anthony and Joe Russo previously revealed that an existing character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is gay.
- Disney has been criticized for “straightwashing” Marvel characters in the past, especially since many are queer in the comics.
- Here are seven superheroes on the LGBTQ+ spectrum who already exist in the MCU.
After a whole decade of adopting Marvel’s comics for the big screen, which has spawned 23 interconnected movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still noticeably starved of LGBTQ characters.
Marvel Studios’ filmmakers and executives have historically tiptoed around the issue. Director James Gunn infamously explained the lack of representation in “Guardians of the Galaxy” by saying, “We don’t really know who’s gay and who’s not. It could be any of them.”
But now it looks like Marvel’s filmmakers and executives are trying to correct course.
“Avengers: Endgame” included a brief cameo from co-director Joe Russo, who played the MCU’s first openly gay character. The Russo brothers then revealed that an existing character in the Marvel universe is gay.
During Marvel Studio’s Hall H panel at Comic-Con on Saturday, Tessa Thompson finally confirmed that her character, Valkyrie, will be openly queer in the upcoming film, “Thor: Love and Thunder.”
“As new king [of Asgard], she needs to find her queen,” Thompson said.
According to fans, Valkyrie’s mission to “find her queen” is a long time coming. Disney has been repeatedly criticized for “straightwashing” characters in the past, including and especially when it comes to the Avengers, since many important heroes are queer in the comics.
Here are seven Marvel characters on the LGBTQ spectrum who already exist in the comics.
Valkyrie is bisexual.
Until the announcement of “Thor: Love and Thunder,” despite Thompson’s efforts, Valkyrie’s queerness hasn’t been made clear onscreen. “Thor: Ragnarok” filmmakers cut a scene that included a woman walking out of Valkyrie’s bedroom, which would have made her sexuality more explicit.
“In the canon, yeah, she is bisexual,” Thompson told Variety. “You see her with both women and men, so that was my intention in playing her.”
Thompson also told The Independent that we actually saw Valkyrie’s past female love interest in her “Thor: Ragnarok” flashback scene.
“The woman that dies is her lover,” she said. “In performance, we were, like, ‘That’s your lover.’ So in my mind, it isn’t cut; I played her as a woman that’s queer.”
Loki is bisexual and gender-fluid.
There are plenty of references to Loki’s gender fluidity throughout his comic book storylines. His shapeshifting abilities allow him to adopt both masculine and feminine appearances, and he is depicted as being “both man and woman.”
Back in 2014, Marvel writer Al Ewing confirmed Loki’s sexuality and identity in a brief Tumblr post.
“Loki is bi and I’ll be touching on that,” he wrote. “He’ll shift between genders occasionally as well.”
Korg is gay.
Korg, a Kronan warrior made of rocks, plays a large role in the comics’ “Planet Hulk” storyline.
As in “Thor: Ragnarok,” he meets Bruce Banner’s green alter-ego when they’re both forced into gladiatorial combat on the planet Sakaar.
In “Ragnarok,” Korg does seem to have a close relationship with Miek, a fellow enslaved gladiator. But the film didn’t include Hiroim, another male gladiator on Sakaar. In the comics, they were all freed by the Silver Surfer before Sakaar’s destruction and became Hulk’s close allies, forming a group called the Warbound.
Following their escape from Sakaar, Korg and Hiroim develop a romantic relationship in the comics’ “The Incredible Hulks” series.
Okoye’s comic book counterpart is attracted to women.
In the comics, the Wakandan warrior named Okoye is not the Dora Milaje general or T’Challa’s righthand protector.
In the 2016 comic book series “World of Wakanda,” the captain of the Dora Milaje is named Aneka. It feels safe to say that “Black Panther” writers combined the figures of Okoye and Aneka to create the character we see onscreen.
Though Aneka’s sexuality is not explicitly defined in the comics, in “World of Wakanda,” she has a prominent romantic storyline with a fellow Dora Milaje warrior. But in “Black Panther,” Okoye is married to a man named W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya).
Ayo falls in love with the general of the Dora Milaje.
- Marvel Studios
The Dora Milaje warrior Ayo plays small but important roles in “Captain America: Civil War,” “Black Panther,” and “Infinity War.”
In the comics’ series “World of Wakanda,” Ayo falls in love with Aneka, the general of the Dora Milaje.
“What happens when your nation needs your hearts and minds, but you already gave them to each other?” reads Marvel’s official description of the 2016 comic, described as “a Wakandan love story.”
Okoye can be seen as an onscreen version of Aneka. In fact, as Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson reported in 2017, “Black Panther” filmmakers cut a flirtatious scene between Okoye and Ayo out of the movie’s final version.
In one iteration of Captain Marvel, she’s a lesbian.
Multiple different characters throughout Marvel’s history have been known as Captain Marvel. The MCU focuses on one iteration: Carol Danvers, who is canonically straight.
But in the comics, the Captain Marvel mantle was also adopted by the lesbian character Phyla-Vell, the artificially created “daughter” of Mar-Vell. Phyla’s tragic love story with Heather Douglas, aka Moondragon, is an essential part of her arc.
She’s also very relevant to existing MCU storylines. Phyla helped destroy Ultron, the villain at the center of the second “Avengers” movie, and later became one of the founding members of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
“Captain Marvel” filmmakers already took creative liberties with their characters, turning the Kree man Mar-Vell – the original Captain Marvel – into a woman. So it’s reasonable to assume they could combine aspects of various Captain Marvels and incorporate Phyla’s sexuality into Carol Danvers’ storyline.
BONUS: Deadpool is pansexual.
- Marvel/20th Century Fox
Deadpool is a superhero in the Marvel comics universe, though he hasn’t technically been introduced in the MCU. But he may be thrown into the fold soon enough, now that Disney’s massive deal with Fox is official.
In the comics, the “merc with a mouth” is attracted to both men and women – but doesn’t appear to pay much attention to that binary.
According to Marvel writer Gerry Duggan, Deadpool is “ready and willing to do anything with a pulse.”