LGBT content may be actually, finally coming to a Marvel superhero film
Beauty and the Beast had glances, implications and a short, same-sex dance.
Power Rangers had a quick, throwaway comment about a female superhero’s “girlfriend problems.”
Marvel’s new film promises much more.
Black Panther, to be released in February 2018, is about T’Challa, the superhero king and protector of African nation Wakanda who featured in Captain America: Civil War.
Filming – which has taken place in Atlanta and South Korea – finishes tomorrow, but journalists have seen an early screening, and reports indicate some significant LGBT content.
In a scene laden with implications, Black Panther’s team of female bodyguards dances with each other, including Walking Dead star Danai Gurira.
Gurira, who plays Okoye in the film, stares at fellow warrior Ayo, watching her flirtatiously for a long time as the camera pans in.
Eventually she tells her, appraisingly but appreciatively: “You look good.”
Ayo returns the compliment. Okoye smiles widely and replies: “I know.”
This hints at a move in the direction of a comic released last year which reveals a lesbian relationship within the cohort of bodyguards.
The spin-off, World of Wakanda, was created by famous authors Ta-Nehisi Coates, Roxane Gay and Yona Harvey.
The latter two were the first two black women to be lead writers for Marvel.
World of Wakanda centres on the lesbian relationship between two members of the bodyguards, describing itself as “a love story,” with “tenderness matched only by its brutality.”
However, that relationship is between Ayo and Aneka, with the description asking: “What happens when your nation needs your hearts and minds, but you already gave them to each other?”
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Together, the pair are known as the Midnight Angels, but the preview clip of Black Panther begs the question: will Okoye come between them?
Either way, these moments are already more interesting than Beauty and the Beast’s Le Fou’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it same-sex dance.
The live-action remake was the first major Disney film to feature an unambiguously gay character, and smashed box office records despite an attempted evangelical boycott.
But in terms of an actual LGBT storyline, it disappointed fans.