Considering the Marvel Cinematic Universe is now made up of 19 movies, you’d think that at least ONE of them would have featured a queer character by now.
Alas, Disney and Marvel Studios has made sure that every hero – and villain for that matter – is either straight or devoid of a love life altogether.
The juggernaut production companies even do it with characters that are canonically LGBT within the comics. Here’s a lowdown on the figures that have been straight-washed on the big screen…
In the comic books, Asgardian warrior Valkyrie has a romantic relationship with anthropologist Annabelle Riggs and is bisexual.
So when it was announced that she would be appearing in Marvel outing Thor: Ragnarok, LGBT fans were curious – and hopeful – as to whether her sexuality would be addressed in the film.
According to a Rolling Stone profile (via Screen Crush), actor Tessa Thompson was keen to showcase that side of her character.
She pitched the idea of making it explicit to the film’s director, Taika Waititi, after she researched Valkyrie and saw a “great illustration of them in a kiss.”
They shot a scene that glimpsed a woman walking out of Valkyrie’s bedroom. Sadly though, the scene didn’t make the film’s final edit leaving casual fans who don’t delve into Valkyrie’s history online or in the comics with no idea about her sexuality.
Hopefully we’ll see more of Valkyrie in future Marvel movies and her queerness will become more apparent that it is now. In the meantime, we can be safe in the knowledge that Thompson played her as bisexual, even if the film didn’t show it.
“There were things that we talked about that we allowed to exist in the characterization, but maybe not be explicit in the film,” the Creed actor told Rolling Stone. “There’s a great shot of me falling back from one of my sisters who’s just been slain,” says Thompson. “In my mind, that was my lover.”
On paper, he might be the God of Mischief but when it comes to the fans, some might also describe Loki as the God of Mystery in regards to his sexuality.
In the comics, Loki has been predominantly linked to women when it comes to romance since his introduction in 1962 but more recently, writers have attempted to make the trickster freer when it comes to love – and gender, for that matter.
Back in 2014, comic writer, Al Ewing wrote on his blog that he’d be “touching on” Loki’s bisexuality in Loki: Agent of Asgard. It never really came to fruition though and it was widely speculated that it was Marvel that nipped the ideas in the bud.
Similarly, in 2017, writer Mackenzi Lee announced on Twitter that she was looking to write Loki as “canonically pansexual and gender fluid” in Marvel’s upcoming three-book historical fiction series.
Interestingly, actor Tom Hiddleston has also stated that he sees the character as bisexual. It’s just a shame that the films haven’t capitalised on the queer, cult following that Loki has and done something groundbreaking within the MCU.
Okoye and Ayo
Much like Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther almost became the first Marvel movie to feature an LGBT character(s). Almost.
Rumours that Marvel would finally deliver a canonically queer MCU moment in Black Panther began way back in April 2017 when Vanity Fair writer Joanna Robinson had revealed she had seen an early cut of the comic book movie.
She penned that in the footage she’d watched Ayo (Florence Kasumba) flirts with Okoye (Danai Gurira), a fellow member of King T’Challa’s Wakandan bodyguard squadron, known as the Dora Milaje. But rather unsurprisingly, the moment ended up left on the editing room floor.
“If the makers would have wanted everyone to see the scene, it would have been in the movie,” Kasumba told Vulture in February. “What their reason is, I can’t tell you, because nobody told me about whether [that scene is] in or not.”
Voiced by Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi in the movie, Korg is a Kronan warrior who is forced to participate in the Grandmaster’s Contest of Champions. His role in the film is rather small, with him mainly acting as a comedic effect along with his sidekick Miek.
In Incredible Hulks #619, which was published in February 2011, it was revealed that Korg was gay. It is believed that he dated fellow gladiator on Sakaar Hiroim.
When asked about Korg’s orientation during the film’s promotion, he said he didn’t think of his character as gay when he played him, but “he could be.”
While they are not a part of the MCU – and are in fact, owned by 20th Century Fox – there are further Marvel Comics characters that are members of the LGBT community in the comics yet their big-screen counterparts have not yet reflected that.
Deadpool has long been referred to as pansexual in the Marvel comics. Back in 2016 – when the Ryan Reynolds-fronted film was about to be released – one of the comic’s creators Fabian Nicieza took to Twitter to state: “I’ve been dogged with the DP sexuality questions for YEARS.
“It is a bit tiring. He is NO sex and ALL sexes. He is yours and everyone else’s. [He is] the epitome of inclusive. He can be gay one minute, hetero the next, etc. ALL ARE VALID.”
So far, we’ve only seen him date a woman; Morena Baccarin’s Vanessa. But you never know, the movies might still explore Wade Wilson’s sexuality in future sequels.
Olivia Munn was tasked with bringing the first – and only – portrayal of mutant Psylocke on the big screen in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse but she’s a character that has been around in the comics long before that.
Since her debut in 1976, the telekinetic telepath has been romanced by Archangel, Thunderbird, Fantomex and Cluster, a female clone of one of the three brains of Fantomex.
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The film, obviously, made no reference to this.
Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) hasn’t been seen on the big screen since 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past so we can’t technically accuse 20th Century Fox of straight-washing him for the big screen as his comic book counterpart didn’t come out as gay until 2015.
Nonetheless, he is and considering he dated Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) and Rogue (Anna Paquin) in the films, he has to feature on this list. The unexpected revelation that he was gay didn’t sit too well with fans due to the fact that his character has never once hinted that he was queer since his introduction over 50 years ago.
“It gets awkward when you apply gayness on a character that has presented themselves as straight since 1963,” wrote Josh Siegel on queer geek community site Geeks Out.
“[Writer Brian Michael] Bendis seems to be dodging that a little by implying OLDER Iceman, the one we have read about for decades, is in fact straight. Or somehow ‘straighter’ than his younger self, having repressed his desires for so long. Does gayness really work that way?”
Mystique has appeared in seven of the X-Men movies and yet, her bisexuality has never been brought up once. Played first by Rebecca Romijn and more recently Jennifer Lawrence, the character has had romantic relationships with Magneto and Beast in the movies – both male characters.
In the comics however, the shapeshifter has also been linked to German nobleman Christian Wagner, Sabretooth and Destiny, a female telepath.