The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a massive place. Supplying us with a plethora of superheroic, world-saving content, the MCU is full of characters to love and hate. Ranging from the beloved Spider-Man to the detestable Thanos, there is no shortage of characters for each fan to individually relate to. That said, one aspect of the characters that has been pretty absent throughout the MCU is whether those characters identify as a part of the LGBTQ + community. Unfair to the LGBTQ + community, the MCU needs to step up and accept the realities for both the audience and the characters and increase the amount of LGBTQ + representation in their films.
Throughout Marvel Comics, the sexuality of characters is often revealed, and, what’s more, play significant roles in their storylines. The vast catalog of MCU movies and TV shows on Disney +, however, are egregiously lacking in queer characters. Sure, Loki’s confirmation of his bisexuality in the Loki series was a milestone, other than that, there is not much to go by. Marvel Studios execs responsible for planning each cinematic phase of the MCU might use the excuse that a hero’s sexuality and gender identity may have nothing to do with the content of the film. However, the LGBTQ + community deserves the representation that is so clear throughout the comic books. IndieWire recently published an article detailing the MCU’s promises and problems with LGBTQ + representation. It begs the question: where are all the LGBTQ + characters?
LGBTQ + Characters in Marvel Comics
As great as the MCU is, it’s easy to forget where all these concepts come from. Thanks to Stan Lee, all the characters within the MCU have come from original Marvel Comics. With so much content, it would be unrealistic for the entirety of the Marvel superheroes to identify as heterosexual or cisgender. In the comics, many of these characters have been revealed to be a part of the LGBTQ + community like Ayo from Black Panther who is confirmed as a lesbian in the comics, a fact that has yet to be confirmed in the MCU. This is just one example of a character whose sexuality is not revealed on-screen. There are a number of other characters whose sexuality is clear in the source material, but has remained under wraps in the MCU. More than that, there are countless leading comic book characters who identify as LGBTQ +, from the entire Young Avengers roster to X-Men‘s Iceman to Billy Kaplan and Teddy Altman (who, per Screen Rant, recently got married in a milestone issue). Ultimately, there are so many characters to choose from that, as Kevin Feige and team plan out the next ten years of the MCU, it would be in Marvel Studios’ interest to introduce more into the cinematic fold.
LGBTQ + Characters within in the MCU
While the LGBTQ + representation has been rather scarce, it has slowly increased over the past decade. Characters like Loki and Sylvie have all been revealed as bisexual, as they are in the comics. As stated above, the sexuality of the characters is usually shown in the source material of each character, but cinematically speaking, many characters’ sexuality has been neglected to be shown on-screen. While the censors may argue that showing LGBTQ + characters in the MCU is not relevant to the overall content of superheroes saving the world from destruction, the opposite is true. Sexuality and gender identity are big factors that affect everyone’s identity as a whole. While we have seen a number of LGBTQ + characters emerge over the past five years, there is still more to come. Most recently, America Chavez, a lesbian in the comics, made her debut in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnessthough it still remains to be seen how she’ll be portrayed in the MCU.
More LGBTQ + Characters to Come
Fortunately, the MCU has recognized the lack of openly LGBTQ + characters and many of the actors portraying characters whose sexualities are still closed are pushing for the representation to become clear. For example, Valkyrie from the Thor franchise is openly bisexual in the comics, but her cinematic counterpart has yet to reveal anything about the character’s sexuality. Being that Tessa Thompson is queer herself, she has been pushing for Valkyrie’s sexuality to be revealed, with Thompson promising fans that Valkyrie would “find her queen” in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder. Another reveal that LGBTQ + Marvel fans have been looking forward to is Ayo, whose sexuality could be confirmed in Black Panther 2.