Endgame spoilers! Although the spoiler embargo has been lifted now, so do I even need to say this?
I’ve seen it twice already and I’m contemplating watching it for a third time this weekend, just so I can catch another glimpse of Cap wielding Thor’s hammer, which might just be the most epic scene in MCU history.
However, despite all the action and Thanos bashing, one of the talking points around the film’s release has been that it’s the first MCU movie to include an openly gay character.
Close to the beginning of the film, we see a group therapy session lead by Steve Rogers – as seen in one of the trailers – where we’re introduced to who looks to be the first openly gay character in the MCU; a man – played by director Joe Russo – talking about going on a date with another man in the aftermath of Thanos’ snap.
Seems like a great, progressive thing to do, but many people complained that it was contrived and shoehorned in without any real addition to the plot.
“It was important to us as we did four of these films, we wanted a gay character somewhere in them,” the director said in an interview with Deadline. “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.”
Since then, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly , Joe Russo was asked to clarify whether this was the first gay character in the franchise, and he emphasised that it was the first “openly gay” character.
“There’ve been insinuations about other characters’ sexuality, but this is the first openly gay character,” he said.
And when they were asked if this was a sign of things to come, Joe said:
“We’re gonna find out! There is a gay character coming up in one of their films and I think Kevin (Feige) will make that announcement, I’m sure pretty soon.”
He went on: “That’s the thing I think we’re the most proud of with the Marvel Universe, moving forward, is how inclusive it is.”
“You know, Anth and I feel representation is very important to us. We wanted to include a gay character before we were done with these films. We also wanted to do it in a way that felt normalised, didn’t feel like we’re making a big deal out of it. We wanted to make sure that it felt organic.”
With that in mind, and hearing what people have been saying about the lack of representation, Brie Larson – who plays Carol Denvers/Captain Marvel – has spoken about how distraught she is, regarding people’s disdain. Referring to Marc Malkin’s comments when he said he’d never seen an LGBT superhero, growing up, Larson said:
“That breaks my heart to hear that, because there’s no reason. I don’t understand how you could think that a certain type of person isn’t allowed to be a superhero. So to me it’s like, we gotta move faster. But I’m always wanting to move faster with this stuff…. It wasn’t enough for me to just look strong on a poster; it needed to extend further than that. I feel like I can’t at the end of the day go to sleep at night if I didn’t do everything that I possibly could.“
Previously, Larson spoke about being happy to broaden the superhero genre with her female-lead Captain Marvel:
“I’m happy to be on the forefront of the normalization of this type of content and to prove once again that representation matters. Diverse storytelling matters, the female experience matters, and these are markers… I don’t think we think about that all the time as kids. I think we accept what we have, but to see this new generation of boys and girls, or kids who don’t identify as either, being able to see this on screen and to not know anything different is really exciting.“
It surprises me that this is such a contentious issue among fans because wider representation in film can only be a good thing.
There’s no pleasing some people, which is unfortunate for them, because moving forward into phase 4 of the MCU we’re only going to get more diversity and inclusion.
Great move, guys.
Images via Marvel/ABC News