Marvel Studios has its first official LGBTQIA + superhero – or, depending on your perspective, villain.
In the latest episode of the Disney Plus series “Loki”, Tom Hiddleston’s titular god of mischief confirms what has long been established in the pages of the Marvel comics, that he is bisexual (or, just as likely, pansexual).
This occurs during a conversation Loki has with a “variant” of Loki named Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino), which came to light at the end of last week’s episode just as she was throwing her big project to wreak havoc on the Time Variance Authority. As they sit on a train waiting to arrive at a critical destination, the discussion turns to love. Sylvie says she has been in “a serious, long-distance relationship with a mail carrier” as she travels through time and apocalypses to avoid being detected by TVA. Then she asks Loki if he has a lover.
“You are a prince,” she said. “They had to be princesses in the making.” Then, with a heard nod, “Or maybe, another prince.”
After a while, Loki said, “A bit of both – I suspect the same as you.
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It’s a quiet moment that quickly passes, as Loki and Sylvie’s plan to escape the doomed planet of Lamentis 1 collides with a series of escalating roadblocks. But seeing as this happens during Pride Month – and on a planet bathed in the pink, purple, and deep blue colors of the bisexual flag – it certainly looks like Marvel Studios is acknowledging that Loki’s occasional reveal of his sexuality would have meaning. important to many LGBTQIA + fans.
And yet, in 2021, it seems a little odd to celebrate this fleeting recognition as a milestone in queer representation when there are so many other examples of superhero TV shows embracing it. The CW’s “Batwoman” centers around two lesbian superheroes – Kate Kane (played by Ruby Rose in Season 1 and Wallis Day in Season 2) and Ryan Wilder (Javicia Leslie). Likewise, on CW’s “Supergirl”, titular hero Alex’s sister (Chyler Leigh) is gay and has had several girlfriends; In Season 4, the show debuted with TV’s first trans superhero, Dreamer (played by trans actor Nicole Maines).
Matt Bomer stars as gay superhero Larry Trainor in HBO Max’s “Doom Patrol”. Jefferson Pierce’s daughter, Anissa (Nafessa Williams) in “Black Lightning” is a lesbian; Oliver Queen’s son William (Ben Lewis) in “Arrow” is gay. Amazon’s “The Boys” explores how Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) had to end his relationship with his girlfriend for fear of being exposed; on “Invincible,” by contrast, the titular hero’s gay best friend, William (Andrew Rannells), is very proud and proud.
Queer portrayal isn’t limited to TV heroes, either: on Fox’s “Gotham,” the Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor) was in love with the Riddler (Cory Michael Smith) and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Fish Mooney was sexually fluid. And on Netflix’s “Jessica Jones” – technically a Marvel TV series, although not produced by Marvel Studios – morally flexible lawyer Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Anne Moss) had several girlfriends. In the show’s final season, Jessica (Krysten Ritter) also had a trans assistant, Gillian (played by trans actor Aneesh Sheth).
It’s far from a full accounting of the overtly LGBTQIA characters in superhero storytelling, but when we turn the lens to Marvel Studios, the picture gets profoundly smaller. There is the grieving homosexual in “Avengers: Endgame” played by director Joe Russo. Tessa thompson said that his character in “Thor: Ragnarok” was bisexual, but any mention of that was cut from the movie. And that’s about it.
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So, making Loki – one of the most popular characters to ever honor the MCU – explicitly bisexual marks an important step forward for LGBTQIA representation … for the MCU. It remains to be seen whether Loki will ever have a reason to express same-sex love or sexual attraction, but at least two weird characters are on the MCU’s immediate horizon: the feature film “Eternals,” which set for release in November, will include the MCU’s first gay superhero in Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), who will have a husband (played by our actor Haaz Sleiman).
The MCU is growing aggressively, with 10 titles slated to debut in 2021, and at least 19 in the works for 2022 and beyond, and several LGBTQIA characters in the comics have started appearing in the MCU, or the will be soon. Their ultimate sexual identities in the MCU, however, remain unconfirmed.
In “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” opening March 2022, Xochitl Gomez (“The Baby-Sitters Club”) will play America Chavez, who in the comics is a lesbian and becomes the superhero Miss America. The introduction of Wanda Maximoff’s twin sons, Billy and Tommy on Disney Plus’s “WandaVision” suggests that they will eventually evolve into their respective comic book characters of Wiccan (who is gay) and Speed (who is bi). .
And “Deadpool 3” is currently in development at Marvel Studios, which could bring lesbian superhero Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) to the MCU, not to mention Deadpool himself is pansexual. Meanwhile, Kevin Feige and “Guardians of the Galaxy” director James Gunn have suggested that there are already LGBTQIA characters in the MCU, we just don’t know that yet – which is pretty much the opposite of what the performance is supposed to accomplish.
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There have been a slew of straight couples in the MCU who have found time to canoodle or at least get romantic while saving the world, including Tony Stark and Pepper Potts, Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter, Thor and Jane Foster. , T’Challa and Nakia, Hope van Dyne and Scott Lang, Gamora and Peter Quill, Clint Barton and Laura Barton, Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter, Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner, Wanda Maximoff and Vision, Bruce Banner and Betty Ross, Peter Parker and MJ, and Peter Parker and Liz Toomes.
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It certainly looks like at this point there should be plenty of room for anyone who is gay in the MCU to do the same.
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