Some months-old comments that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige made about a trans character in an upcoming movie has sparked interest, yet again, in the potential queering of the superhero film genre.
But, whatever, sis.
At the New York Film Academy's Guest Speaker Series on October 23, a student asked Feige if there were plans to introduce "any LGBT+ characters," particularly trans characters, into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"Yes, absolutely yes," Feige said. "Very soon. In a movie we're shooting right now."
Though he technically said this months ago, the NYFA only posted a video of Feige's appearance on December 28, and from there the internet got all hot and bothered. But the news left me cold and rather unbothered. For a number of reasons.
1. We've heard this all before. Ahead of the launch of every major fanboy franchise, there's talk of an LGBTQ character. We had it, most recently, with The Rise of Skywalker, when producer/co-writer/director J.J. Abrams hinted at some queer representation. Turns out it was a lesbian kiss so insignificant that notoriously censorious China didn't even bother to cut it. Meanwhile, Oscar Isaac is still heartbroken over the straight-washing of Finn and Poe. Also, same.
2. A "character" is not necessarily a superhero. Avengers: Endgame introduced the MCU's first openly gay character, a regular dude, played by co-director Joe Russo, who lost his partner after the Snapture in Avengers: Infinity War. It felt more like an after-thought rather than a conscious decision to be more inclusive—just like the same-sex couple in Skywalker, that character served no other purpose than to represent an idea.
3. TV already beat you to it. I can't stop raving about HBO's Watchmen, and not just because we got some great full-frontal D action. Which we did. We really, really did. But it also gave us a black, queer, complex superhero in Hooded Justice. Watchmen told the kind of superhero story that Marvel and DC films could and would never even dream of making because it was challenging, told unpleasant truths, and was rooted in the world we live in. This wasn't popcorn fare that has to play in China. TV has been running circles around movies for years when it comes to superhero diversity, and the longer it takes for the movies to catch up, the more embarrassing it all seems.
4. I guess this is already old news. MCU's Phase 4 is being hyped as its most diverse and inclusive, featuring its first deaf, Asian-American, and openly gay superheroes. Tessa Thompson returns as Valkyrie, queering it up as the newly crowned king of Asgard in search of a queen, in Thor: Love and Thunder. Over in the DC Universe, Ewan McGregor is rumored to play a gay-ish supervillain in Birds of Prey. And there's also talk about a queer super in The Eternals, but talk, unlike these movies, is cheap. However, the film that Feige said was "shooting right now" may have been a reference to The Eternals.
5. Just fucking do it. The great thing about Watchmen's gay Hooded Justice storyline is that it was unexpected. It was presented without any self-congratulatory fanfare. Just give us a gay, bi, or trans hero (or villain) without it being a thing. I don't care how brave, or whatever, you think you're being by being "inclusive" and championing "diversity," I'm just tired of seeing straight white dudes saving the day all the time. Put some gay heinies in those tights, already.
So, to Marvel, DC, etc., et al., so on and so forth, stop promising these queer superheroes and just: