'Avengers: Endgame' directors revealed that one of Marvel's existing characters is gay, but fans are mocking the lacklustre announcement

MarvelIn the comics, Tessa Thompson’s character, Valkyrie, is bisexual.

The “Avengers: Endgame” directors Anthony and Joe Russo recently revealed that an existing character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is gay – but fans in LGBTQ communities, many of whom have been begging for representation in the MCU for years, weren’t impressed with the announcement.

During an interview on SiriusXM radio this week, the Russo brothers were asked whether Joe’s cameo in “Endgame” marked the first acknowledgment of queerness in a Marvel film.

“There’s been insinuations about other characters’ sexuality, but this is the first openly gay” character, Joe said.

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“There is a gay character coming up in one of their films, and I think Kevin will make that announcement I’m sure pretty soon,” Joe continued, referring to Kevin Feige, the Marvel Studios president.

Loki thor ragnarokDisney/MarvelTom Hiddleston’s character, Loki, is bisexual and gender-fluid in the comics.

In 2018, Feige teased two openly gay characters in the MCU – “both ones you’ve seen and ones you haven’t seen.”

The vague comment quickly made headlines, but the Russo brothers’ pseudo-announcement this week has been roundly mocked by queer fans and LGBTQ allies online.

Disney has been accused of ‘straightwashing’ in the past

As Jess Joho wrote for Mashable, it has always made sense for the MCU to include non-straight characters.

“Superheroes often make great metaphors for something else. Marvel in particular has created heroes that read like overt metaphors for gender and sexuality,” Francesca Coppa, an English professor at Muhlenberg College who studies fandom, told Mashable. “There’s all different ways these characters open up to queer identification.”

Captain america civil war buckyMarvelMany fans see the relationship between Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) as heavily ‘coded.’

Additionally, many fans believe that multiple characters have been “coded” over the years, meaning they have relationships and moments that feel queer but are not made explicit onscreen.

Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier), Steve Rogers (Captain America), Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel), Okoye, Loki, and Valkyrie are the most prominent examples.

Disney has been criticised for “straightwashing” Marvel characters in the past, especially since many are queer in the comics, including Okoye, Loki, and Valkyrie.

In fact, scenes have been cut from movies like “Black Panther” and “Thor: Ragnarok” that would have made their non-straight sexualities explicit.

Many fans believe Marvel is prioritising making money over meaningful representation onscreen

Given all this, after 22 blockbuster films and no LGBTQ representation, fans are disappointed that Marvel would retroactively announce that an existing character is gay – especially without giving that identity attention onscreen.

Many believe Disney straightwashes movies because it doesn’t want to alienate certain audiences, particularly in homophobic cultures and countries.




“Representation is a big thing! It’s an emotional thing,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “Utilising it as a marketing tactic (and THEN not even committing to the thing) is exploitative.”

Many fans mocked the underwhelming announcement, joking that Marvel executives see themselves as generous and radical by including one gay character in the massive cast of Marvel superheroes.

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Some compared the Russo brothers’ comment to J.K. Rowling’s infamous knack for adding inclusive details to characters’ storylines only after the “Harry Potter” books were finished.

Ultimately, fans who crave LGBTQ representation in the Marvel Universe say they won’t be satisfied until they see it onscreen.

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