The MCU has quite the representation problem on its hands when it comes to minorities. To be fair, the MCU also struggles to realistically portray even “traditional” romantic relationships, heterosexuality, and gender normative roles as the films continue to remain rooted in a 1950s aesthetic. Even the movie franchise’s greatest romances to date–Steve and Peggy/Bucky/Sharon Carter, Tony and Pepper, Wanda and Vision, Natasha and Bruce, and the entire Barton Family–have, at best, a chaste kiss on-screen while all bedroom activity is off-screen, left up to our vivid imaginations and fan-fic workshops. The MCU struggles even more mightily with inclusion of LGBT characters; don’t expect that to change anytime soon, despite recent reports to the contrary.
During a talk with the New York Film Academy’s Director of Industry Lecture Series, Tova Laiter, MCU boss Kevin Feige seemed to confirm the inclusion of a transgender character “very soon.” But the truth is all muddied up in semantics. Feige was asked about “bringing more LGBT+ characters into the MCU, specifically the T, trans characters,” to which he responded:
“Yes — absolutely, yes. And very soon. In a movie that we’re shooting right now.”
But as Variety reports, his response regarded the first part of the question and not specifically the transgender portion. Media outlets ran with it anyway, claiming that The Eternals, currently the only MCU movie filming, would feature a transgender character. Don’t count on it. However, as Feige said during last year’s D23 expo, it will feature an openly gay character, so that’s something:
“He’s married, he’s got a family, and that is just part of who he is.”
GLAAD has weighed in on Disney/Marvel’s inability, or refusal, to embrace inclusion, saying:
With the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films, Disney has plenty of opportunities to introduce LGBTQ characters from the source comic books into its film franchise. The Eternals, upcoming from Marvel, has been reported to be looking for an out gay actor to play a gay superhero … having an out superhero in a Marvel film would be a huge step forward for representation and is long overdue for the MCU.
They namedrop Joe Russo‘s unnamed “throwaway” gay character in Avengers: Endgame as a “small step” forward, but also call out opportunities in Black Panther and Captain Marvel sequels for inclusion of gay characters. One imagines that transgender inclusion and representation is much further down the road for the MCU.
If the MCU did actually want to include a transgender character–something their DC competitors have already done on the small screen with Supergirl‘s Dreamer, a.k.a. Nia Nal, as played by transgender actor Nicole Maines–they’ve got a ready-made character sitting right there: Loki, perhaps the most genderfluid character in all of Marvel Comics’ lore. Loki is a well-known and beloved character by both Marvel Comics faithful and more casual MCU fans, making for a perfect introduction of a genderfluid super-powered icon should they choose to do so.
In the meantime, Feige is proud of Marvel’s progressive strides toward inclusion and representation:
“We have three other shows we’ve announced, we haven’t announced the players yet, but spoiler alert — two out of three of them are women. It makes for better stories. I say, when you are sitting at a table and everyone looks like you, you’re in trouble. You aren’t going to get the best story out of that.”