Twilight star Kristen Stewart recently revealed how she was told to keep her sexuality under wraps to get a role with Marvel. Is the MCU only interested in keeping a ‘straight’ profile for its superheroes and their fans?
Marvel LGBT Superheroes: The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is undoubtedly the top-grossing fictional environment globally. If there was any doubt attached to its popularity, Avengers: End Game made history by becoming the highest-grossing movie known to mankind (leaving behind Avatar). But when you look at the inclusivity that we Millenials expect from the world, a certain aspect of Marvel’s success looks incredibly tainted.
Marvel’s production house has long been blamed for not being inclusive when it comes to human sexuality. In fact, they stick to promoting “white heterosexuals”. So, to put these age-old blames aside, director Joe Russo’s character was the first-ever representation of LGBTQ that bagged a few minutes in the MCU. But, this has not changed even an iota of the ‘superhero stereotype’ that has been created over the decades. In fact, this scene is a clear case of ‘too little, too late.’
Coming out with the accusations
Recently, actress Kristen Stewart revealed a piece of career advice she had once received. The Twilight star said, “I’ve fully been told, ‘If you just like do yourself a favour and don’t go out holding your girlfriend’s hand in public, you might get a Marvel movie.’ I don’t want to work with people like that.”
In this century when we as a society are promoting pride for LGBTQ, it is ambiguous why the superheroes are falling far behind. Marvel LGBT superheroes are practically non-existent.
What is stopping these superheroes to embrace their queer side?
Facts and Figures
What does it matter whether the superheroes are gay or not? Well, the reason lies in their success. As Marvel’s movies break records, they are also influencing fans throughout the world. In fact, a Forbes report quantifies this fact. ‘Avengers: End Game’ topped ‘Avatar’ thanks to China, not America. The report reveals that this highest-grossing movie of all times earned more than $2.795 billion in global box office receipts. Out of this massive figure, a huge part of the earnings, $1.937 billion, came from overseas. If we put it simply, 69.3% of the earnings came from outside North America! Can you imagine the impact such a movie might have over various cultures? They influence not only the adults but the young minds that are deeply engrossed in the world of superheroes.
Even before the young fans set out in search of their sexuality, their role models are subconsciously hard-wiring sexuality stereotypes
Do you know what the most shocking part of this whole scenario is? Only Marvel portrays on-screen superheroes that are strictly heterosexual! If we were to research these characters’ history in the comic world, we would realise that comics have been far more in sync with modern times than cinema. While we might know some of these characters belong to LGBT, others are simply shocking revelations.
But, sadly, the same cannot be said for the younger generation of fans. They have gathered all their knowledge about Iron Man from Robert Downey Jr. rather than Tony Stark.
Let’s take a look at the MCU LGBT Superheroes who have been modified in their trip from comic books to the big screen
Yes, the extremely witty superhero is actually pansexual! Throughout comic strips, he has expressed interest in both men and women. In fact, he has a crush on Spiderman! This superhero has gained many fans among LGBTQ. Because he is outspoken about his sexuality.
But sadly, the portrayal of Deadpool on the big screen has not been sincere and open to his true sexuality.
Another Marvel LGBT superhero who has been straight-washed is Loki. This character has his roots in Norse mythology. He is pansexual and gender fluid. In fact, over the decades many comics have shown him adopting feminine appearances. (He is practically a god whose superpowers include changing shape and sex).
Confirming this point on Tumblr, the writer of ‘Loki: Agent of Asgard’ (Al Ewing) wrote, “Yes, Loki is bi and I’ll be touching on that. He’ll shift between genders occasionally as well.”
Marvel LGBTQ Superheroes have been virtually non-existent until now. This might change with “Thor: Love and Thunder” that will take the big screen in 2021. Tessa Thompson announced that her character, Valkyrie will have a queer relationship in this movie.
With this, Valkyrie would become the first among MCU LGBT Superheroes to make it to the big screen
Marvel announced this in July 2019. But is justice really served here? No, not really. Valkyrie has always been a bisexual in the comic books. But when MCU portrayed her character on-screen, they somehow forgot this detail. Marvel cut the scene that expressed her character as bisexual from 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok.
The fact that Marvel franchise refuses to make their superheroes queer, has been very disappointing for LGBT fans. So, it was natural to get excited after seeing the portrayal of Carol Danvers and her ‘best friend’ Maria. But sadly, nothing really happened between the two, leaving fans disappointed.
Okoye’s queerness vanished from Ryan Coogler’s ‘Black Panther’, leaving fans and critics disappointed. In fact, a scene in which Okoye and Ayo were flirting did not make the cut for the movie. The World of Wakanda never saw this Marvel LGBT superhero in her true sexuality.
Many believe that MCU is trying to prioritize money over meaningful representation of their superheroes. Most probably, because they do not want to alienate certain audiences that strictly adhere to homophobic culture. With most of its earnings coming from overseas, MCU is apparently keeping in view such countries that have homophobic cultures. Do you think so too?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has ignored the presence of queer people far too long. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say that MCU is straight-up straight-washed. And it is high time that they recruit a ‘real’ superhero for a large portion of their ever-growing fan base.