We’ve known for a while that Eternals, the upcoming Marvel Studios movie directed by Chloe Zhao, is supposed to be the first MCU movie to include LGBTQ representation in a significant way. The studio has had an…interesting relationship with LGBTQ portrayals on screen thus far, but it sounds like a major barrier is being broken in Eternals. Read on to find out which actors are playing those roles.
In a new interview with Logo (via io9), actor Haaz Sleiman (The Visitor, Amazon’s Jack Ryan) revealed that his character in Eternals is “married to the gay superhero Phastos, played by Atlanta’s Brian Tyree Henry, and we represent a gay family and have a child.” That’s a big step for the MCU, and when the interviewer asked if we’d see a gay kiss on screen, Sleiman responded positively:
“Oh, yeah, absolutely, and it’s a beautiful, very moving kiss. Everyone cried on set. For me it’s very important to show how loving and beautiful a queer family can be. Brian Tyree Henry is such a tremendous actor and brought so much beauty into this part, and at one point I saw a child in his eyes, and I think it’s important for the world to be reminded that we in the queer community were all children at one point. We forget that because we’re always depicted as sexual or rebellious. We forget to connect on that human part.”
Thor: Ragnarok hinted at Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson)’s bisexuality, and in Avengers: Endgame, director Joe Russo played a gay character who was in a support group with Captain America in the wake of Thanos’ devastating snap. But Eternals is poised to go beyond hints and insinuations, depicting the loving relationship of a queer family. That’s a big deal for Disney, a company that has also had a conflicted relationship with queer depictions in big budget movies over the past few years. On screen kisses between same sex characters in Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker moved the needle a bit, but at the same time felt almost like afterthoughts because of how little those characters’ sexualities were explored beyond those quick moments. For decades, Disney has positioned itself as a family-friendly company – which traditionally has meant avoiding same sex relationships on screen altogether – but it seems like they’re finally ready to commit to exploring queer characters in an interesting way in a major superhero movie.
Come back after Eternals hits theaters to see if they’ve once again pulled a Lucy and yanked the football away from Charlie Brown at the last second, or if they’ve actually made real progress this time.
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