The first transgender character will join Marvel’s ranks “very soon,” studio president Kevin Feige said, answering calls for the studio to include proper LGBTQ representation in its films.
Feige, during an appearance at the New York Film Academy over the weekend, confirmed the news after a student asked whether Marvel planned to introduce transgender characters in upcoming projects.
“Yes, absolutely yes,” Feige responded. “Very soon. In a movie we’re shooting right now.”
Feige wouldn’t say which Marvel project will make history by including a transgender character, but fans suspect it’s the much-anticipated “The Eternals,” which has been filming in locations around the world since July. The movie is set for a November release.
The film, about an alien race of quasi-immortal beings, includes actors Angelina Jolie and Richard Madden, who star as Thena and Ikaris. They reportedly were evacuated from the Canary Island of Fuerteventura in November after an unexploded device was discovered on set.
“Black Widow” also is currently in the Marvel pipeline, but production wrapped on the Scarlett Johansson-fronted movie in October.
The studio has a checkered past when it comes to LGBTQ representation, preferring to obfuscate explicit mentions of characters’ sexuality or gender identity ― or to leave them on the cutting room floor.
The first-ever gay character played by director Joe Russo was somewhat underwhelmingly introduced in “Avengers: Endgame” in a bit part that seemed to misunderstand what fans were actually clamoring for: a significant and souped-up LGBTQ character essential to the plot of the film.
Feige confirmed in August that “The Eternals,” which also stars Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry and Lauren Ridloff (who also happens to be the first deaf superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), will address these concerns by featuring an openly gay man in a prominent role.
“He’s married. He’s got a family. And that is just part of who he is,” Feige said in August of that character.
Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie stands as the only queer superhero across the Marvel films, although her sexuality was never explicitly mentioned in 2017′s “Thor: Ragnarok.”
Thompson, however, has long been open about her character’s bisexuality in Marvel movies. It will finally be made canon in the upcoming “Thor: God of Love and Thunder,” where she’ll be on a quest to “find her queen.”
“How that impacts the story remains to be seen with that level of representation you’ll see across our films, not in just ‘Thor 4.’” Feige said of Valkyrie’s LGBTQ storyline in the film.
Some fans even suspect that queen could be the much-discussed first transgender character. A Geek World report from July claimed that Marvel was looking to cast a trans woman for an unspecified role in a film shooting in 2020.