Marvel's first phase of superhero blockbusters all focused on straight, white, male heroes — the standard. For a long time, this has been the norm for Hollywood, and in many ways it still is. However, with Marvel's Phase 4 bringing in the comic-accurate LGBTQ nature of characters like Loki, and introducing non-white main heroes like Ms Marvel, the MCU is becoming more inclusive.
Loki actor Tom Hiddleston on Marvel inclusivity
Speaking to The Guardian, Marvel's Loki actor Tom Hiddleston discussed the MCU's new attempts at inclusivity. From female-led movies and shows like Captain Marvel and Black Widow to LGBTQ characters like Doctor Strange 2’s America Chavez, the MCU is taking baby steps towards its already inclusive comic book heritage.
Hiddleston explained that Marvel is steadily getting better in this regard. The actor said that including these characters makes for a “meaningful” experience for fans everywhere, even if it infuriates a particularly vocal minority of bigots.
The actor explained that Marvel is only looking to keep the integrity of characters as they move between mediums. If Valkyrie is bisexual in the Thor comic books, why shouldn’t the Asgardian queen be bisexual on screen?
“We all wanted to retain the integrity of the character – I wanted to make sure we didn’t lose the bits that people loved, while doing something new,” the actor said.” I also hope Loki coming out as bisexual was meaningful to people who spotted it.”
Tom Hiddleston explained that Loki’s bisexuality is just one part of the bigger puzzle. “It was a small step, and there’s further to go,” he said. “But it was definitely important to all of us.”
The next step for Marvel
Marvel does have a long time to go until it becomes as inclusive as its comic book heritage. In fact, Marvel's been so slow to include some of its more diverse characters that it has actively acquired more than its established itself.
For example, Deadpool, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukiko from Fox’s Deadpool movies are LGBTQ characters. When Marvel introduces these characters into the MCU in the next year or so, it will have doubled its library of LGBTQ characters.
There's still a wide variety of superheroes and villains that range across the spectrum of race, sexuality, gender identity and disabilities that can be introduced. And the more varied the Marvel universe is, the more it actually feels like a universe and less like the same three men in spandex bickering.