Disney has often been criticised for its poor representation of LGBTQ+ people. The company's blink-and-you'll-miss-it lesbian kiss in Rise of Skywalker is evidence enough. However, where main Disney fails, Marvel is picking up the slack, starting with Eternals.
Chloe Zhao’s Eternals is a huge step forward in terms of Marvel representation. Not only will the ten-person superhero team be portrayed by actors of various ethnicities, but one of them is also a gay man.
Eternals will have “beautiful” queer representation
Speaking to Out Magazine, Eternals star Haaz Sleiman discussed his inclusion as Phastos’ husband. While gay males are rare in mainstream media, portraying a gay male with a happy family is even rarer. Sleiman is happy to change that.
Sleiman explained that he feels “lucky” to be able to bring this “beautiful” relationship to the big screen. Additionally, the actor believes the inclusion of these characters will finally bring mainstream media in line with progressive TV shows.
“I feel lucky, and I’m grateful. And…I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I feel like Marvel, they were very smart to cast me in it because I got to humanize the hell out of it. I got to humanize an LGBTQ+ family and show how beautiful they are.”
“We’re evolving. The most exciting thing is the stories that are being told in television and film about LGBTQ people. A lot of TV shows are being more thoughtful about portraying queer people in a... fuller way, not so one-dimensional or very stereotype[d]. Things that have never happened before are starting to happen.”
The MCU's history with LGBTQ+
Marvel Comics are filled with LGBTQ+ characters. Over the decades, Marvel has added a sizable number of queer characters. Unfortunately, those characters have barely made their way to the screen. Furthermore, those that have their queerness repressed.
For example, Thor: Ragnarok’s Valkyrie is a bisexuality woman in the comics. While Valkyrie will be bisexual in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, that only comes after fans noted the discrepancy. Additionally, it took over a decade for the MCU to acknowledge Loki’s gender fluidity.