If you’re a fan of superhero movies, then you know all too well that straight, white, and male are practically the formula. With movies like Wonder Woman (featuring a female hero) and Blank Panther (featuring a predominantly blank cast), times are slowly changing to include more representation and inclusion in the film industry.
And now, another major milestone is in the works for one of Marvel’s upcoming properties, The Eternals. As reported by Entertainment Weekly, the buzzworthy Marvel film will feature the first gay kiss (and first gay couple) in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – and they are married with kids to make it even more powerful. Brian Tyree Henry (The Book of Mormon, TV’s Atlanta) plays the first openly gay superhero ever to grace a Marvel screen. Of course, it should be noted that Deadpool is pansexual, although the Deadpool films have never shown any of Deadpool’s non-heteronormative relationships. This was because Marvel and parent company Disney have worked to erase LGBTQ representation from their past movies and shows.
The cast of the series is undeniably excited to see the increase in representation on screen. In the movie, a kiss is seen between Tyree and his on-screen husband, played by Lebanese-American actor Haaz Sleiman (Jesus in Killing Jesus). When asked by NewNowNext about how emotional the moment was when they filmed the scene, Sleiman noted that “everyone cried on set.” He continued to say, “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.”
Often progressive scenes like these can be edited out of the film before it hits theatres, but that is extremely unlikely with this movie. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed as much when he stated that the character is “married, he’s got a family, and that is just part of who he is.” It would be near impossible to edit out something that is so integral to the film. While we still have a massive way to go to achieve the kind of representation and inclusion in the entertainment industry that we need, this is a big step for a company that has historically, and purposefully, shut out LGBTQ, female, and diverse voices.
The Eternals will premiere in theaters on November 6 and will likely appear on Disney+ sometime thereafter.
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