The Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, has taken over the entertainment industry over the course of the last eight years. Through films, new comics, television shows, and even video games, the name, Marvel, stretches out across all aspects of pop culture to the point that you probably know a lot about the popular superheroes even if you don’t pay attention.
Through it all, Marvel’s covered a range of subjects, settings, and character types. We’ve seen heroes, villains, and anti-heroes; battles in the present and past, in space and on Earth; and more recently, we’ve even started to see some female leads carrying projects. But in its vast entertainment empire, Marvel has not yet put a gay male character on screen.
Fortunately, there’s some evidence that they’re prepared to do so in the near future. According to Collider, Marvel maestro Kevin Feige is perfectly open to the idea and said it will likely happen within the next decade. The question now doesn’t seem to be whether or not we’ll see an openly gay superhero at some point, but rather who that hero will be.
Nothing’s for sure, but here are a few sensible candidates for such a role.
Doctor Strange is due out this summer and looks to be the most independent MCU film since Guardians Of The Galaxy. That’s to say it appears to be a standalone project that has little to do with the Avengers, at least for now. Nevertheless, it’s sure to generate a lot of attention. Doctor Strange is a bizarre Marvel character who’s essentially a sorcerer, and Benedict Cumberbatch – one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood – is taking up the role.
A What Culture article identifying several heroes who could be the first gay characters in the MCU made the interesting observation that Strange’s sexuality is pretty much never addressed in the comics. That’s uncommon for a major superhero, and it leaves the door wide open for filmmakers to take any direction they please with the character’s romantic interests, should he have any at all. There are, however, two issues that may keep this from happening. One is that Cumberbatch’s last major role was as famous gay mathematician Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, and most serious actors try not to get too repetitive with roles. The other is that if the first gay superhero is a man named Strange, the name could be misconceived as a derogatory label. That, of course, wouldn’t be the case, but Marvel may not want to gamble on that kind of discussion taking place.
One of the most prominent members of the Young Avengers, Hulkling is a pretty interesting character in comic lore. Descendant of multiple lines of aliens, he has the power of shape-shifting and quick healing, which together allow him to more or less impersonate the Hulk though they’re not actually connected. Furthermore, Hulkling is openly gay, traditionally presented as being in a relationship with fellow Young Avenger, Wiccan.
The problem here is that Marvel seems pretty determined not to take Hulk-related sagas much further. Indeed, despite his popularity in the Avengers films, Hulk hasn’t been touched on as a primary character since the 2008 film, The Incredible Hulk. That film produced a console video game of the same name, as well as a themed slot machine you can still find among the games at Betfair, but has otherwise pretty much been left in the past. Then again, most similar themed casino games – and there are many based on other Marvel films and characters – deal with more active Marvel characters, so perhaps there is more Hulk action to come. Regardless, the best hope for a Hulkling introduction is probably for him not to be considered a Hulk disciple so much as a product of the Avengers’ break-up during the Civil War we’ll see in this spring’s Captain America: Civil War. That’s pretty much how he emerges in the comics.
If Marvel really wanted to take a bold route with the introduction of a gay male character into the MCU, they might consider doing so with a character who’s already been around for a while. And among existing male characters in the MCU, the logical choice would appear to be Tom Hiddleston’s beloved Loki character, a sort of villain/antihero who’s shown glimmers of wanting to fight for good on occasion.
Why would Loki be the logical choice? Well, he’s not actually known as a gay character, but as it turns out he might actually be bisexual. I Like Comics Too did a pretty thorough look at the comic evidence that Loki is interested in both genders, and indeed, part of the foundation for this theory is that Loki can embody both genders, as a shape-shifter. Now, a Loki impersonating a woman to seduce a man wouldn’t quite be the open gay statement a lot of fans are looking for, but it might, at least, serve as a worthwhile transition point to introducing Loki as a bisexual, or even gay character.
Any of these characters could make plenty of sense for Marvel in its effort to put a gay character into the MCU. Here’s hoping it happens sooner rather than later.
Last Updated on Apr 8, 2016