Does WandaVision herald greater LGBTQ+ representation for the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

David Ferguson of Irish Comic News speculates on what MCU Phase 4 may have in store for queer fans of Marvel.

A woman and a robot dressed in 1950's outfits sit on a couch

Comic book fans have been eating up the new WandaVision series, which has been unique to say the least. As the show is posted weekly, it has given fans plenty of time to speculate on what is going on, and what it is going to mean for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Could this show lead to more LGBTQ+ representation? I promise no spoilers for WandaVision just some geeky speculation!

MCU Phase 3 definitely increased the diversity level for the films. For example, Black Panther saw a mostly African American cast, led by Chadwick Boseman, in one of the better Marvel movies. However, LGBTQ+ representation remained token at best. Tessa Thompson’s Valkeyrie in Thor: Ragnorak is bisexual according to everyone involved but it wasn’t mentioned on screen that I recall (although it is speculated that it will be dealt with in Thor: Love and Thunder).

The only other character was a largely forgettable supporting character in Avengers: Endgame. I say forgettable because, when people online started talking about the LGBTQ+ character online, I couldn’t remember who they were talking about.

So what about Phase 4, which WandaVision has kicked off? I’m happy to see that Simu Liu will be leading a cast full of Asian actors or actors of Asian descent in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. With Thor: Love And Thunder being pushed back, the first major LGBTQ+ character will be in Eternals. Phastos, one of the Eternals, played by Brian Tyree Henry, will be a gay character and his husband will be played by the LGBTQ+ actor, Haaz Sleiman.

There has already been discussion online about a kiss between the two characters, which has been described as “very moving”. It will be interesting to see how the film does, as the Eternals will be largely unknown to the average viewer. To be honest, I am not that familiar with them myself, but if you’d like to know more about them, the best comic stories came from their creator- writer and artist, Jack Kirby. Also of note is a 2006 mini-series by popular writer Neil Gaiman and legendary artist John Romita Jr.

And WandaVision? Fans have been speculating based on what has happened in the comic book storylines. Wanda and Vision’s twins are both LGBTQ+ characters in the comics, so fans are speculating on their future. But most of the speculation, however, has been around the status of mutants in the MCU – with Disney acquiring Fox, they now have the movie rights to the X-men and their mutant brethren.

In the comics, a lot of Marvel’s LGBTQ+ representation comes from X-men. The name most familiar to film fans would be Ice-man, who was revealed to be gay in 2015 (actor Shawn Ashmore, who portrayed Ice-man in the X-men films, has already expressed an interest in playing the character as gay). Now, you may be wondering how Wanda and the mutants connect. Well, Wanda is a mutant in the comics. Magneto’s daughter no less. In one of Marvel’s bigger events, Wanda was driven mad and used her powers to change reality where mutants are in charge, but ended up using them to create a reality where there are “no more mutants”.

Marvel executives have stated they have no plans for the mutants yet, but this may be a red herring. And, no spoilers, but with recent episodes, my speculation levels are rising! Regardless of where WandaVision does go, the future looks brighter for LGBTQ+ representation.

Keep up to date with the fine folk at Irish Comic News here.

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