Perhaps one of the most frustrating things for LGBT audiences across the world is having to hear about creators being proud of some scrap of representation they put into a movie or TV show that could’ve been added at the last minute. Hearing a character use the same pronoun as their own gender for their significant other isn’t something to applaud.
Frankly, it’s embarrassing that a franchise as big and ongoing as Marvel’s is just now getting its first confirmed gay character in “Avengers: Endgame” — and in a scene shorter than three minutes long, no less. The scene in question featured an unnamed man referring to his partner who he lost in the snap. In a universe as fraught with super-powered people as this one, a person might think that there would even be an LGBT superhero, but this clearly isn’t the case. Somehow, with Marvel’s big budget, they couldn't even afford a recurring gay character.
It isn’t just the fact that this “representation” is coming so late and so unremarkably in an attempt to seem progressive. It’s also the fact that the Russo brothers had the gall to be proud of this unnoteworthy scene. It’s not that the Russos don’t have something to be proud of — these films are incredible and are making millions in the box office for a reason — but the representation in question isn’t something to be flaunted. If anything, it would’ve been much more appreciated by fans if the Russos hadn’t said anything at all and instead let the internet work its magic and allow viewers to point out the fact that there happened to be an LGBT character in the film.
It’s disappointing that in this day and age, something as small as this seems worthy of praise to some people. In actuality, someone’s sexuality should be completely unremarkable, and yet it’s still difficult for an LGBT person to even see themselves on screen, much less play the part of a superhero. It would’ve been all too easy to have any one of the many characters reveal that they were in some way part of the LGBT community over the course of the 22 Marvel films that exist, or even to include the LGBT storylines from the comic book canon, such as Valkyrie from “Thor: Ragnarok” being bisexual.
Creators in positions such as the Russo brothers should take note from Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick and Ryan Reynolds, who wrote “Deadpool 2.” The “Deadpool” sequel features a relationship between Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio, two superhero women. These characters are featured in several scenes throughout the movie, and unlike “Avengers: Endgame,” their representation wasn’t used as a way for the creators to pat themselves on the back.
It’s nice that the Russos wanted to include something that would be meaningful to their LGBT fans, but they really should’ve put some more thought into it. Better yet, they could’ve talked to someone who’s actually LGBT and gotten their thoughts on the matter.
Providing LGBT characters in this universe should’ve been incredibly easy, especially with any of the many fan-theories taken into account. When scrolling through accounts tweeting about the latest Marvel movie, it doesn’t take long to come across those dedicated solely to tweeting about the characters from the Marvel universe. Many of these Marvel fan accounts support theories such as Spider-Man being a transgender man or Captain America being in love with not just Peggy, but his best friend Bucky Barnes, too.
In the future, creators need to be more attentive to the characters they’re creating. It’s not too much to ask for creators to make a movie a little bit more realistic by having LGBT characters around.
Jillian Carey is a freshman media arts and design major. Contact Jillian at email@example.com.