Kevin Feige suggests a trans character is set to appear in the MCU “very soon” - but how likely is it to happen?

Kevin Feige suggests a trans character is set to appear in the MCU “very soon” - but how likely is it to happen?

It has been reported that Kevin Feige recently ‘confirmed’ the MCU’s first transgneder character was being lined up to appear in an upcoming film, however, many of the headlines appear to be somewhat misleading.

Speaking at the New York Film Academy to Tova Laiter, Feige was asked if there are plans for LGBTQ+ - specifically trans - characters to be included in phase four of the MCU. Feige responded broadly by saying: “Yes, very soon, in a movie we are shooting right now.”

While it was widely reported that Feige was confirming the appearance of a transgender character, two sources close to Marvel told Variety that the answer related more broadly to the representation of a LGBTQ+ superhero.

It is likely Feige was referring to Ikaris, who will be played by Game of Thrones star, Richard Madden in the upcoming film, The Eternals. It has been rumoured for some time that Ikaris will be an openly gay character, while also being married with kids.

The first openly gay superhero in American comic books was Northstar, who first appeared in Uncanny X-Men in 1979. He married Kyle Jinadu in Astonishing X-Men in 2012 and could be the source of inspiration for the introduction of Ikaris.

While it still could happen that a trans character features prominently in The Eternals, given Disney and Marvel’s history of overlooking the LGBTQ+ community, there is little reason to be too optimistic at this stage.

There have been two LGBTQ+ characters in recent Disney tentpoles - and both have featured in minor, inconsequential roles. 

Director Joe Russo briefly appeared at the start of Avengers: Endgame as a gay character in a blink and you miss it moment.

More recently, two women were seen kissing in the background during the closing moments of Rise of Skywalker. But Disney were happy to edit the brief lesbian kiss out of the version shown in Singapore to maintain its PG13 rating.

Transgender actor Zach Barrack also appeared as a classmate of Peter Parker in Far From Home, although no mention was made of his gender identity.

Tessa Thompson previously revealed that a scene alluding to Valkyrie’s bisexuality was cut from Thor: Ragnarok.

However, Marvel reportedly released a casting call mid-last year requesting that only transgender actresses apply, while there are also unconfirmed rumours that Pose star Angelica Ross may have secured the role of the character referred to only as Jessica (maybe Sera in Thor: Love and Thunder?). Production is set to start in March, so this cannot be the film or character Feige alluded to with his answer at the New York Film Academy.

In other instances, Josh Gad’s LeFou character in the 2017 film, Beauty and the Beast, was confirmed as being the first openly gay character featured in a Disney film. Although the moment was brief and left until just before the final credits so hardly anyone would have noticed.

While Disney pat themselves on the back for finally releasing a film focused on a Black superhero and another led by a female, the studio’s general lack of diversity remains a huge problem given their dominance on both the large and small screens. Remember, it took until 2019 for a character to say the words “I’m gay” on the Disney channel. Yes, you read that correctly, 2019.

Disney has long history of only subtly alluding to queer characters and playing to the conservative crowd. Hopefully that changes sooner rather than later, but for now we are taking a wait-and-see stance, especially after the studio’s appalling decision to edit out the gay kiss in the Singapore version of Rise of Skywalker.

You can see the specific LGBTQ+ related question and answer in the full video of Kevin Feige’s Q&A below.

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