'Eternals' Star Opens Up About Marvel's Gay Superhero, First Same-Sex Kiss

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday January 25, 2021

Haaz Sleiman, one of the cast in the upcoming Marvel film "Eternals," shared his take on the upcoming movie's introduction of a married gay superhero and the first same-sex kiss to grace the screen in the long-running movie franchise.

Sleiman plays the non-super-powered husband of Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), Screen Rant reports.

"What Marvel has been able to accomplish, I'm so proud of them because they approached it in a very thoughtful way, and Phastos is one of the biggest superheroes in the film," the Screen Rant story quoted Sleiman as saying. "I'm his husband, an architect; we have a child."

Sleiman went on to express a wish for even greater representation, saying he "wished I was the superhero, because when will we see an Arab Muslim openly gay actor playing a superhero?"

Sleiman described a kiss the will reportedly appear onscreen between the married male characters, calling it "beautiful" and "very moving," and saying that "Everyone cried on set" when the moment was filmed, IndieWire reported.

"For me it's very important to show how loving and beautiful a queer family can be," Sleiman added.

Technically, Phastos won't be the MCU's first gay superhero; that new ground was supposed to be broken in "Avengers: Endgame," but, IndieWire pointed out, that character - who was only on the screen in passing - "was nameless and insignificant to the film's plot," a letdown the entertainment outlet likened to the much-panned lesbian kiss at the very end of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," which took place between two supernumerary characters - hardly the "LGBT representation" director J.J. Abrams had teased.

The film, directed by Chloé Zhao, also stars Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, and "Game of Thrones" star Kit Harington. According to IMDb, the film is slated for release in November of this year.

Sleiman currently stars in the Mike Mosallam film

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.