Watch: MCU Head Promises 'Eternals' Will be 'Just the Start' for LGBTQ+ Representation

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday October 19, 2021
Originally published on October 19, 2021

Brian Tyree Henry and Haaz Sleiman in a promotional image for "Eternals"
Brian Tyree Henry and Haaz Sleiman in a promotional image for "Eternals"  (Source:Marvel)

Kevin Feige, the head of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — which comprises 25 feature films and several television series, all interconnected and drawn from Marvel Comics superheroes — promises that this time, it really will be different: The upcoming 26th MCU feature, "Eternals," will kickstart significant LGBTQ+ representation as the MCU moves forward.

"It is more than past time in the movies," Feige acknowledged in recent comments.

"In a red carpet interview with Variety at the premiere of 'Eternals,' Feige talked about how the comics have had 'gay heroes before,' but the introduction of Phastos in 'Eternals' is, in his words, 'just the start' for the MCU," Screen Rant reported.

Watch the red carpet moment below:


"The Eternals are a family-like group with each member having different super-powered abilities," Screen Rant explains. "The Eternal hero Phastos, played by 'This Is Us' [star] Brian Tyree Henry, is set to be the first openly gay Marvel hero."

As previously reported at EDGE, Phastos is not only depicted as openly gay, but as married to a non-superpowered man with whom he is raising children.

LGBTQ+ representation in MCU films has so far been a matter of theory. "Avengers: Endgame" was touted as including a gay superhero, but that character was only on screen in passing. A more substantial LGBTQ+ presence had been envisioned for "Black Panther" in the form of fierce female warrior Ayo, whose lesbian identity was depicted in a scene that ended up .

On television, MCU fans caught on to hints earlier this year that Bucky Barnes (a.k.a. The Winter Soldier) might be depicted as bisexual in "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," starring Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie. However, those hopes were dashed.

One title that did deliver on representation — to a degree, at least — was this year's series "Loki," starring Tom Hiddleston as the titular trickster god, who has been depicted as genderfluid and bisexual in both myth and comic books.

That representation was limited, however, to a conversation between Loki and a female version of himself from a parallel universe, in which both admit to having had lovers of both genders. A more explicit depiction — a montage including shots showing Loki having sex with both men and women — was reportedly suggested, but never made it out of the writers' room.

Marvel's "Eternals" hits theaters November 5.

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.