During the big unveiling of Marvel’s Phase Four lineup at Comic-Con on Saturday, Tessa Thompson said something about Thor: Love and Thunder that sparked both love and thunder in the hearts within Hall H: “First of all, as new King [of Asgard], she needs to find her queen, so that will be her first order of business. She has some ideas. Keep you posted.” We all heard that right because, as Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige confirmed after the panel, Thompson’s character Valkyrie will become the first LGBTQ superhero of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Asked about an LGBTQ storyline in Thor: Love and Thunder, directed by Taika Waititi and starring Chris Hemsworth, Feige told io9, “The answer is yes. How that impacts the story remains to be seen with that level of representation you’ll see across our films, not in just Thor 4.”
When we say Marvel’s first LGBTQ superhero, we should say first openly LGBTQ superhero. The “openly” matters when it comes to visibility. Valkyrie in the comics is bisexual and Thompson has been vocal about that fact on social media. However, when it came to Thor: Ragnarok, a scene was cut in which a woman would’ve been seen sneaking out of Valkyrie’s bedroom and the film, instead, flirted with sexual tension between Valkyrie and Hemsworth’s Thor.
In Avengers: Endgame, Thor passed on the mantle of King of New Asgard to Valkyrie. What a king she will be.
It’s been a long time coming for this kind of representation. Feige and various Marvel filmmakers teased LGBTQ inclusion for years. In May of this year on EW Morning Live, the Russo Brothers of Endgame finally said Marvel planned to unveil one of its core characters as openly gay.
“Yes, openly gay,” Joe Russo clarified. “There’ve been insinuations about other characters’ sexuality, but this is the first openly gay character.” It would seem they were referring to Valkyrie.
Thor: Love and Thunder, which will also see the return of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster to wield Mjolnir, won’t hit theaters until Nov. 5, 2021. Based on Feige’s tease, it sounds like there could be other LGBTQ superheroes heading for the MCU as these films continue to diversify.
Joe Russo portrayed the first openly gay character in the MCU with his small appearance in Endgame, while Zach Barack became the first openly trans actor to appear in a Marvel movie with a background role in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
During Comic-Con, Marvel also announced a well-rounded cast for The Eternals, Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu as the star of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Teyonah Parris as a grown-up Monica Rambeau (the kid from Captain Marvel) in Disney+’s WandaVision series, the inclusion of Kate Bishop in the Disney+ Hawkeye series, the main cast of Black Widow, and Mahershala Ali as the new Blade.