Joe and Anthony Russo, the directors of Avengers: Endgame, confirmed the film features the first openly gay character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
**Warning Spoilers for Avengers: Endgame Below**
In one of the opening scenes for Avengers: Endgame a character played by director Joe Russo discusses losing his male partner while on a first date. His date was snapped out of existence by Thanos, and he’s discussing it in a support group. It’s a scene that shows it’s not just the Avengers who have been affected by Thanos’ attack, but it’s heavily impacted people’s everyday lives.
Deadline spoke to Joe and Anthony Russo about the scene.
Joe Russo stated:
“Representation is really important. It was important to us as we did four of these films, we wanted a gay character somewhere in them. We felt it was important that one of us play him, to ensure the integrity and show it is so important to the filmmakers that one of us is representing that. It is a perfect time, because one of the things that is compelling about the Marvel Universe moving forward is its focus on diversity.”
Anthony Russo would add:
“The fact that the character is gay will get attention but it isn’t where the scene started. When you have a story point that includes killing half of all humans on Earth, you’re telling a bigger story than The Avengers. So that scene was important to us in telling the story of the larger world. We wanted to have a voice that was talking about the experience of people that went beyond The Avengers. That’s why we felt we really needed it in the movie. Otherwise, it just became too hermetic and insular. That character that Joe is playing really came from that point of view, him being an everyman who has suffered from Thanos’ act.”
Joe Russo continued:
“We wanted it to be casual, with the fact that the character is gay tied into the fabric of the storytelling and representing what everyday life is. We’re trying to represent everyone in everyday life. These are global movies that reach a lot of people. They are important to a lot of people and everyone has the right to see themselves on the screen and identify somewhere.”
Anthony Russo would discuss how the scene is playing all over the world.
“We’ve seen it now even in countries where people countries where homosexuality isn’t as free as it is here. (SP?) It’s actually one of those elements of these movies that I think resonates in challenged places in the world as well.”
Joe Russo would conclude saying, “As filmmakers of a massive franchise we’re saying, we support you.”
This introduction of a gay character should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been following the Marvel Cinematic Universe closely. Joe Russo recently spoke with Variety saying, “The future of these will be an inclusive one.” He added, “Diversity, both in front of and behind the camera, will be its gold standard.”
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige has also made a multitude of comments indicating LGBT characters would be introduced into the MCU. Last June, Feige specifically told The Playlist that the MCU would feature new LGBT characters. He also indicated that current characters in the MCU would be shown as part of the LGBT community. Feige stated, “Both ones you’ve seen and ones you haven’t seen.”
“Well it’s accurate in that we’ve talked about [it for] a long time. You look at the success of Captain Marvel and Black Panther. We want the movies to reflect the audience and we want every member of our global audience to see themselves reflected on the screen. And that’s what we’ve been doing for a long time. And certainly, that’s what we’re focusing on going forward.”
Marvel production chief Victoria Alonso also stated at the Los Angeles premiere for Captain Marvel that “the world is ready, the world is ready” for a gay superhero.
What do you make of the inclusion of the first gay character to the MCU in Avengers: Endgame?