Wigs have been super snatched, the houses have been agility boots-ed downed and honey, I’m slayed. Our benevolent overseers at Marvel have finally declared the world is ready for a gay superhero. Queer superhero film fans rejoice while Robin clutches his pearls in some dark corner of the bat cave.
The news came from Victoria Alonso on the red carpet for the premier of Captain Marvel, the studio's first female fronted film since they started churning out the superheroics 19 films and 10 and a half years ago.
“The world is ready, the world is ready,’ Alonso responded, when asked by a reporter for Variety about the prospect of including a queer superhero in the future. ‘If we don’t put pedal to the medal on the diversity and the inclusivity, we will not have continued success. Our determination is to have that for all of the people out there watching our movies.’
The specific film in question is the upcoming ‘The Eternals,’ movie. Based on the comics featuring a bunch of ‘proto-humans’ who were super powered after having been experimented on by even more advanced beings the Celestials. So, a bit like X-Men in space, with less mutation and more experimentation… Please don’t read me for the basic comparison!
You might have gathered but I don’t know much about the Eternals, so I don’t know which character is suppose to be queer… Is it this guy?
Could it be?!
Most of the talk in this representation sensation has revolved around a gay male character. This is great news. Definitely a reason to celebrate, and while Kevin Feige, head honcho at Marvel, said in 2015 that LGBTQ+ representation was coming in the next few years, I can’t help feeling cautiously optimistic. Marvel films have not had a great track record with Queer representation. Valkyrie's bi-sexuality was all but erased from Thor: Ragnarok when a scene involving a female lover leaving her room was deleted and a lesbian relationship in Black Panther was retconned to be a straight relationship. And while a gay cis male would be a massive step forward, even that feels a little behind the times.
Why aren’t we already seeing an entire spectrum of sexual fluidity? Why is everyone in these movies straight as one of Hawkeye’s arrows? Why in 2018 was a black superhero fronted film a massive sign of progression? Why is 2019 the first year we see a female fronted franchise? Why is the first gay character’s appearance going to be watered down as part of a team instead of the titular hero in a solo outing? Like, you need a straight chaser with that shot of gay, sweetie? I guess the world isn’t ready for THAT just yet.
Maybe it’s easy, after being left out for so long, to feel a little bitter being told that the world is finally ready for you. Ready to look at you in tights (I know right?!) and cheer for you. To get behind you, shuffle to the edge of their seats to see if you will defeat the villain, to NOT see you AS the villian. So, in the name of positivity I’m choosing to fully embrace this rumour and let my expectations run rampant!
Yay! A gay superhero! Oh, and rumour suggests Marvel are looking to cast an actually out and proud, gay IRL, queer male lead. Which is quite cool after all the hullabaloo about who should get to play Queer roles and the straight washing of Freddie Mercury, the femme washing in just about any gay film with a straight actor in a lead, and Armie Hammer not eating that damned peach
So, in the spirit of celebration here is a list of potential out and proud gay male actors who could head up The Eternals cast, separated into some helpful categories:
(*Unsurprisingly, when researching I found that the lists of out and proud actors are pretty small and pretty predictable. The number of guys on these lists who have the visibility and potential to actually play the lead in a Marvel flick are even slimmer. So I’ve chucked some left field choices in just for funsies and to divert from the usual suspects.)
The Usual Suspects/The Obvious Choices
Matt Bomer - So, he’s the obvious front runner, no? He literally looks like superman. He’s perfectly inoffensive, a good actor who's had some great and varied roles and never quite kicked it Marvel style. He looks friendly, approachable and heroic, great qualities in a hero and he’s also really fit. Would not be mad, despite this being maybe a predictable choice. He could be a little boring, in a very Superman kind of way.
Luke Evans - a mystifying creature in Hollywood. Luke Evans is out and pretty vocal about it and yet it doesn’t seem to define him in a way it does other performers. Or maybe we would have seen him in some bigger roles already if it weren’t for homophobic studio heads. Who can say? Either way, he’s big enough to head up a Marvel film, he’s got that Disney connection from their live action Beauty and the Beast and he’s built. Maybe a top contender.
Waifish Star Power/My Future Boyfriend Wish List
Ben Whishaw - He’s so frail he could just blow over but his tenderness is palpable, as is his talent. I just want to give him a hug. So imagine if these acting chops were transferred into a super heroic role. Whishaw dips into big budget fanfare, with turns in Mary Poppins Returns, James Bond and Paddington (lol) but is an indie darling really. In his career he’s played a good number of queer roles, playing each as a three dimensional character with individuality. I would definitely buy a ticket to see him suiting up for some rollicking space adventures. Is he a little too waifish, though? A little too gentle? Is that very question homophobic?
Andrew Scott - Boy can act and boy is hot. Not sure he’s superhero material but put him in a gym and let’s find out. Scott is a phenomenal actor and would be in familiar company, joining two former West End Hamlets, i.e. Doctor Strange and Loki. His most mainstream credit is probably Moriarty in Sherlock (with the aforemention Cumbernsnatch) but his talent and charisma is undeniable and he would be a really interesting choice. Able to portray a deep inner life that some of these other guys couldn't. I’m here for it. (Head over to my Fleabag recaps if you want more thirsting after Andrew Scott, it’s a riot!)
Left Field/My Other Future Boyfriend Wish List
Billy Eichner - Also a man of my dreams, Eichner is in the left field category for a few reasons. Primarily a comedic actor, Eichner doesn’t necessarily read as leading man superhero. Not that I don’t think he could and Ant-Man showed us Marvel can go a bit sillier and retain quality. Secondly his persona, especially in Billy on the Street, is that of a very sardonic, cynical type of gay guy, which might not be what producers are looking for as their first rainbow warrior. Finally, Billy is currently writing and starring in a gay rom-com, not that such a thing would sideline him from the running here but it’s historically going to be the first studio rom-com with a gay lead, so Marvel will probably be looking for a first of their own. Still, I’d love to see Billy Eichner do anything and everything. Imagine if he turned up in The Eternals in the Squirrel costume from Difficult People. Screaming!
Nyle DiMarco - Left field because he’s not known for his acting, modelling mainstay DiMarco looks like a superhero and has the chops for more meaty acting roles. He’s got the bod and the hair, he looks like a superhuman already. Plus, he can act, as seen from the guest spots he’s done in a number of shows. It would be a double bill for diversity as he would also be the first hearing impaired lead superhero. If Marvel is serious about this diversity kick, this would be a great casting choice. Here for it!
Andrew Rannells - Wouldn’t this be fun?! He’s sassy and a bit femme. Has built a pretty big name for himself. And could carry a franchise with the same kind of sarcastic, self-effacing comedy as Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool. In the Broadway Baby category Rannells has crossed over into TV and film many times and is about due for a big breakout role, a bigger breakout role? A lead in a Marvel movie role? Yes, the spandex fits! Oh, and it would fit nicely too.
Cheyenne Jackson - Potentially he’s getting a little old depending on the character. After all Tony stark is no spring chicken, so perhaps if Marvel were leaning a little older the also, Superman-like Cheyenne Jackson could play the leader of some Queer superpowered crew. He’s been knocking about on American Horror Story long enough, is it time to transition to event cinema?
Already Spoken For
Ezra Miller - they’re our gender queer, red carpet slaying hero. Miller has been breaking down barriers all on their own and all over town. Unfortunately I think this may mean Miller is out of the running. Having starred as The Flash in Warner Bros Justice League, with a potential solo outing on the horizon, Miller has already stepped into some superhero shoes. Not that actors haven’t traversed cinematic universes before but Ezra is also a massive part of the Fantastic Beast ‘films’ (sic) and it just might be too many conflicts of interest. Still, they were the best thing in that Justice League video game so I‘d be up for more Miller, frankly. Even just for the red carpets.
Zachary Quinto - He’s kind of here to plump out the category, the Star Trek films having kind of petered out and with Chris Pine having popped up in Wonder Woman there’s no reason Quinto shouldn’t be a top pick and he should definitely be at the top of casting lists for a gay male lead in a superhero film. He’s fit and fab and he’s got the name and the experience without being untouchable, he’s got a bit of edge and depth. I think he’d fit in really nicely with the other Avengers and the whole cinematic universe. I honestly don’t know why this hasn’t just happened already.
Kenyan Lonsdale - he's young, he's fit and he was fun on RuPaul's Drag Race. Beside being Australia, he's got a lot going for him! (I'm Australian so I can say that, ;) ) Already having popped up in the first big, studio produced, gay, teen rom-com - Love, Simon - Lonsdale would be a great choice for the Queer lead to this ensemble. I already think he's going to start popping up in a lot of places and I really wouldn't mind looking at him for upwards of 2 hours. Bonza choice mate!
Cody Fern - another rising star who’s been gaining a decent amount of notoriety. Like Ezra Miller, Fern has been garnering (maybe too much) praise for his gender bending appearances on the red carpet. Casual smokey eye anyone? Groundbreaking! He’s pretty and I can see him in a cape. Not sure he’s like, the best actor ever, but he’s here, he’s queer, he looks like a deer… No idea. I can see it happening is all.
Super Left Field
Jim Parson - Parson’s is out and very popular. Although not a typical superhero sort he’s got the nerd clout from Big Bang Theory and again if they wanted to play for laughs he could be a good choice. Topher Grace buffed up (a little) for Spider-man 3 and that turned out great… sigh… Maybe not but that’s why he’s a left field choice.
Ian McKellan & Alan Cumming - Not that these guys are going to be cast but I just wanted to add them here as more of an honourable mention kind of thing for being out and proud and having already appeared in the X-Men. Arguably, both Magneto and Nightcrawler could have been gay so they may have already beaten who ever is cast in this role to the big first trophy. Anyway, thank you for you service, sirs.
And that’s the list!
What did you think? Any of these potential super queer-oes you fancy saving you from total annihilation?
Whoever they do pick it’s about time we had some proper representation in Marvel films and if done right it could be ground breaking. Imagine if a Queer fronted Marvel film was as successful as Black Panther or Captain Marvel? What a world, right? And maybe some other franchises would stop tiptoeing around their Queer characters and open that damn closet door… Looking at you Fantastic Beasts… It would be even better if the entire team were made up of superheroes from all walks of the Queer spectrum. That would really be breaking ground, Marvel.
Let me know what gay actors you think could fill these vibranium heels!
Up and atom, henny!