Is Marvel About to Let a Queer Avenger Out of the Closet?

Talk about Hercules and a love affair.

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Ore Huiying

It’s not often that comic book blogs and gay media get excited about the same things, but both portions of the Internet were popping earlier this week with unconfirmed rumors that Marvel may soon be set to introduce its first canonically queer character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though, those rumors were, well, just that: rumors, fished from deep within the comic book web.

That was until Marvel’s production chief Victoria Alonso happened to comment on the matter to Variety during the Los Angeles premiere of Captain Marvel (not so insignificantly, Marvel’s first movie with a solo female star).

“The world is ready, the world is ready,” Alonso told the trade publication about the prospect of an LGBTQ superhero. She also alluded to the upcoming movie where we might see that gay character.

“We are going to cast the best ‘Eternals’ cast that we can and when we’re ready to announce it we promise you we will.”

Indeed, it was an unconfirmed report on comic blog The Hashtag Show that Marvel was hoping to cast an openly gay actor (promising) between the age of 30 and 49 to play a lead in the upcoming movie The Eternals that started the rumor mill off in the first place. The movie would mark one of Marvel’s first new franchise launches post-Avengers: End Game, and already has promising young indie director Chloe Zhao on board. It’s a little known title outside of comic book stores, but the premise allows Marvel to set the movie thousands of years before current events (while still allowing the characters to appear in other movies, because, well, as the name suggests, they’re eternal). The Eternals are also somewhat based on Greek mythology, which we all know could be quite queer. Still, the actual Eternals comic books don’t have a gay character.

Still, dipping back into the comic book movie deep web, there’re rumors that Marvel’s version of the Greek and Roman god Hercules might appear in the movie. Which makes some sense, even if in the comic books he’s mostly depicted him as a member of the Avengers. He’s a major character in the company’s comic books, and, being an actual Greek god, he’s interacted with the Eternals before, so this might be a good place for him to make his way to the screen (while also sidestepping any confusion with other contemporary media portrayals of Hercules; Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson just stared in an unrelated Hercules movie back in 2014, which might also explain why he didn’t make the Avengers crew in the movies).

Hercules, in case you weren’t aware, is bisexual. Like the actual canonically mythological one. He’s totally bi. The myth of Hercales (Hercule’s Greek name) and Hylas has existed since 300 b.c., and tells the story of Herc tutoring a young man in the ways of being a warrior while also falling in love with him (eventually Hylas gets kidnapped by nymphs and it’s a whole thing). Marvel, too, has included Hercule’s bisexuality into its comic books at certain times, even including Hylas as a comic book character. An alternative universe version of Hercules also once fell in love with Wolverine. Still, Marvel caused controversy back in 2015 when they gave Hercules his own comic book and their editor-in-chief declared that their version of Hercules was, actually, straight. Introducing him as openly queer in the movies could be a good way to right those wrongs.

Of course, it’s entirely possible Marvel has other ideas up their sleeve… and hopefully something that amounts to more than just a tease.

They’re going to have to address the issue eventually.

After all, there’re rumors that the Eternals and their ancient powers may be the way that Disney explains combining Fox’s X-Men universe into their Marvel universe once the merger of those parent companies is complete. While the Avengers team may not have too many queer members, there’s more than a few running around in X-Men books.

The Eternals is reportedly set to begin production later this year. It might be too early to send Matt Bomer or Luke Evans congratulatory bouquets just yet, but we should get some casting news in the next few months.