According to the Russos, Marvel Studios plans to include an openly LGBTQ character in Phase 4 of the MCU, which begins after Spider-Man: Far From Home.
The arrival of an LGBTQ character in the MCU is exciting and important. Just knowing that little kids all over the world are going to see a superhero kick ass and be queer is encouraging. After all, thus far there has only been one openly queer character in the MCU, and we've already shared our thoughts on that.
Queer audiences are thirsty for superheroes and though we’re used to surviving off of any innuendo or subtext thrown our way, it would be refreshing to see Marvel introduce an openly queer hero in a meaningful, thoughtful, and bold way. What might that look like?
First and foremost, it’s important to acknowledge the queer characters and dynamics already at play in the MCU. There are so many characters who have queer identities in Marvel comics and more than a few of those openly queer characters appear in the MCU. They’re just narratively closeted.
Second, introducing one queer character into a world that contains dozens if not hundreds of superheroes would be problematic in its own way. Most queer people don’t live in isolation, nor do most have only straight friends. Our friends, romantic partners, and lovers become our chosen family and we tend to travel in packs—for safety and also because we’re really, really fun.
There are other important aspects to consider, such as the diversity of queer identities that exist. But if all goes well, we could be in for a very cool, very queer new phase of the MCU.
When we first meet Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok, she’s so drunk she can barely stand—a running theme for her in the film. While she starts off at odds with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and only interested in her own survival (and her drinking budget), she eventually changes sides and assists Thor and Bruce Banner with their escape from Sakaar and return to Asgard to face Hela, Thor’s sister and Goddess of Death (slash Goddess of Style). As a former member of the Valkyrior, the shield-maidens of Odin, Valkyrie has fought Hela before and knows they are in for quite the battle.
In Ragnarok, Team Thor, aka the Revengers, defeats Hela in no small part due to the efforts of Valkyrie who wears a bang-a-rang new outfit that will make you swoon.
Thompson’s performance is clearly part of Valkyrie’s sex appeal. She brings a swagger and a defiance to Valkyrie that makes it hard to decide if you want to be her, date her, or be her BFF.
Opposite Valkyrie in Ragnarok, Thor is his own kind of hunka-hunka, bare-chested sex on a stick. He’s hilarious, playful, determined, and filled with an effervescent hope. Being around him makes the other characters better and Thor proves his worthiness 10 times over when he chooses his people over his realm. The film marks a true turning point for Thor—and it’s certainly one for the better. Since Ragnarok, the Thor we’ve seen is one much more comfortable with his humor, his shortcomings, and his power.
The chemistry and sexual tension between Valkyrie and Thor in Ragnarok is delightful and enticing. She’s a pessimistic, self-destructive, alcoholic war veteran who just wants to keep her head down and he’s an enthusiastic puppy dog who lost his hammer (and his parents) but is still the God of Thunder. What’s not to love about Thorkyrie?
Given the general awesomeness of Ragnarok, many queer fans have been disappointed that despite the fact that in the comics Valkyrie is canonically bisexual, the one scene affirming her sexuality ended up on the cutting room floor. That didn’t stop Thompson (who was not openly queer at the time but has become so since) from being outspoken about her character’s bisexuality, but it also meant the character wasn’t yet openly so onscreen. (Right after Ragnarok opened, a pretty popular article circulated about how the film was “quietly queer,” noting that Valkyrie isn’t the only canonically queer character to appear.)
From the moment Carol appears onscreen she is defiant and determined. When she is kidnapped by Skrulls and returns to Earth, Carol begins to piece together her history, and the path takes her to the home of Maria Rambeau, her best friend and fellow pilot. In the process of helping the Skrulls and defeating the Kree (including a giant effing ARMADA), Carol learns more about her powers and finds herself limitless.
What’s not to swoon over? She’s strong in every definition of the word, arrogant as all get out, and completely disregards the opinions of men. She’s self-possessed, sexy, and completely unwilling to prove herself to anyone, including her mentor, Yon-Rogg. Is there any scene more satisfying than when she refuses to fight him without her powers and instead beats the s*** out of him with one photonic blast? I STAN AN HBIC.
And no matter how hard Captain Marvel tries to pass off the relationship between Carol and Maria as pure friendship, audiences aren’t buying it. These two “friends” who were just so “friendly” and raised a family together as “friends” and never once wanted to be anything but karaoke-ing, hotter-than-hot, fighter pilots slash “friends.” Sure, OK.
After Captain Marvel premiered, queer audiences claimed Carol as our own and even began shipping her with Valkyrie because a) why not? And b) actors Larson and Thompson seemed to ship the two harder than anyone.
While both Valkyrie and Captain Marvel played fairly minor, albeit badass roles in Avengers: Endgame, the lead up to the film created quite a stir among fans. When an Endgame trailer featuring Carol and Thor appeared, fans resonated with the seeming flirtation between the two and took to shipping Captain Thor. It should be noted that Endgame itself did one important thing to further the plot specifically for Captain Marvel: They gave her the I’m-here-I’m-queer™ haircut.
So, to recap: Valkyrie and Thor are attracted to each other, Carol and Valkyrie are attracted to each other, at least in theory, and Thor and Carol are attracted to each other. That’s a whole lot of superhero flirting, y’all.
The natural extension of all this seemingly evident mutual attraction would be, of course, for Valkyrie, Captain Marvel, and Thor to become a throuple.
Listen, I’m not saying I expect Kevin Feige to announce a film about a polyamorous relationship between two queer women and the God of Thunder. However, to allow characters to form such a bond would be not just bold, but revolutionary—and rooted in the comic books.
What if Thor, Captain Marvel, and Valkyrie were a throuple? What if the way the MCU introduces a real queer character into the universe is by not just letting one person be out, but by busting open the expectations of monogamy and heterosexism? What if instead of just having one amazing coupling to enjoy and ship, we could have three? MarVal, Captain Thor, and Thorkyrie could all be valid couplings of people who share attractions to one another and when the three unite, they could become: CAPTAIN THORKYRIE.
Marvel has a real opportunity to affirm queer people and diverse relationships by doing something simple. Allowing what’s naturally manifesting between these three characters to evolve simply assumes that the version of our world they live in is one devoid of anti-queer sentiment and bigotry. Doing so would lay the foundation for these characters and others to be unapologetically out.
I want the MCU to be filled with queer characters who represent the rainbow of LGBTQ communities. I want to see queer heroes who are Black and Asian and Latinx and trans and nonbinary and disabled and femme and masc and poor and experiencing homelessness and young and old and fat and partnered and not. (And to be clear, the comics already contain queer characters who also have one or more of each of these identities.) I want to see the community I live in, one where monogamy isn’t the only thing that defines love, rendered onscreen. I want to see Captain Marvel, Valkyrie, and Thor figure out polyamory and mutual attraction like the superpowered badasses they are. And I want to see them do so not just for my own shipping pleasure, but also because it sets a precedent and a foundation for future generations of queer superheroes. Being queer is different than being straight and we deserve to see diverse representations of our realities onscreen.
I’m looking at you, Marvel. Give us this throuple. Consider it recompense for making us wait so long to have openly queer characters onscreen.