Tessa Thompson made news Saturday when she hinted at Marvel's Comic-Con panel that her character, Valkyrie, will pursue a love interest in the next phase of the studio's movies. And now fans clamoring for more inclusivity in the MCU have more to hope for: Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has confirmed that Valkyrie will indeed have an LGBTQ storyline when she returns in Thor: Love and Thunder in 2021.
During the Thor portion of Saturday's panel, Thompson came on stage and told the crowd, "In her first day as king of Asgard, I think Valkyrie has to find her queen. She has a few ideas." Valkyrie, who was introduced in 2017's Thor: Ragnarok, became the ruler of Asgard following Thor's decision at the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame to pursue adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Thompson had previously said on Twitter that although Valkyrie's sexuality wasn't "explicitly addressed" in Ragnarok, the actress' depiction onscreen was "faithful" to the comic version of the character, who is bisexual. So were Thompson's comments onstage at Comic-Con concrete confirmation that the character will be involved in an LGBTQ romance?
“The answer is yes,” Feige told io9 following the panel. “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."
That movie, coming in November 2020, is based on a race of superpowered beings created by Jack Kirby in 1976. The cast of The Eternals — introduced at SDCC — includes Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Don Lee, Lia McHugh, and Lauren Ridloff.
Marvel has been criticized for a lack of LGBTQ representation in its films. Last year, advocacy group GLAAD called out Marvel (and all the major studios) for a lack of queer characters. Finally, this year's Avengers: Endgame included a minor character, an unnamed gay man grieving the loss of his partner after Thanos' "snap" erased half of humanity. (The role was played by one of the film's co-directors, Joe Russo.) The studio has consistently said that it plans to improve in this area, though progress has been slow.
And while nobody is expecting these to be front-burner MCU plots, it does appear to be an encouraging move. "Obviously, at the forefront of most of these stories is not typically their romantic life," Thompson told Variety in April. "They have big stakes, like saving the world, so that tends to sort of trump."
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