In recent months Kevin Feige has made it very clear that Marvel will be casting an increasingly diverse group of people and including more LGBT heroes in the near future.
While that’s great news, many fans were disappointed in how the studio handled their first openly gay character in Avengers: Endgame.
The character, who was played by co-director Joe Russo and was referred to as Grieving Man, appeared in a the grief counselling scene with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and spoke about the man he loved and lost in the Snap.
The mention was very casual and some may have even missed it if they weren’t paying attention.
Many fans saw a missed opportunity and were upset that the character was an unnamed man and featured as more of a cameo.
Speaking with Gizmodo, Feige addressed the disappointed fans, saying the Grieving Man wasn’t intended to be such a big deal in the MCU.
“That was never meant to be our first focused character. That was just meant to be a matter of fact and a matter of life and a matter of truth. And I liked it that our hero, Steve Rogers, doesn’t blink an eye at that fact.
“It is just truth and is heartbreaking for his loss and for the life he’s trying to put back together. It was never meant to be looked at as our first hero. I guess it’s the first reference so it does, of course, get a lot of attention.
“We haven’t been shy about saying that that’s coming and that there’s much more prominent LGBT heroes in the future.”
While it wasn’t meant to be as big a deal as it became, this was likely because the day before the film’s release Deadline shared the news of the character as a “mild spoiler” with the consent of the filmmakers. This was a big deal considering the whole #DontSpoilTheEndgame stuff in the lead up to the film’s release.
At the time, Joe and Anthony Russo said “representation is really important” to them and after doing four MCU movies they “really wanted a gay character somewhere in them”.
So, it’s unsurprising fans were pretty excited to find out more about this character and then felt a little let down when they saw the scene.
Victoria Alonso, Marvel’s executive vice-president of production, told Vulture recently the studio is “determined” to include a diverse roster of heroes, villains and supporting characters moving forward.
Casting director Sarah Halley Finn, who has worked on every Marvel film since Iron Man in 2008, also said we’ll be seeing a lot of new faces very soon.
“You’re gonna see even more new faces — and faces from all different backgrounds, all ages, all ethnicities, LGBTQ, people who are differently abled.”
Feige also told the publication at the time they are open to changing the established genders, ethnicities and sexualities of their comic characters for the film versions. They have done this already with characters like Heimdall, played by Idris Elba, and Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson.
Considering how many people watch Marvel films, it’s so important that the studio follows through with this promise.
After all, with great power comes great responsibility.