Avengers: Endgame Introduces The MCU’s First Openly Gay Character

Avengers Endgame

Minor spoilers to follow.

Representation is becoming an increasingly prominent issue in regards to the output of Marvel Studios, with President Kevin Feige and his team continuing to take various measures to offer more diversity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both in front of and behind the camera.

The recent Captain Marvel, for instance, was a major step forward in these ongoing changes, as it was the first female solo superhero outing for the franchise, as well the first to be directed by a woman. And while the MCU drew criticism from GLAAD last year for its lack of openly LGBTQ characters, Avengers: Endgame has now gone some way to fixing things.

You see, though the Infinity War sequel doesn’t have any gay heroes – at least, not any openly gay heroes – it does have an openly gay character. And the MCU’s first, no less.

Granted, it’s hardly a very big role, but in one scene, we see co-director Joe Russo playing “an average guy who’s part of a support group of people trying to move on from the Decimation.” And as he talks about his struggles, he mentions losing his male partner. It’s a quick, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, but this is still the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first openly gay character.

Speaking about the part to Deadline, here’s what Joe had to say:

“Representation is really important. It was important to us as we did four of these films, we wanted a gay character somewhere in them. We felt it was important that one of us play him, to ensure the integrity and show it is so important to the filmmakers that one of us is representing that. It is a perfect time, because one of the things that is compelling about the Marvel Universe moving forward is its focus on diversity.”

Co-director Anthony Russo chimed in about the scene as well, explaining:

“The fact that the character is gay will get attention but it isn’t where the scene started,” he said. “When you have a story point that includes killing half of all humans on Earth, you’re telling a bigger story than The Avengers. So that scene was important to us in telling the story of the larger world.

We wanted to have a voice that was talking about the experience of people that went beyond The Avengers. That’s why we felt we really needed it in the movie. Otherwise, it just became too hermetic and insular. That character that Joe is playing really came from that point of view, him being an everyman who has suffered from Thanos’ act.”

Though it may be a small step forward, this all comes as part of a broader commitment from Marvel to improve representation in their films and we’re already seeing signs of more diversity coming down the pipeline, with planned projects like Black Panther 2 and a Shang-Chi movie. But before those films make it to theaters, you can catch the MCU’s first openly gay character in Avengers: Endgame, which finally arrives tomorrow.