Eternals is set to introduce the MCU’s latest superhero team into the franchise, made up of the likes of Richard Madden’s Ikaris, Angelina Jolie’s Thena and Gemma Chan’s Sersi. While probably not one of the leading Eternals, a character who’s been discussed a lot in the run-up to the movie is Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos, who’s significant because he stands as the very first LGBTQ+ superhero in the Marvel universe.
As we’ve seen in trailers, Phastos is married (his husband is played by Haiz Sleiman) with a young son. During a press visit to the set, ScreenRant spoke to producer Nate Moore about how Marvel approached Phastos’ character in the film, with Moore explaining that his sexuality is just a part of who he is and is not his “whole story”.
“Yeah, again, we think it’s just who these people are,” Moore said. “It doesn’t have to — it doesn’t have to be the whole story because in life, that’s not the whole story of anybody. I think it just feels more real and… we’re better storytellers if it’s just part of who somebody is. So yeah, I mean, it’s very much a part of this movie, but the movie is not about that. It’s just who the character is.”
Moore’s comments will likely be both encouraging and slightly frustrating for fans. While approaching Phastos’ sexuality as just one part of his character is obviously a good thing, the fact that Phastos and his family are not a hugely important element of the movie may disappoint some. While the couple of LGBTQ+ milestones we’ve had over this year – namely, Phastos and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki coming out as bisexual – are welcome, we’re still waiting on an MCU project to put a queer relationship front and center.
At this point, we’re not sure where that could happen, but hopefully, it’s only a matter of when not if. After a full decade went by without any queer representation, Avengers: Endgame finally offered some baby steps in the right direction with director Joe Russo’s one-scene character mentioning having a male date. Now, we’re finally getting a same-sex couple on-screen. Fingers crossed, Eternals manages to treat Phastos’ relationship with respect, even if it isn’t a cornerstone of the film.
Director Chloe Zhao’s MCU debut hits theaters on November 5th.