Marvel has confirmed that Valkyrie is the first LGBTQ+ character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige confirms that the Asgardian warrior will have an LGBTQ+ storyline in the new movie, Thor: Love and Thunder. The Marvel films producer also hinted that this LGBTQ+ representation would not be limited to the new Thor film alone.
Feige said, “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.”
Valkyrie, who is played by Tessa Thompson, is confirmed to be bisexual based on reports. What’s great is that Thompson is a real-life LGBTQ+ icon herself. Thompson’s non-hetero-normative portrayal of Valkyrie earned praises when she first appeared in Thor: Ragnarok.
During the San Diego Comic Convention, Thompson teased about Valkyrie’s LGBTQ+ storyline. When asked what Valkryie will do as the king of the new Asgard, Thompson responded that she would search for her queen.
“As the new king, she needs to find her queen,” Thompson happily announces to a cheering crowd. “That will be her first order of business. She has some ideas. Keep you posted.”
Valkyrie has always been Bisexual
The decision to make Valkyrie an LGBTQ+ character may seem like a sudden change of pace for Marvel. However, anyone familiar with the Fearless Defenders comic book series affirms that she has always been a bisexual character.
In the series, Valkyrie has an exciting relationship with Dr. Annabelle Riggs, an archaeologist who acquired an Asgardian statuette. Valkyrie met Dr. Riggs after she accidentally triggered a melody using the statuette on a Viking mass grave. In the very first issue of the comic, Valkyrie and Dr. Riggs share a passionate kiss.
Though only confirmed for Thor: Love and Thunder, Valkyrie’s bisexuality were addressed earlier in Thor: Ragnarok. A scene was supposed to show her bisexuality through a glimpse of a woman leaving the Valkyrie’s room. However, the filmed clip was ultimately cut because it distracts the audience to an essential point of the story.
Despite the scene being deleted, Thompson did her best to portray Valkyrie’s sexuality. In the scenes of flashback, Valkyrie is shown training and fighting alongside her Valkyrie sisters. When the Hela, the Goddess of Death and Thor’s exiled sister, murdered the rest of the warrior clan, Valkyrie’s agony goes beyond her despair for her fallen sisters.
Thompson shares that she channeled the loss of a loved one in the scene to subtlety hint Valkyrie’s bisexuality. “There’s a great shot of me falling back from one of my sisters who’s just been slain,” Thompson shares in an interview. “In my mind, that was my lover.”
In Twitter, Thompson also talked about Valkyrie’s bisexuality right after the release of Thor: Ragnarok. Thompson answered fans’ questions about the film and her character.
Marvel and LGBTQ+ representation issue
Although Valkyrie is the first LGBTQ+ character in Marvel Studios’ MCU, Marvel Comics have long included LGBTQ+ characters in their storyline.
Appearing in 1979’s X-Men Comics, Northstar a member of a fictional Canadian superhero team called Alpha Flight. Northstar is a mutant with the ability to fly and create photonic energy blasts. He is the first openly gay character in the Marvel Universe. He’s also the first married gay man, marrying his longtime boyfriend, Kyle Jinadu in 2012.
Drax’s daughter, Moondragon, is also an openly-bisexual character in the Guardians of the Galaxy comic series. Also known as Heather Douglas, Moondragon is a telepath, telekinetic, and martial arts practitioner.
Speculation of Marvel introducing these characters soon has gained praise from fans and the LGBTQ+ community.
In the past, Marvel has not addressed the issue of representation well. Similar to the decision on Thor: Ragnarok‘s deleted scene, some of the known LGBTQ+ characters in Black Panther were not explicitly stated.
Two of Dora Milaje are lovers, but they did not get any speaking lines. Fans criticized Marvel for not taking the opportunity for LGBTQ+ representation.
In Avengers: Endgame, a Grieving Man in a support group, talked about losing his gay partner. Critics did not like this scene because it was a haphazardly thrown in to please those who’ve been clamoring for representation.
Marvel’s Phase 4 has given hopes to a more diverse representation starting with Valkyrie’s LGBTQ+ storyline. Marvel plans to introduce more superheroes with a slate of films and TV series until 2021. Fans hope that Northstar and Moondragon will be added to the MCU soon.