A new rumour states that Hercules will be the first openly gay character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The character will reportedly be the lead in The Eternals and unlike other heroes in the film, Marvel isn’t “listing the character on the casting breakdowns like the other Eternals, instead he has a code name like Karen.”
There’s been no confirmation on who will play the character, or any other character in the film for that matter, but Angelina Jolie has been in talks to star as Sersi, a superheroine with powers of strength, flight, molecular and atomic manipulation.
The Eternals is rumoured for release next year.
Last year, Stephen Broussard – a producer who’s worked on a series of MCU movies including Captain America: The First Avenger and Ant-Man And The Wasp – hinted at the inclusion of queer characters in future movies.
“For sure, you will see that. I know it can be frustrating if you’re part of a group that wants to see more representation and the answer is always ‘stay tuned’ – I can imagine that that’s frustrating,” he told Den Of Geek.
“But that is happening behind the scenes, you’re going to be seeing that more and more. Representation across individual groups in the years ahead.”
Marvel has long faced criticism for the lack of minority representation in its movies, and while it made steps to introduce diversity with the critically-acclaimed Black Panther and Captain Marvel, LGBTQ characters remains non-existent.
Historically, big-budget superhero movies have chosen to tone down or completely erase queerness from their characters, likely because some of the world’s biggest entertainment markets (including China) don’t allow LGBTQ representation on screen.
Last year, Tessa Thompson revealed she filmed a scene for Thor: Ragnarok which confirmed her character Valkyrie’s bisexuality, but it was later cut. Similarly, a same-sex romance was removed from the final edit of Black Panther.
Marvel’s comics, meanwhile, continue to provide plenty of LGBTQ representation. Back in 2012, Northstar entered into a same-sex marriage with his partner Kyle, and last year Iceman had his first gay kiss with a glorious full-page illustration.
In a recent issue of X-Men: Gold, Bobby Drake (Iceman) was seen discussing his hook-up with Simon Lasker (Pyro).