Marvel plans to feature LGBTQ, transgender characters in Phase 4 of MCU

Tessa Thompson plays Valkyrie in the MCU.
Tessa Thompson plays Valkyrie in the MCU. Photo credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel is planning to bring more LGBTQ and transgender characters to the big screen in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), including in a movie that's currently being filmed.

During a Q&A with the New York Film Academy last week, long-time Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed Marvel will be representing more diverse characters over the next few years.

"Are there any current plans on bringing more LGBT+ characters into the MCU? Specifically the 'T' - trans characters," a Marvel fan asked Feige during the interview.

"Yes, absolutely, yes. Very soon, in a movie we're shooting right now, yes," Feige responded.

Another attendee asked Feige how the MCU will continue to become "more inclusive and diverse" moving forward, referencing the 2018 film Black Panther, which featured a predominantly black cast. 

"We wanted to keep showcasing heroes - from the comics - that represent the world that goes to see our movies," he answered.

"It makes for better stories. When you're sitting at a table, and everyone looks like you, you're in trouble. You're not going to get the best story out of it."

In 2019, Marvel announced 15 new projects for Phase 4, including films and Disney Plus shows. The first projects to be released are Black Widow on May 1, 2020 and Eternals on November 6, 2020. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is currently in pre-production. 

As Black Widow is currently in post-production, some fans believe Eternals - which is still being filmed - is likely to feature the new transgender character(s).

Feige previously said in an interview with Good Morning America that Eternals is set to have an openly gay character.

Feige's confirmation has garnered a mixed response from fans, with many praising Marvel's progress towards increased representation and inclusivity, while others remain sceptical.

The scepticism follows what some saw as a letdown in 2019's Avengers: Endgame, which was meant to feature the first openly gay character in the MCU. The character turned out to be a 10-second cameo appearance by director Joe Russo.

During the Q&A, Feige also noted that both upcoming films - as well as a number of Disney Plus shows - are directed by women.