Where are all the LGBTQ+ Superheroes on the big screen?
With the release of Deadpool 2 mere months away, and teaser trailers dropping all over the place, it has finally been confirmed that Iron fist star Lewis Tan will be playing the time-travelling, genetically engineered, sword-wielding founding member of the X-Force, Shatterstar.
As well as being a dimension-hopping badass superhuman, Shatterstar is also one of the most popular LGBTQ+ superheroes in Marvel Comics, with his relationship with mutant Rictor being one of the few developed homosexual relationships in book canon.
The Marvel, X-Men and DC cinematic universes have all been criticised for their lack of LGBTQ+ representation. There have been many ‘near misses’. Wonder Woman, Valkyrie, Deadpool, Akoye, Loki… all of these characters are either LGBTQ+ in comic canon or were intended to be LGBTQ+ in the film universe, but all scenes explicitly stating this fact were cut from final production.
There’s no denying that both Marvel and DC have taken much-needed strides in the past year or so to improve representation in their movies. And this strategy has paid off. Black Panther and Wonder Woman both smashed the Box Office, proving what really shouldn’t have had to be proved: diversity sells and you CAN sell a blockbuster without a white guy called Chris. People want to see themselves represented on the big screen, to see people who look like them become heroes.
So with this push to develop a diverse cast of characters in superhero movies, where are our LGBTQ+ heroes at?!
Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige was asked whether we would see an LGBTQ+ superhero in the MCU in the next decade. His response: “I would think so, for sure”.
Holding Feige to his word, we decided to have a little think and come up with 5 LGBTQ+ comic book characters who we think could definitely follow in Wonder Woman and Black Panther’s footsteps and break new ground for the superhero genre on the big screen.
Possibly the greatest tactician in the history of mankind and product of childhood experimentation, vigilante Midnighter would be the perfect choice for an R-rated, violent comic book movie, that just so happens to have a gay protagonist. In the comics, Midnighter is married to fellow survivor of the secret StormWatch team, Apollo, and they have an adopted daughter together. Their close relationship, both personally and as a formidable battle pairing, would form the perfect basis for a superhero origin movie, as they fight to find the man who created them and kill him, whilst protecting others like themselves. Dark, gritty, badass; a film about Midnighter and Apollo is one fans would love to see.
The less said about Keanu Reeves attempt on the character, the better. The chain-smoking, sarcastic, bisexual magician already has his own animated series and of course Matt Ryan has taken on the role in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow series, but what about a solo film for everyone’s favourite conman? At the very least, we should be getting a live action Justice League Dark film with Constantine at the helm…
More specifically, Kate Kane, whose character (according to DC Comics SVP Dan DiDio) was created specifically to increase diversity – “We wanted to have a cast that is much more reflective of today’s society”. As far as comic characters go, they don’t get much cooler than Kate; a tattooed, Jewish, lesbian, punk who has a secret alter-ego and fights crime on the quiet. If DC ever gets bored of pushing countless Batman films at us, perhaps a switch over to Batwoman would work.
Yes, I know. Halle Berry. But that iteration of Catwoman wasn’t exactly… urm, good?
Also, she is not depicted as bisexual. In ‘Catwoman #39’, the original Catwoman, Selina Kyle, shares a kiss with the current occupier of the costume, Eiko Hasigaway and became one of the main LGBTQ+ icons for women in comic history.
Former terrible Cat-movies aside, there’s no doubt that, done correctly, Catwoman would be a great protagonist for a new film series. She’s a morally ambiguous anti-hero who has had a past relationship with Batman and has been a member of the Gotham City Sirens (who are getting their very own film!), what’s not to like?
The first openly gay hero in Marvel’s history, speedster Northstar was pivotal for LGBTQ+ representation in comic books and is a natural choice for anyone thinking to make a superhero movie with a gay protagonist. Plus, look at Quicksilver and the Flash (all four of them!), everyone loves a speedster and Northstar can fly as well, so he has those powers on-lock. Only problem is, do we really need another fast dude zooming all over the place? Alpha Flight team movie anyone?
To be honest, any of these could work on the big screen, if Hollywood ever decides that audiences can handle the idea of an LGBTQ+ superhero. If not, well, we always Marvel’s Runaways series. Thank god for Karolina Dean.