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On May 5, LGBTQ sci-fi fans across America may feel pleasantly surprised by the appearance of a gay character or two in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, the sequel to Marvel’s 2014 sci-fi action blockbuster (starring Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana).
At a recent press event, someone asked the film’s director James Gunn whether he had ever considered integrating a gay protagonist into the franchise. Gunn replied, “Absolutely. I would love to be able to. We might have already done that. I say watch the movie. Check it out. See what you think.”
While that opens up the possibility of Marvel’s first big LGBTQ superhero appearing onscreen, it could also mean a very small gay-coded character like the ones that recently appeared in the Beauty and the Beast and Power Rangers films, moments so small that one film fan wrote a viral complaint about the outsized credit Hollywood received for their inclusion.
One reader suggested that Guardians‘ gay characters could actually be the powerful bisexual telepath Moondragon and her lesbian consort Phyla-Vell as both have figured into past Guardians of the Galaxy comic book storylines.
But while we wait to see, let’s time travel to February 16, 2018 — that’s when Marvel will release Black Panther, a predominantly black superhero flick that follows T’Challa, the ruling heir of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, as he becomes the Black Panther and fights against Wakanda’s exploitation.
The Black Panther comic book series features Ayo and Aneka, “two of the Black Panther’s elite royal bodyguards who happen to fall in love with one another before leading a feminist uprising.” Though both characters have gone on to have their relationship and backstories fleshed out in their own comic book series, Marvel has said that their relationship in the 2018 film “will not be a romantic one.”
This has resulted in a #LetAyoHaveAGirlfriend Twitter campaign, but it’s unclear whether Marvel will have Ayo and Aneka come out in a subsequent installment or whether they’ll “straightwash” them similarly to how the recent Ghost in the Shell film dropped its lead hero’s bisexuality.