The “Avengers” franchise’s first-ever openly gay character is introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in “Avengers: Endgame”.
The character isn’t a superhero, however, and is played by Joe Russo, who co-directed the upcoming sequel with brother Anthony Russo.
According to Deadline, the character is described as “an average guy who is part of a support group of people trying to move on from the grief of losing loved ones who vanished at the end of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ at the hands of Thanos,” who “talks about going on his first date since losing his male partner.”
Speaking with Deadline, the filmmakers discussed why they felt the inclusion of a gay character was important for “Avengers: Endgame”.
“Representation is really important,” Joe Russo said. “It was important to us as we did four of these films, we wanted a gay character somewhere in them. We felt it was important that one of us play him, to ensure the integrity and show it is so important to the filmmakers that one of us is representing that. It is a perfect time, because one of the things that is compelling about the Marvel universe moving forward is its focus on diversity.”
He continued: “The fact that the character is gay will get attention but it isn’t where the scene started. When you have a story point that includes killing half of all humans on Earth, you’re telling a bigger story than ‘The Avengers’. So that scene was important to us in telling the story of the larger world. We wanted to have a voice that was talking about the experience of people that went beyond The Avengers. That’s why we felt we really needed it in the movie. Otherwise, it just became too hermetic and insular. That character that Joe is playing really came from that point of view, him being an everyman who has suffered from Thanos’ act.”
As Russo explains, it was also important that the character’s introduction wasn’t seen as making a big statement.
“We wanted it to be casual, with the fact that the character is gay tied into the fabric of the storytelling and representing what everyday life is. We’re trying to represent everyone in everyday life. These are global movies that reach a lot of people. They are important to a lot of people and everyone has the right to see themselves on the screen and identify somewhere,” he said.
“We’ve seen it now even in countries where people countries where homosexuality isn’t as free as it is here,” added Anthony Russo. “It’s actually one of those elements of these movies that I think resonates in challenged places in the world as well.”
Said Joe Russo: “As filmmakers of a massive franchise we’re saying, we support you.”
Meanwhile, the movie is already beating box office records globally, garnering $169 million around the world on its opening day.