It’s been a long time coming—a long, long time. But tonight, Marvel Studios confirmed that, after literally years of teasing, that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will get its first LGBTQ superhero in Thor: Love and Thunder. And yes, it’s Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie.
Speaking to io9 in the wake of Marvel Studios’ barnstorming San Diego Comic-Con panel, Kevin Feige confirmed, as Thompson herself teased during Love and Thunder’s unveiling, that Valkyrie will be involved in an LGBTQ storyline as Asgard’s new ruler seeks out a Queen to rule alongside her.
“The answer is yes,” Feige said of Valkyrie having an LGBTQ storyline. “How that impacts the story remains to be seen with that level of representation you’ll see across our films, not in just Thor 4.”
“As new king, she needs to find her queen,” Thompson had said to fans in Hall H during Marvel’s panel. “That will be her first order of business. She has some ideas. Keep you posted,”
Marvel Studios has had a, diplomatically speaking, rocky history on the road to confirming this particular level of LGBTQ representation at least in its decades-spanning movie universe (if not its TV output, which has fared considerably better).
Recent answers to questions asking for more LGBTQ characters in Marvel movies, from Feige and other alumni in the Marvel Studios family, have only left those seeking more diverse representation irate, especially so in the wake of Avengers: Endgame’s clumsy first steps into including LGBTQ material.
Even with Valkyrie specifically, controversy arose in the wake of Thompson’s own revelation that material which would’ve confirmed the Asgardian as queer was cut from her debut appearance in Thor: Ragnarok, at the time erasing backstory Thompson herself had stated as something she’d considered while playing the role. So with today’s explicit confirmation, there’s something powerful in it being Valkyrie who gets to take on the honour of becoming the first prominent LGBTQ hero going into Phase 4 and beyond.
Let’s hope she is far from the last.