Hollywood is sorta-kinda starting to introduce gay characters into family films (even though the results can sometimes be pretty half-assed). Last month, Power Rangers introduced a gay team member and Beauty and the Beast introduced Walt Disney Studio’s first gay character. Now it seems that Marvel might be joining in with an LGBT character in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Here’s what we know about a possible gay Guardians of the Galaxy team member.
While doing press for the upcoming sequel, writer/director James Gunn was asked if he had considered introducing a gay character to the franchise, and his reply was a bit surprising:
“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.”
Why is this surprising? Because myself and no one I know who has seen Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 can deduce which character may be LGBT. Digital Spy caught up with the filmmaker to get further clarification, and here is what he said:
“What I meant to say is this: There are a lot of gay people in the world. There are a lot of bisexual people in the world. There are a lot of characters in the MCU. We’ve barely gotten to know the sexuality of any of those characters. We know Gamora and Quill are interested in each other. That’s about the only sexual relationship that exists within the Guardians. We know Drax has a past with a wife so he’s got some sort of interest in women. But we don’t really know who’s gay and who’s not. It could be any of them.”
This basically leaves a handful of main characters: Groot (Vin Diesel), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), Yondu (Michael Rooker), Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). It’s weird even considering the sexuality of Baby Groot and Rocket, for obvious reasons. Yondu could be an interesting choice as, historically speaking, pirates were a sexually liberal group and even had a same-sex union called matelotage. So why not a space pirate?
I think the most likely candidate of the bunch is the newly introduced Mantis, Ego’s empathic assistant. While the character is married to the Swordsman in the comics, Disney has already taken huge liberties with her and other MCU Guardians characters. There is an interaction between Drax and Mantis in the new film which could be read as evidence, but it’s circumstantial at best. Her empathic powers give her the ability to sense, feel and share the emotions of others, which could explain non-heteronormative preferences in sexual partners. I doubt a future film would ever explore this idea, but I think it’s a potentially interesting angle to explore.
James Gunn will return to direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which doesn’t even have a release date at this point. It’s possible that we will find out definitively in that threequel, but it’s also possible that the idea won’t be explored explicitly on screen in any way. As Gunn notes, there are a lot of gay and bisexual people in the world, and just because the movie doesn’t explore the sexuality of certain characters doesn’t mean their interior lives can’t still exist.
At same time, Hollywood needs to stop half-assing their LGBT characters. If there’s an LGBT Guardians member, it’s time to put that onscreen and stop paying lip-service to it in the press! This kind of story makes for a good headline, but, even when everyone’s hearts are in the right place, there’s a big difference between saying a character is LGBT and actually letting that live and breathe in the context of a story.
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