It’s official–he MCU finally has a confirmed LGBT character! According to Tessa Thompson (in response to someone else who was being antagonistic), her Thor: Ragnarok character Valkyrie is bisexual, just like how she is in the comic books.
She’s bi. And yes, she cares very little about what men think of her. What a joy to play! https://t.co/d0LZKTHCfL
— Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) October 21, 2017
She later tweeted this clarification.
YES! Val is Bi in the comics & I was faithful to that in her depiction. But her sexuality isn’t explicitly addressed in Thor: Ragnarok. https://t.co/hmb5lYN5to
— Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) October 23, 2017
When the news broke, the internet was decidedly of two camps–one who felt Thompson’s admission was proof of Marvel (aka Disney) finally giving much-needed bisexual representation, and the other, who felt like it was still Marvel/Disney trying to have their cake and eat it too.
Guess what? Both camps are right. Here’s why.
1. Yes, it is a step in the right direction
Even though an actor admitting that her character is still canonically bi shouldn’t be that big of a deal (i.e. when Ryan Reynolds said Deadpool was still going to be bi in his film adaptations), for a place as faux-liberal as Disney, it’s a very big deal. This is coming from a company that has created their Marvel franchise into a world of toxic and fragile masculinity, where even crying gets seen as a girly thing to do.
Even though fans have long had their speculations about certain characters, this is the first time anyone from the MCU has finally gone on record as saying their character is part of the LGBT spectrum. For many fans, this will mean they can finally, canonically claim someone as a positive representation. They’ll be able to go see Thor: Ragnarok and feel happy that finally there’s someone like them on screen. Also, for some, the fact that her sexuality isn’t expressed could be a positive; the ultimate goal for LGBT characters is for their sexuality to be treated like a non-issue; for some viewers, having it as a “non-issue” means that it’s not used as Valkyrie’s defining quality.
2. Valkyrie’s bisexuality not being physically represented could be a problem.
Comic book writer Gail Simone tweeted this sentiment, and I don’t think she’s alone.
I want to be happy about this but…
Dang it, why is this stuff still coded and ‘implied?’ https://t.co/jQLN227J2C
— GAIL SIMONE (@GailSimone) October 24, 2017
For as many people who are happy just to her that Valkyrie is still bisexual in the films, there are just as many who will feel like Disney hasn’t gone far enough. It’s one thing to have an actor say that their character is still canon-compliant as far as their sexual orientation goes; it’s another to actually have that character express that orientation on screen. If it’s not a big deal, then why can’t she be seen with a girlfriend or a boyfriend?
To be fair, Thompson implied to a Twitter follower that a blonde valkyrie seen with her character is, in fact, our Valkyrie’s girlfriend, but the implication is made with a winking emoji, not words. To use Simone’s words, it’s still an implication, not an outright fact.
What can we take from this?
To look at this thing from a macro view, Disney is a company that has many branches that don’t often work together. For instance, the Disney Channel is making its own network history by having its first openly gay storyline in its popular show Andi Mack. And earlier this year, Disney Junior showcased its first lesbian couple on the massively popular Doc McStuffins. ABC routinely focuses on LGBT storylines through How to Get Away with Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, Fresh Off the Boat, black-ish, When We Rise and The Real O’Neals (recently cancelled).
Disney proper has also dabbled with gay representation, to clumsy effect, in Beauty and the Beast (it’s the thought that counts, but still, it wasn’t as groundbreaking as it was made out to be, and it was made worse by Josh Gad severely backtracking for no reason). But while its offshoots have a much more nimble time delving into LGBT-friendly storylines, Disney itself has trouble, as evidenced by that Beauty and the Beast scenario and the severe lack of storylines in Lucasfilm and Marvel movies. Maybe Valkyrie is the first true step for LGBT representation in Marvel films. If that’s the case, then maybe their next foray will be less timid and more boisterous.
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Charles D. King’s inclusive production company MACRO is making headlines with its film Sorry to Bother You. The film, also co-produced by Significant Productions and MNM Creative, features Tessa Thompson, Lakeith Stanfield and Steven Yeun in leading roles. Omari Hardwick and Terry Crews have also been added to the cast along with Armie Hammer and Jermaine Fowler.
The film, written and directed by Boots Riley, focuses on a black telemarketer, played by Stanfield, who discovers a “magical key to business success”, which is actually just him using a white actor’s voice for a promotion. Due to his actions, he’s able to find out the macabre secrets of those at the top, and must decide if he wants to join the status quo or join his activist friends fight against the man.
Read more at Shadow and Act and Deadline.
Sci-fi is getting a little bit more diverse thanks to Annihilation. This movie has been low on the radar, but it’s about to blow up with the first images of Tessa Thompson and Gina Rodriguez exploring a beautiful, yet certainly dangerous, world, making the rounds again thanks to POCCinema.
Tessa Thompson and Gina Rodriguez on the set of Annihilation (2017). pic.twitter.com/HkPA4ABQra
— POC Cinema & TV (@POCCinema) March 24, 2017
Fans have already endeared themselves to Rodriguez and Thompson’s characters, with several excited that Rodriguez’s character is also a lesbian.
Annihilation – gina rodriguez will play a lesbian in this adaptation about 4 females who take part in a dangerous expedition into area X pic.twitter.com/DDUYOW9F6p
— ️ (@blanchetting) March 7, 2017
Gina Rodriguez: I actually happen to be a lesbian in my next film Annihilation.
— gay rich mac (@marygbrightside) February 28, 2017
so like. we get to see lesbian gina rodriguez in annihilation. pic.twitter.com/YA6eEUDa2h
— ️ (@ramislut) March 12, 2017
me remembering gina rodriguez is playing a lesbian in annihilation (2017) pic.twitter.com/7Bx8lqkQlJ
— r (@KORRSAMl) March 25, 2017
Gina Rodriguez plays a lesbian in a movie called Annihilation???
me in theaters watching Annihilation: pic.twitter.com/o0qel0lTr1
— sam (@korrasam) March 1, 2017
As far as I know, we haven’t gotten word on if Thompson’s character is also lesbian or at the very least, not straight, but we do have a lot of suggestive tweets and social media activity between Thompson and Rodriguez that are leading fans to hope that Rodriguez and Thompson’s characters are, in fact, an item.
@POCCinema @HereIsGina ??? was an honor to play alongside that dreamboat!
— Tessa Thompson (@TessaThompson_x) March 25, 2017
Me?! You know you my boo thang. My unicorn mermaid goddess of delicious. https://t.co/2K5JeXZXG7
— Gina Rodriguez (@HereIsGina) March 25, 2017
It is truly a blessed pairing. Can't wait to see more projects with the two of you. https://t.co/KFMe5b6cbr
— POC Cinema & TV (@POCCinema) March 25, 2017
Tessa Thompson & Gina Rodriguez filming Annihilation, giving me LIFE pic.twitter.com/0c2L3hHiCl
— ccc ✨? (@CCCrozz) June 17, 2016
What kind of relationship do you think Rodriguez and Thompson’s characters have in the movie? Leave your speculation below!
Annihilation is directed Alex Garland and stars alongside Thompson and Rodriguez Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sonoya Mizuno, Tuva Novotny, David Gyasi, Crystal Clarke, Bern Collaco, Honey Holmes, Kola Bokinni, and Mairead Armstrong. The film follows a team of female scientists on a secret expedition where “the laws of nature don’t apply.” The film will be in theaters September 2017
One of the coolest events is happening in Los Angeles tomorrow (Sat. Aug. 29) called the Blackout Music & Film Festival. The event, which will take place primarily at the GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live, will feature tons of entertainment, but also a socially conscious message of awareness and activism.
There are so many biopics that have yet to be made. But with the amount of biopics that have been created, one has to wonder why others are left out.
One biopic that I’m surprised no one has snapped up yet is the story of Lena Horne. Who wouldn’t want to see a period piece with Horne singing it up and fighting racial injustice, with the ultimate high point being seeing her play Glinda the Good Witch in The Wiz?
Who could play Horne, though? I have three suggestions.