Asgardian warrior Valkyrie is now officially the first LGBTQ superhero in the Marvel cinematic universe. And who better to blast this barrier with a Freudian crotch cannon than real-life LGBTQ icon Tessa Thompson?
Thompson teased the news Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con during the reveal of “Thor: Love and Thunder,” the upcoming fourth installment of the “Thor” franchise. Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige confirmed it to Gizmodo.
When asked whether “Love and Thunder” would have an LGBTQ storyline, Feige responded, “The answer is yes.”
“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,” he said.
This is great news for people who have fallen in love with Thompson’s not-completely-straight portrayal of Valkyrie. Thompson herself expressed disappointment that material more clearly revealing Valkyrie as bisexual was cut from 2017’s “Thor: Ragnarok,” but even without the confirmation, her character radiated bi energy.
There’s a very good reason for that: Just as anyone familiar with Marvel comics could have told you what happened after the big snap in “Infinity Wars,” they could also tell you that Valkyrie’s been bi — for years.
Valkyrie’s bisexual roots
In 2013’s Fearless Defenders series, Valkyrie had a tense will-they/won’t-they relationship with Dr. Annabelle Riggs, an archaeologist who made no secret of her attraction to the dreamy shieldmaiden. They literally kiss in the very first issue!
When Riggs (already in love) brings it up, Valkyrie delivers this devastating curve:
“I have lived for millennia,” she says. “Do you believe you are the first person I’ve rescued — man or woman — who has rewarded me with a kiss?”
Annabelle is eventually killed when Valkyrie temporarily transforms into the Doom Maiden of Rage. (Valkyrie is really the spirit of the Norse heroine Brunnhilde inhabiting a line of different host bodies, and you can think of a Doom Maiden as a dark squad of Valkyrior).
Valkyrie is so devastated by Annabelle’s death that she literally BRINGS HER BACK TO LIFE, and they SHARE A BODY. It gets even weirder from there, when Annabelle starts dating another lady, but still. It’s bisexual, guys.
Marvel’s LGBT roots
Although Valkyrie may now claim the title of the first LGBTQ superhero in MCU history, Marvel Comics has a few prominent LGBTQ characters in its lineup. The most famous is the X-Men franchise’s Northstar, who is considered the first openly gay comic book superhero. (Northstar has been around for decades, but you may recall that the character made waves again when he married his boyfriend in 2012 in another first: a gay superhero wedding.)
And, by the way, Marvel doesn’t have the market cornered on canonically LGBTQ characters. All the way back in 2016, Wonder Woman comic writer Greg Rucka confirmed that Wonder Woman is bisexual because of … well, the logic of the whole “living your entire life on an island of ladies” thing.
“It’s supposed to be paradise,” he said during an interview with Comicosity. “You’re supposed to be able to live happily. You’re supposed to be able — in a context where one can live happily, and part of what an individual needs for that happiness is to have a partner — to have a fulfilling, romantic and sexual relationship. And the only options are women.”
With that commentary, Diana’s line from 2017’s “Wonder Woman” movie pairs like a rare vintage wine: “When it comes to procreation, men are essential, but for pleasure … unnecessary.”
A new phase of representation
This weekend’s announcement of the next phase of Marvel’s TV and movie franchises has sparked serious conversations about representation. Aside from the Valkyrie news, the studio’s upcoming slate of projects is far more diverse than previous phases, especially when it comes to women.
Black Widow is getting her own standalone film in 2020, and Captain Marvel will be getting a sequel. Even bigger news? Natalie Portman, aka Jane Foster, will take up Thor’s hammer in “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Other projects, like “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” a second “Black Panther” film and the TV show “The Eternals,” will showcase racially diverse heroes, both super and human.
There’s no question that Marvel is aiming for more representation with its Phase 4 lineup, but when it comes to Valkyrie and her sexuality, the comics giant is just staying true to canon.