At 2019's San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios announced their next phase of films for the MCU's interconnected franchise. With films like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, The Eternals, and Thor: Love and Thunder, Marvel Studios was set to start exploring bold, uncharted territory.
Part of that uncharted territory would also be coming in terms of new forms of representation. Last July, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed that Valkyrie would get an LGBTQ+ storyline in the MCU, and Tessa Thompson later joined in on the conversation, stating “As new king, she needs to find her queen. That will be her first order of business. She has some ideas. Keep you posted.”
In her Variety Actors on Actors interview with Ramy Youssef, Thor: Ragnarok actress Tessa Thompson, who played Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame, talked about what the future of representation looks like for the MCU. Thompson states:
I think in this next phase of Marvel, we're really talking about what representation looks like in those spaces. Because the truth is these movies travel globally in such huge ways, and if you can represent people that are of color, if you can represent people with disabilities, if you can represent the LGBTQIA community inside of these films, it's a pretty big deal. There's millions and millions of people, particularly young people, that show up to the cinema. And I think if you can show them something that looks like them, they feel valued. Particularly inside of these narratives of the comic books, that's what it's all about. It’s that our differences make us special.
Thompson later discussed what that representation would mean for her character in particular, saying:
I'm really excited that we're able to continue to push the bounds of that and that I'm able to do that with Valkyrie, because there's so many cool queer characters in the comic books and they should have a place on-screen.
The entire conversation can be seen around the 54:00 minute mark of the video.
WHAT THIS MEANS
It looks like Marvel will not be shying away from Valkyrie's sexuality in the character's future. While Feige's initial comments revealed that the extent of Valkyrie's LGBTQ+ storyline in Thor: Love and Thunder would "remain to be seen," Thompson's comments seem to suggest that it will be completely front and center.
Marvel Studios has been the center of some controversy in the past for not including any LGBTQ+ superheroes in the entirety of their twenty-three film slate. However, last year's D23 brought the news that The Eternals would feature an openly gay character, and with Thompson's Valkyrie also being openly queer, it looks as if Marvel Studios is truly working to bring increased representation to their films.
Being the global phenomenon that it is, the Marvel Cinematic Universe definitely has a lot of responsibility to represent the audiences that watch their films. It's reassuring to hear actors like Tessa Thompson understand that, making an effort to work with the studio in terms of mapping out what that representation should look like. It still remains to be seen which other LGBTQ+ characters will be brought to the big screen in the MCU's future, but per Thompson's comments, it seems like Thor: Love and Thunder will indeed be giving Valkyrie her queen.