If you’ve paid much attention to the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the years, you may have noticed two things regarding representation: that Marvel is slow to progress, but that it also responds to pressure. Over the years the almost total concentration on straight, white, male leads became more noticeable, leading to louder and louder calls for diversity, and ultimately to Black Panther and Captain Marvel - the company’s first films starring minority and female leads, respectively. What’s still missing, though, is a character representative of LGBTQ culture in a leading superhero role.


There are some rumors that such characters have already been sprinkled into the MCU in secret. For instance, Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) may well be lesbian or bisexual, but to this point we’ve seen her in a full solo film and a few scenes of Avengers: Endgame without getting any sort of clear indication. HerculesMarvel2Tessa Thompson, meanwhile, has stated publicly that her character, Valkyrie, is bisexual - but to this point, the character’s sexuality really hasn’t come into play one way or the other (because a relevant scene was cut from Thor: Ragnarok). A known, openly gay or bisexual character still has yet to lead the way in a Marvel project.

Now, though, there seem to be somewhat concrete rumors about such a character emerging. While Marvel boss Kevin Feige has been a bit coy about it (he hints that an openly gay character is coming and talks vaguely about the importance of representation), the MCU can’t hold out much longer; judging by how Black Panther and Captain Marvel responded to pressure, it’s a matter of time. And what we’re hearing now is that a film rumored to be around the corner - The Eternals - could feature a gay male lead in the form of Marvel’s Hercules.

This doesn’t mean anything is definite just yet. Marvel has even been somewhat iffy about confirming the existence of The Eternals at all, let alone its lead character - let alone that said character will be openly gay. Nevertheless, the mere possibility got us thinking about the path forward for Hercules if he is indeed on his way to the MCU.

New Comics

Not all film-focused MCU fans tend to notice it, but a lot of Marvel’s cinematic material has been based on or at least built up by relatively recent comic book material. That is to say, whether a new story directly influences a story or just gets the comic book community interested in a given character or superhero team again, the comics have played a sort of hidden role in everything. Considering this, it would seem that the most constructive first step in promoting Hercules would be for the company to sanction a fresh run of comics as soon as possible. It would drive some interest and potentially make the character and The Eternals more relevant in pop culture leading up to the release.

Video Game Appearances

Marvel has in the past done well introducing new characters through smaller video games. It’s closed some of these avenues, most notably in the international, digital casino category. In the UK, New Zealand, and Australia, sites promoting themed slot games have grown more popular and easier to access, with appealing payment methods and exciting game selections. And those selections once included Marvel characters, before the company pulled its content from gambling sites. Similarly, Marvel’s mobile games have commonly been used to promote characters, and though they’re still doing so, they don’t seem to be the major focal points they once were for the company. This is all in service of Marvel’s emphasis on console games, but it still begs the question of if, or where, a Hercules character could be introduced. Even plugging him into a mobile title like Contest Of Champions could put him on fans' radar.


A Post-Credits Tease

This is the simplest idea here, but in keeping with Marvel tradition, Hercules should also probably appear in a post-credits tease in whatever film precedes The Eternals. It’s hard to say exactly what film that might be, given that Marvel has kept its post-Endgame material somewhat close to the chest. But whether it’s Black Panther 2, the next Guardians/Thor mashup, or anything else, a hint of Hercules after the credits would certainly help to get people excited.

Exciting Casting

Naturally, a casting decision can make or break any character, and an exciting announcement would do more than anything else to boost interest in Hercules before The Eternals. Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, and Kumail Nanjiani are all rumored to be attached already, but it’s believed that the possible Hercules part has yet to be cast. The important thing here will be for Marvel to cast an LGBTQ actor in the part (or the studio will undoubtedly face backlash, and rightfully so). This makes for some interesting possibilities, but among openly gay performers, we have a few ideas just for fun: the dashing Matt Bomer, best known for his TV role in White Collar; the pro wrestler Darren Young (if Marvel takes a route more akin to Dwayne Johnson’s Hercules role); and, if the character is a little bit older, one-time Baywatch star Jason Simmons, who could look the part with ease!

 

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