There’s been growing criticism of Marvel and DC’s superhero universes (as well as Fox’s X-Men), that despite a wealth of LGBT characters and stories in the comic books, the movies have stayed resolutely straight. However, now some footage has screened suggested that Marvel will be getting a little more gay with the upcoming Black Panther.
The film will feature Walking Dead star Danai Gurira, Florence Kasumba (who also played the same role in Captain America: Civil War, and Lupita Nyong’o as the Dora Milaje, who in the comics serve as the ceremonial guard of Black Panther, and help protect the Wakandan royal family. The footage that’s screened suggests the movie will be taking some of the storyline of the 2016 comic World of Wakanda by Ta-Nehisi Coates, which focused on the relationship between Ayo and Aneka (played in the movie by Gurira and Kasumba).
Vanity Fair reports that in the footage, ‘We see Gurira’s Okoye and Kasumba’s Ayo swaying rhythmically back in formation with the rest of their team. Okoye eyes Ayo flirtatiously for a long time as the camera pans in on them. Eventually, she says, appreciatively and appraisingly, “You look good.” Ayo responds in kind. Okoye grins and replies, “I know.”’
The magazine suggests this will be a more prominent LGBT storyline than the ‘exclusively gay moment’ in Beauty & The Beast that left many feeling underwhelmed. However, it’s difficult to know whether they’re basing this solely on the scene shown in the preview footage, as if so, we may still be left with something that hints about the characters’ sexuality without actually saying it. We will just have to wait and see, although it is telling that Disney/Marvel chose to screen a scene with very obvious gay undertones as part of the few minutes of footage they showed. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out in the movie.
Black Panther is due in cinemas February 2018, with Chadwick Boseman reprising the title role which he first played in Captain America: Civil War.