Last week we reported on news that an early screening on scenes from Marvel’s upcoming Black Panther had suggested there might be a couple of LGBT characters in the movie. However, after the likes of Vanity Fair praised this seeming step forward for the Comic Book Universe, Marvel has stepped forward to say it’s not happening.
The scene involves a flirtatious exchange between Danai Gurira’s Okuye and Florence Kasumba Ayo, who in the comics serve as the ceremonial guard of Black Panther, and help protect the Wakandan royal family. In the 2016 comic World of Wakanda by Ta-Nehisi Coates, the two women are a couple, leading many to believe the scene shown meant this would be followed through in the movie.
However, a Marvel spokesperson has now stepped forward to say, via Yahoo!, to say ‘the nature of the relationship between Danai Gurira’s Okoye and Florence Kasumba’s Ayo in Black Panther is not a romantic one and that specific love storyline from the comic World of Wakanda was not used as a source’.
Understandably that statement has caused a bit of a backlash on social media. Marvel has already been roundly criticised for not including any openly LGBT characters in its movies. Although the studio, including head honcho Kevin Feige, has suggested that it will probably happen one day, they’ve said it would have to be organic to the story. With Black Panther, it appears they’ve taken two characters who are canonically LGBT and decided just to ignore that side of them. It does seem like a major missed opportunity.