Marvel is reportedly planning to make Greek demi-god Hercules its first gay superhero on film in upcoming blockbuster The Eternals.
The groundbreaking move, reported by news site MCU Cosmic, follows the news last month that Marvel was searching for a gay male actor to play the film’s lead.
The studio was looking to cast a man between the ages of 30 and 49 who is preferably open about their sexuality and able to “physically look like a superhero,” according to popular culture site That Hashtag Show.
If Hercules does end up being queer in The Eternals, it would be backed up by Marvel’s comics. In 2013, Marvel strip “X-Treme X-Men” featured Hercules and Wolverine declaring their love for each other and kissing.
Fans are excited by the prospect of a gay superhero in Marvel’s The Eternals
The idea of Marvel finally featuring an openly queer superhero has excited many fans of the cinematic universe.
One tweeted: “I just read a rumour that the lead for the new Eternals MCU series is Hercules and he’s going to be openly gay. Please be true .”
Another was extremely honest about their feelings, writing: “I will be ecstatic (and frankly turned on) if they really make Hercules’ gay ass the leader of the Eternals, in the MCU.”
One person wrote: “I need an openly gay Hercules in my life tho.”
And another fan simply commented: “That would be AMAZING!!!”
Who are the Eternals?
Created by legendary Marvel writer Jack Kirby, the Eternals are enhanced genetic offshoots of early humanity.
The Eternals most notably fought enemies called Deviants. While Eternals possess god-like powers and are seen as beautiful, Deviants are believed to be physically displeasing.
That said, they are highly intelligent and supposedly developed advanced technology before humans stopped cave-dwelling.
Production of The Eternals is reportedly set to kick off in the UK on September 9 this year and continue into January 2020.
Why would this be Marvel’s first gay superhero?
When Avengers: Infinity War came out to the public last year, with dozens of superheroes, the lack of LGBT representation was painfully clear.
After all, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) contains precisely zero queer superheroes.
The all-conquering studio has had opportunities to incorporate any its many LGBT+ characters into its global blockbusters but has decided not to do so every single time.
This has meant erasing scenes which explicitly reveal a queer character’s sexuality, as happened with Thor: Ragnarok‘s Valkyrie.
It has also meant ignoring canon developed for years, sometimes even decades, in the pages of Marvel’s comic books.
For instance, Black Panther‘s lesbian couple were simply rewritten as straight, their queerness completely erased from the incredibly successful film.