Marvel's The Eternals is reportedly looking to cast an openly gay actor in one of the lead roles, marking a first for the studio. After celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe last year, Marvel Studios is gearing up for what's sure to be a record-breaking 2019. Not only will the studio debut Captain Marvel - which marks both their first female-led solo movie as well as their first film co-directed by a woman - Avengers: Endgame will hit theaters and conclude Phase 3 of the MCU. Marvel and Sony will then kick off Phase 4 with Spider-Man: Far From Home, but beyond that, little is known about Marvel Studios' upcoming plans.
Marvel does have a handful of movies in various stages of development, like Black Widow, Black Panther 2, Doctor Strange 2, Shang-Chi and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but none have official release dates just yet. Still, one project in the works that may get a 2020 release date is The Eternals. Marvel officially put The Eternals into development last spring when the studio hired Matthew and Ryan Firpo to pen the script. Then, Marvel hired The Rider director Chloé Zhao to helm The Eternals last September, and the most recent word is the movie will start filming later this year. Now, some casting info reveals The Eternals could be a major step forward for Marvel Studios in terms of inclusive casting.
Related: Casting Marvel's Eternals Movie
According to That Hashtag Show, Marvel is looking to ideally cast an openly gay actor of any ethnicity, aged 30-49, who "physically looks like a superhero" as one of the film's leads. It's unclear at this time whether this character is one from the Marvel Comics - and if so, which character - or one teased in the previous character breakdowns for The Eternals. However, if Marvel does cast an openly gay actor in the role, it will mark the first MCU movie co-headlined by a member of the LGBTQ community.
The Eternals won't be the first Marvel superhero movie co-starring someone who identifies as part of the LGBTQ community - that honor goes to Ian McKellen as Magneto in the '00s X-Men movies. That original X-Men trilogy also featured Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler, Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde and Anna Paquin as Rogue. On the DC side, Ezra Miller has appeared in the Worlds of DC film franchise as The Flash while Matthew Bomer is currently starring in the Doom Patrol TV show as Negative Man - not to mention Wentworth Miller, Victor Garber and more in The CW's Arrowverse.
In many of these projects, the actors have played straight characters rather than characters who identify with the same sexuality as they do and it's unclear if that will be the case with Marvel's Eternals. Certainly, there are undoubtedly a number of superhero and comic book fans who are ready for Marvel Studios to introduce an openly gay character to the MCU, but it's unclear whether the studio - and its parent company Disney - are ready. Marvel Studios has made great strides in racial and gender diversity in recent years thanks to Black Panther, Ant-Man and the Wasp and Captain Marvel, but there's still plenty more to do before the MCU is truly as inclusive as fans would like it to be.
For now, it remains to be seen if Marvel does cast an openly gay actor in The Eternals and what that particular role entails. With The Eternals set to start filming later this year, though, the studio will likely announce casting news over the summer - if not sooner. Once the film has its cast, we should have a better idea of what to expect from Marvel's The Eternals.
Source: That Hashtag Show
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019