Marvel’s “Eternals” Sparks Controversy Over Its First LGBTQ Relationship


Marvel’s “Eternals” Features The First LGBTQ Relationship In The MCU

Anna Christensen, Staff Writer

Marvel’s new film Eternals is unlike any past Marvel movie. It has an ominous, darker approach with much less humor than Marvel traditionally includes, while still constructing a complex and vibrant plotline that, at times, was hard to wrap my head around. 

The film introduces the Eternals, an immortal race tasked with protecting Earth from the pernicious Deviants, waking up for the first time on a spaceship. Arishem, a godlike celestial, rules over the Eternals and sends them to Earth to wipe out the Deviants.

Despite introducing an entirely new set of Marvel characters, Director Chloe Zhao beautifully elucidates the origin and backstory to the universe and is able to tie together some of the loose ends put up by other films in the franchise. The film expands on Thanos’ history as well as the backstory of the celestials, the immortal and all-powerful creators of the universe, which make an appearance in both Guardians of the Galaxy films.

The movie stars Gemma Chan as Sersi and Richard Madden as Ikaris, as well as appearances from Kit Harington, Angelina Jolie, and Harry Styles.

What really set Eternals apart is that the film features the first gay relationship in the MCU, signifying a more diverse and inclusive future for the franchise. It features Phastos, played by Brian Tyree Henry, who is not only gay but married to Ben, played by Haaz Sleiman. 

Despite being one of the highest ranking and most popular studios in the world, Marvel certainly missed the mark in diversity in the past. There hasn’t been a single LGBTQ relationship in any of their films, despite there being seven confirmed gay characters in the comics on which the MCU is based. 

Although the inclusion of a gay relationship is a huge step for inclusivity in Marvel, the studio received harsh backlash. Before the movie was even released, thousands of trolls, called “review bombers,” flooded IMDb with one star reviews and negative comments, with one saying, “It is woke and sucky. Marvel is getting so political.” Consequently, the site was forced to close the audience review section to prevent the company from taking any more hits.

The film was banned in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar before it even hit the theaters. 

However, notable actors including Angelina Jolie, Kristen Stewart, and Kumail Nanjiani have already come forward to critique opponents of the gay relationship and voice their support for Marvel. The studio does not plan on wavering in their position and is full steam ahead for more diversity in the future. 

In an interview with Variety, president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige said, “There have been gay heroes before in the comics. . . It is more than past time in the movies. And this is just the start.”