Wow, that Avengers: Endgame had everything. It had action, drama, space flight, Giant-Man punching a flying lizard snake thing, yadda yadda yadda. It also had the first gay character in any of the Marvel movies, which was played by Joe Russo. Yes, this is the first time this sort of representation popped up in the sprawling universe, despite multiple calls for it.
Joe Russo enters the film in a gay character
The subject’s a passionate one for our directors Joe and Anthony Russo as well, the former of which plays the aforementioned gay character. “Representation is a very important for us in these movies,” Joe starts off saying in a recent interview. “We felt so strongly about it that I wanted to play the character in the film.” That’s one way to really nail what you’re trying to bring to the table, that’s for sure. Orson Welles did it, so why not Joe Russo? I’m not even being facetious.
Anthony chimed in afterwards and fleshed out the duo’s decision to incorporate a gay character into the film:
We had to have a voice in the movie that was outside of the Avengers. Sort of bringing the experience of what Thanos did into the narrative and filling out the narrative. That scene was very important to us because we wanted to reach beyond the Avengers to tell the story of what the snap did to people.
Major Spoilers: Avengers Endgame
Near the beginning of the film in the support group scene teased in trailers for Endgame, the MCU’s first openly gay character makes their debut. This gay character is played none other by Joe Russo, it’s not a huge dramatic moment. Steve is running the group, talking about the losses they’ve all suffered and the importance of moving forward with life. Joe’s character takes a turn to speak and talks about going out on his first date since the devastating snap, openly noting that his date is another man and that they both continue to have a difficult time dealing with the snap but are going out again soon.
It’s a very small role and a fairly brief moment — too much so, if you ask some who feel like the character isn’t significant enough or that it’s not really the first with their being LGBTQ characters some of the MCU-connected television shows — but still significant in that it shows a sense of normalcy and not just in terms of the whole dating-after-loss situation. The character is just a man who has suffered a loss and is trying to move on. His sexuality is secondary in context of the moment. But it was very important for the directors.
This isn’t the first time Joe has put himself into a Russo production, either. Credited under the name Gozie Agbo (what???), he’s popped up in The Winter Solider, Civil War and, most importantly, You, Me, and Dupree. Talk about a solid acting resume, with characters ranging from “Personnel Manager” to his character’s name in Endgame being “Grieving Man.”
A step in the right direction
So, this may not have been the big, super-powered representation that people were hoping for, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Marvel and the Russo brothers have their hearts in the right place, and it’s already been confirmed that one of the Eternals will be gay, so this must’ve been the push Disney needed.
Avengers: Endgame has changed the cinematic landscape in more than one way, it seems. Here is its trailer: