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Stars of Marvel’s Eternals gush over the film’s historic gay representation

Haaz Sleiman and Brian Tyree Henry will play a gay spouse and gay superhero, Phastos, in Marvel's "The Eternals"
Haaz Sleiman and Brian Tyree HenryPhoto: icmags/Gage Skidmore – CC-by-2.0/3.0)

Marvel’s upcoming movie, Eternals, has made headlines for featuring the first out gay couple in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Gay actor Haaz Sleiman will play the husband of Phastos, the first gay superhero to appear in a Marvel Studio film. Phastos is played by Brian Tyree Henry, and the couple will also have a child.

Related: Lance Bass & his husband welcome newborn twins

At the film’s Hollywood premiere Monday night, the stars shared their pride in being part of this historic movie.

“It’s lifesaving,” Sleiman said in an interview with Variety. “I wish I had that when I was a kid growing up to see this. My God, I wish. Can you imagine how many lives this is going to be saving? Kids, young queer folks who are either being bullied, committing suicide, not seeing themselves represented and now they get to see this. It’s above and beyond.”

Sleiman also praised the fact that both men in the couple are people of color.

“That is so huge. Marvel and Disney could not be any more global.”

In an earlier interview  with NewNowNext, Sleiman also praised the film for including a kiss between the couple.

“It’s a beautiful, very moving kiss,” he said. “Everyone cried on set. For me it’s very important to show how loving and beautiful a queer family can be.”

Kit Harrington, who stars as human and museum worker Dane Whitman in the film, also told Variety that he is excited to be part of such an inclusive film.

“I think it’s taken a while and surprisingly so, actually, but this movie is addressing that very much so, and I’m proud to be in that movie.”

Screenwriter Kaz Firpo also extolled the film’s gay representation, saying he grew up with two moms and the film reflects real life. “I think the way [Director Chloé Zhao] has brought it to life is beautiful, it’s very nuanced. We’re not screaming it from the hilltops, it’s just showing this is real life and these are real people.”

The film will hit theaters November 5. A trailer released earlier this month shows a glimpse of the gay couple with their child.

The film may mark the first of several queer on-screen representations Marvel fans can expect in the near future.

In the upcoming film Thor: Love and Thunder — the fourth film installment of the Norse-inspired series due out in November — out actress Tessa Thompson will play Marvel’s first explicitly LGBTQ character reprising her role as Valkyrie, a former slave-trader now seeking a queen to rule at her side in New Asgard.

In August 2019, Marvel also put out a casting call for a “transwoman actress of any ethnicity in her 20s to 30s,” leaving fans to wonder which film the trans actress might appear in.

It’s been an inclusive month for comic book characters, overall, too, as DC Comics recently announced that the new Superman will soon come out as bisexual.

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