Valkyrie: The First LGBTQ Character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

By Naomi Canny

Through the years Marvel Comics has created a diverse array of characters that range in powers and backgrounds. Despite the media’s strictly heterosexual portrayal of the Marvel characters, many LGBTQ+ characters were introduced in the comics. The first openly gay Marvel character was Northstar from the X-Men series, who was first introduced in the Uncanny X-Men in 1979 and featured in the Alpha Flight comic series Writers had originally intended him to be gay; however, Jim Shooter refused to include LGBTQ characters in the comics. 

Finally, in 1992, writer Scott Lobdell was given permission to portray Northstar as openly gay in Alpha Flight #106. More recently, the character married his boyfriend in 2012. 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has strictly heterosexual characters, although many LGBTQ+ characters were created in the comics such as Raven Darkholme (Mystique) and Mary Jane Watson from Spider-Man, but were never depicted as gay in the films. This changes now.

In Thor: Ragnarok, viewers were introduced to a new heroine known as Valkyrie, who also appeared at the end of Avengers: Endgame. Although the scene in which Valkyrie’s sexuality was revealed in the film was cut out, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed the fact that Valkyrie is, in fact, bisexual.

The scene originally showed a kiss between anthropologist Annabelle Riggs and Valkyrie, a romance that was also included in the comic series. Thompson convinced director Taika Waititi to film a woman walking out from Valkyrie’s bedroom, but according to a Rolling Stone article, that part of the film had to be cut because it “distracted from the scene’s vital exposition.” However, Feige has confirmed that Valkyrie will be shown as explicitly bisexual in the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, which was revealed to have a release date in 2021.

Tessa Thompson, who portrays Valkyrie in the cinematic universe, is bisexual off-screen and strongly supports the idea of Valkyrie being in a relationship with a woman. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Thompson revealed that she was romantically involved with actress and singer Janelle Monae after lots of fans suspected the two were together.

Many Marvel fans have speculated that Carol Danvers, or Captain Marvel, could be queer, and therefore could form a romantic arc with Valkyrie. Although Danvers was portrayed as heterosexual in the comics, she helped raise a child with Valkyrie, and her sexuality is not defined in the cinematic universe. When fans began to ship the two characters, the actresses Brie Larson and Tessa Thompson expressed their approval on social media. However, it is unknown whether the two will actually be in a relationship.

The MCU has many films planned for 2021, including a new Doctor Strange installment and the fourth Thor movie, in which Jane Foster, played by Natalie Portman, will wield Thor’s hammer. The storyline for the new film is unknown, but one thing fans can look forward to is the representation of Valkyrie’s bisexuality (finally) on the big screen.

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