The Walt Disney Company and Marvel Studios, having promised to commit to 50% of their characters being “LGBTQIA and racial minorities”, have finally decided to step up to the plate when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation.
After previously coming under fire for cutting LGBTQ+ scenes in the popular animated film Turning Red (2022), Disney and Marvel seem to be putting their money where their mouth is with this recent string of casting announcements.
Marvel Studios has just cast their second ever non-binary actor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) — acting alongside RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Shea Couleé, the first non-binary actor that Marvel cast, also in Ironheart (2023).
The Australian actor Zoe Terakes (Wentworth) has just been cast in an undisclosed role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s new Phase Five offering, Ironheart — a film starring Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams, as she takes on the role of the superhero Ironheart, after Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) Iron Man.
22 year-old Terakes identifies as a non-binary trans masculine and is best known for their role in the critically acclaimed prison drama series Wentworth (2013), where they played the character Reb Keane. They are also known for their role as Glory in Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers (2021), alongside stars like Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy.
Although we don’t know what exact role Terakes is playing as of yet, it’s been made clear that they have been cast in a “key role”.
It seems that the Walt Disney Company and Marvel Studios are doubling down on LGBTQ+ and minority representation, now. These historic casting announcements come on the heels of the first ever openly gay couple to be portrayed in a Disney animation coming to screens this Thanksgiving season, as well as the MCU’s Taika Waititi-directed Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) being banned in multiple places for implied LGBTQ+, forcing Disney to pull its release from whole countries.
This isn’t even mentioning the whole Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) or Lightyear (2022) “gay representation” debacles. Overall, it seems like Disney are finally sticking to their guns on this matter.
What do you think of this Ironheart casting announcement? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s dramatic ending to Phase Three, Avengers: Endgame directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, saying goodbye to Marvel heavyweights Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man and Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America. This led to the beginning of Phase Four with the Disney+ Original WandaVision, starring Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) and Paul Bettany (Vision) back in 2021. Marvel went full steam ahead, releasing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) starring Simu Liu (Shang-Chi), Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) with Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire all as their own separate, Multiversal version of Peter Parker, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) with Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange) and most recently, Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) with Chris Hemsworth (Thor Odinson) and Natalie Portman (Jane Foster/Mighty Thor).
Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe wraps things up with Tatiana Maslany as the eponymous She-Hulk: Attorney at Law this August 17, 2022, and Chadwick Boseman as King T’Challa send-off Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, November 11, 2022 later this year.
The newly announced MCU Phase Five kicks off with Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania with Scott Lang as Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Janet van Dyne as the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly) hitting theatres on February 17, 2023, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)-centric Secret Invasion in Spring that year, before May 5, 2023 brings us the final James Gunn-directed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 with Peter Quill AKA Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), and July 28, 2023 takes us to new cosmic heights with The Marvels, a direct sequel to Captain Marvel (2019) starring Brie Larson as Carol Danvers and newcomer Iman Vellani (Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel).
We can expect the Disney+ Original Ironheart featuring Riri Williams (Dominique Thorne) Fall 2023, as well as the brand new Blade in November, with 2023 ending in Agatha: Coven of Chaos and 2024 starting with Daredevil: Born Again – both Disney+ exclusives.
Phase Six will surely break new records with Fantastic Four in November 8, 2024, and likely the biggest announcements to date – a return to an Avengers-level threat with the Multiverse Saga’s conclusion in May 2025’s Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and November’s Avengers: Secret Wars.