Marvel’s Crazy Plan To Introduce New LGBTQ+ Hero Sets Internet Abuzz

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Kathryn Hahn as Agatha Harkness with Joe Locke and Kevin Feige

A heated debate is raging.

Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Report: Marvel to Introduce Gay Romance for ‘Captain Marvel’ Lead

Kevin Feige has held the position of President at Marvel Studios for an extended duration, where he has had the duty of supervising the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which is presently under the ownership of The Walt Disney Company. The MCU has left a significant and long-lasting impression on the superhero film genre and the entire movie industry, imprinting itself unmistakably, even in the face of varying viewpoints on the matter.

wanda-and-doctor-strange
Credit: Marvel Studios

The extensive storyline known as the Infinity Saga drew to its epic conclusion with the remarkable premieres of Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), marking the apex of Phase Three. As the franchise has gained immense popularity, the MCU has undoubtedly solidified its position as a formidable force in the world of entertainment.

 

agnes-from-wandavision- marvel agatha
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: Disney’s MCU Controversy: New Footage Reveals Scrapped LGBTQ+ Relationship

LGBTQ+ Representation in the MCU

In recent years, Marvel Studios has taken significant strides to enhance LGBTQ+ representation in its films and television productions. The commitment to diverse and inclusive storytelling has led to the gradual introduction of more LGBT+ characters and storylines within the Marvel universe.

Tom Hiddleston and Sophia Di Martino in Loki
Credit: Marvel Studios

One noteworthy example of LGBTQ+ inclusion was observed in the character Korg, an alien featured in the Thor franchise, who was revealed to be “gay.” This revelation stemmed from his species’ reproduction process, which involves a lava pit ritual where two Kronan men hold hands. Furthermore, in the Disney+ (Disney Plus) series Loki (2021), the titular character, portrayed by Tom Hiddleston, has been depicted as gender-fluid, aligning with the character’s representation in the original Norse mythology. Eternals (2021) also showcased Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos in a loving gay marriage.

Now, following confirmation by actress Tessa Thompson and director Taika Waititi for Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), respectively, that the character Valkyrie is bisexual, it appears that she may finally be on the path to finding love with another prominent female superhero.

Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie
Credit: Marvel Studios

A New (Controversial) LGBTQ+ Marvel Hero

Recently, the outlet Scarlet Witch News, which frequently reports on Marvel Studios projects that pertain to the character of Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) shared a leak from insider Grace Randolph. Randolph revealed that the upcoming Agatha: Darkhold Diaries (previously Agatha: Coven of Chaos and Agatha: House of Harkness) would bring Joe Locke (Heartstopper) into the Marvel mix as the iconic LGBTQ+ superhero Wiccan in a rather unconventional way.

Wiccan would come into being by the alleged “reincarnation” of Wanda Maximoff and the Vision’s son Billy Maximoff from WandaVision (2021) and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), into the “deceased body of a Jewish ‘LGBT teenager'”, Billy Kaplan (as played by Locke):

RUMOR: In ‘AGATHA: DARKHOLD DIARIES’, Wiccan’s origin will be a nod to the comics, in a way.🔮

Billy Maximoff’s soul will be reincarnated into the deceased body of a Jewish “LGBT teenager” (Joe Locke’s Billy Kaplan).

(via @GraceRandolph)

This would likely explain away Billy Maximoff’s actor changing from Julian Hilliard to Joe Locke seemingly out of nowhere.

Naturally, there was an uproar from fans of the Marvel Comics and the MCU alike calling this new approach “disgusting”, with users like @mont_616_pkmn explaining the “odd implications” from this change — seeing as in the comics, Billy Kaplan was Billy Maximoff’s soul that went back in time (due to devilish trickery) to “always have been” Billy Kaplan:

That is fundamentally different from the comics and has very odd implications. In the comics, the souls retro-reincarnate back in time so Billy has always been a son to Rebecca and Jeff Kaplan, and to Wanda, and grew up normally. No body stealing/anything of that nature.

Meanwhile, user @NahSonGross shares their hesitations with the choices by Marvel regarding the non-Jewish actor, and the potential erasure of Billy’s canonical queerness:

But Joe isn’t Jewish and I don’t love the quotes around LGBT teenager. Are they trying to imply Billy himself isn’t queer but since the body he inhabits was, he will be? Like what’s up with them quotes?

Other insider sources like @CanWeGetSomeToast then stepped in to explain their take on this convoluted Marvel plot, after fans began comparing the “body possession” to DC Studios’ DC Extended Universe (DCEU) film Wonder Woman 1984 (2020):

Re: Grace’s comments on Billy Maximoff’s soul situation and comparing it to WW84’s body possession in #AgathaDarkholdDiaries:

It’s not explicitly stated that WILLIAM is LGBTQ+. It’s clear that BILLY is the one who’s in love with his boyfriend, Eddie. It’s not so much a reincarnation, but more like a naked hermit crab finding an empty shell to live in.

Honestly, it’s not like WW84 in the slightest.

 

Even more interesting details come to light from the same source, who claims that it is more or less an “unknowing” series of events:

In WW84, Wonder Woman wishes for Steve Trevor to come back and he does so by possessing a living man’s body without his consent.

But in #AgathaDarholdDiaries, Billy’s soul unknowingly (on Wiccan survival instincts) enters a body as the body’s soul is exiting it. He’s amnesiac afterwards and doesn’t know who or what he is. After hearing about the “Westview Incident”, Billy seeks out Agatha for some help…

Currently, with the scant information available, the debate continues to rage on. Until we hear actual confirmation from Marvel however (or the show releases), it seems like fans will have to take all of this with a grain of salt.

What is clear though, is just how rainbow-tinged this new WandaVision spinoff will truly be. With Agatha Harkness’ (Kathryn Hahn) character also rumored to be in a same-sex relationship with Aubrey Plaza’s character, it seems like this new series will help to significantly propel the amount of openly LGBTQ+ representation in the MCU forward.

Do you think Marvel’s approach to bringing Wiccan/Billy Maximoff/Billy Kaplan into the MCU is problematic in any way? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Presently, two spinoff series stemming from WandaVision are playing a crucial role in expanding the storyline. These series include Vision Quest, which is anticipated to debut around 2025, and Agatha: Darkhold Diaries, centered around the character Agatha Harkness, portrayed by Kathryn Hahn.

However, beyond the expected casting of Kathryn Hahn as Agatha, who will lead a witches’ coven in the upcoming Marvel TV series, it has been officially disclosed that several actors, including Aubrey Plaza, Ali Ahn, and Maria Dizzia, have been chosen for roles that are currently veiled in secrecy. Among the most noteworthy of revelations is the casting of Joe Locke (Heartstopper), as Billy Maximoff/Billy Kaplan, Wanda’s son and the superhero Wiccan from Marvel Comics. Sorceress Jennifer Kale will also be portrayed by Sasheer Zamata. This creative direction appears to align closely with a “musical theater” style for the Disney+ show, drawing inspiration from the unexpected success of hits like “Agatha All Along.” This inclination is further supported by the fact that renowned lyricists and composers Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, known for their work on Broadway hits such as Book of Mormon and Disney’s Frozen, crafted the memorable jingles featured in WandaVision. Adding to the intrigue, Broadway icon Patti LuPone is set to assume the role of an elder witch named Lilia Calderu within the witches’ coven at the center of the series. Debra Jo Rupp as Mrs Hart, and Fred Melamed as Arthur Hart are also set to return.

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