The 2019 superhero blockbuster film Avengers: Endgame closed out the spectacular third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The forthcoming Phase Four lineup promises to be even bigger than that of its predecessors, widening the breadth of the MCU with the introduction of new, even more powerful superheroes. Among these new additions are the Eternals, one of whom will be the MCU’s very first openly gay superhero.
The Eternals is set to premiere in theaters in November and will weave in the group of aliens into the fabric of the intricate superhero universe. Created by Celestials, the Eternals are a team of godlike immortals with special powers who come out of hiding when their mortal enemies threaten the safety of the Earth.
Brian Tyree Henry (If Beale Street Could Talk) will play the powerful Phastos in the film. Phastos, an Eternal gifted with superior intellect and cosmic inventing abilities, is also the universe's very first openly gay superhero.
Tyree's onscreen husband will be played by Haaz Sleiman (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan), and the actor opened up about the groundbreaking role in conversation with New Now Next. "I’m married to the gay superhero Phastos, played by Atlanta’s Brian Tyree Henry," Sleiman said. "And we represent a gay family and have a child."
The inclusion of a queer character in the MCU has been a long time coming, but many are still surprised that Phastos is the franchise's pick. When Thor: Love and Thunder was announced at Comic-Con in 2019, fans were excited because its storyline could introduce the universe's very first queer superhero. In the comic Angela: Asgard’s Assassin, Marvel lovers are introduced to Sera; she descended from the Anchorite of Heben (a group of all-male angels) and was assigned male at birth.
We don't know if Marvel mastermind Kevin Feige will include Sera in the fourth Thor film — or whether beloved character Valkyrie will be more than "coded" as bisexual going forward — but Phastos is definitely gay. He and his husband will even share a kiss on screen, an important first in the MCU.
"It’s a beautiful, very moving kiss. Everyone cried on set," Sleiman revealed. "For me, it’s very important to show how loving and beautiful a queer family can be."
Sleiman and Henry filmed the mega movie alongside an A-list cast of actors; Angelina Jolie, Don Lee, Kumail Nanjiani and his six-pack, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Lia McHugh, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, and Game of Thrones stars Kit Harington and Richard Madden will all join the Atlanta star in the bloody battle for the Earth.
We were already planning to see The Eternals, but now we're running, not walking, to theaters come November.