The Thor franchise has a new leading lady, and her superpower may be representing the LGBTQ community within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Ever since it was announced that Tessa Thompson would portray Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok, the third instalment of the Chris Hemsworth-starring series, fans speculated about a romance between the hammer-loving Avenger and the warrior. We'll have to wait until Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters on 27th October to know if Valkyrie and Thor have a love story, but whether they do or not, it's clear the new character will be more than "Thor's new girlfriend." No matter what Valkyrie does onscreen (which, as far as we can tell from the Thor: Ragnarok trailers, is kicking ass and taking names), she will also represent an underserved community within the Marvel movies.
Thanks to a tweet from Thompson, we know Valkyrie will be a part of the LGBTQ community, which is a breath of fresh air, considering that the MCU has, at least so far, skewed heterosexual.
In response to a fan who stated that Valkyrie was a lesbian in the comics, Thompson wrote:
"She’s bi. And yes, she cares very little about what men think of her. What a joy to play!"
In the comics, it is teased that Valkyrie and Marvel character Annabelle Riggs (an out lesbian) have feelings for one another. Sadly, Annabelle dies before she and Valkyrie can give a romance a go. (They then end up sharing a body after Valkyrie brings Annabelle back from the dead, which, well, is a whole other thing.)
Thompson later tweeted that while Valkyrie is canonically bisexual, we might not get that from Thor: Ragnarok.
"YES! Val is Bi in the comics & I was faithful to that in her depiction. But her sexuality isn’t explicitly addressed in Thor: Ragnarok."
As awesome as it is to have an out character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I'm more hopeful that we'll get an LGBTQ love story of some kind in future films. Not because Marvel's primary focus should be romance (even when they do it well, it's not what people show up for), but because, as wonderful as a bisexual character is onscreen, some acknowledgement of a relationship that isn't heterosexual would be particularly powerful.
No matter what the universe has in store for Thompson's character, I'm hopeful she'll be as much of a joy to watch as she is for the actress to portray.