Warner Bros’ new DC film Birds of Prey will feature a gay supervillain, but it looks like he won’t be ‘explicitly gay’.
Black Mask, the movie’s main antagonist, is not openly gay in the comics.
However, multiple sources have said the masked wealthy crime lord is going to be gay but it will not be ‘explicitly stated’.
The sources told We Got This Covered the sexual tension between him and fellow villain Victor Zsasz will be ‘palpable’.
They also said the way he acts in general makes it ‘pretty clear’ he’s gay.
Ewan McGregor will be playing the villain, also known as Roman Sionis, in the DC film.
Why the ‘first gay supervillain’ in a DC film is not anything new
Coded gay villains are not anything new.
Disney has used this type of villain several times. ‘Coded gay characters’ are those that have the stereotypes of a gay man, whether it be voice, behavior, demeanor and dress. Audiences understand these characters are intended to be queer even if there are no actual same-sex love interests.
Examples include Scar from The Lion King, Governor Ratcliffe from Pocahontas, Captian Hook from Peter Pan and more.
Many fans believe this is no longer good enough – and is certainly not ground-breaking.
Petitions to give superheroes same-sex partners have been signed hundreds of thousands of times. Others also say a previous mention of a same-sex relationship or explicitly identifying as gay would at least be another step.
Marvel boss defends lack of LGBTI characters in films
President of Marvel Studios Kevin Fiege also defended the lack of LGBTI characters in his films.
‘That was never meant to be our first focused character,’ Feige told i09, discussing the tiny gay role played by director Joe Russo in Avengers: Endgame.
‘That was just meant to be a matter of fact and a matter of life and a matter of truth.’
He also said: ‘It was never meant to be looked at as our first hero. I guess it’s the first reference, so it does, of course, get a lot of attention.’
Feige teased that fans looking for more LGBT’ representation in the Marvel universe won’t have to wait long. He also promised LGBTQ characters will have bigger roles.
‘We haven’t been shy about saying that that’s coming and that there’s much more prominent LGBT heroes in the future,’ Feige said.
In Thor: Ragnarok, Tessa Thompson’s character, Valkyrie, was confirmed to be bisexual, though this was not depicted on-screen.
LGBTI inclusivity has become increasingly common in superhero TV series.
Actress Ruby Rose made history last year when she was cast as the openly lesbian Batwoman/Kate Kane in the upcoming CW series. She’ll be the first queer superhero to lead a TV or film series.
Trans actress Nicole Maines was also cast Nia Nal, also known as Dreamer, in Supergirl. This makes her the first trans superhero on TV.
DC Entertainment also announced they had cast 19-year-old deaf, trans actor, Chella Man as Jerico in their streaming series, Titans.