“In Wonder Woman: Earth One, Vol. 1, the fierce Amazon warrior princess is bisexual. In Black Panther #1, two young lesbians rebel against a repressive system. It’s no coincidence the two publications arrived on April 6 this year, just weeks away from the release of two blockbuster movies that feature those particular heroes — Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War. Minus the LGBT characters and plotlines, of course. In fact, you won’t find a single queer character in any of the major Marvel and DC films so far. #SuperheroesSoStraight?
This isn’t just a superhero problem. On May 2, the media watchdog organization GLAAD released its annual Studio Responsibility Index and found that Hollywood movies “lag far behind other media when it comes to portraying LGBT characters.” But superhero films are Hollywood’s lifeblood right now; the first three superhero movies of 2016 have grossed a collective $2.4 billion worldwide and counting. Will there ever be a gay superhero on the big screen? Heck, will any superheroes even talk to gay people in a movie?
Not when these films have to appeal to audiences in every corner of the globe, even the homophobic ones. Studios don’t want to lose a single ticket buyer. “Any risk is scary,” explains a top studio executive. “When you are working at those megabudgets that have to work around the world and across all cultures, it invites homogeneity in a lot of ways. Every single decision has to become narrow.…”