Skip to main content

Home Culture Culture Film & TV

Thor: Love and Thunder just introduced a major LGBTQ hero to the MCU

The iconic hero's comic counterpart is bisexual - and Marvel should keep him that way on the big screen too.

By Will Stroude

Words: Tom Chapman; Image: YouTube

Warning – major spoilers for Thor: Love and Thunder follow

The Marvel Cinematic Universe definitely puts the love in Love and Thunder, as Taiki Waititi once again picks up Mjolnir for Thor’s fourth standalone. Alongside Chris Hemsworth’s buff God of Thunder taking the lead, we had the long-awaited return of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster – this time going under the mantle of the Mighty Thor. 

Although most of the story focused on Thor and Jane as the MCU’s own Ross and Rachel, there were others flying the rainbow-coloured flag. Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie stepped up to the plate as the “king” of New Asgard with some real boss b*tch energy, while Waititi himself voiced the fan-favourite Korg, who got his own gay backstory. The MCU may have taken some flak for its LGBTQ+ credentials (or lack of), but Thor: Love and Thunder’s post-credits put the pieces in place for a major Avenger to change this and wear the bisexual colours of pink, purple, and blue. 

Who Is Hercules In The MCU?

Expanding the already colossal MCU, Thor: Love and Thunder followed in Moon Knight‘s footsteps and dipped its toe in different mythologies. Entering Omnipotence City, we got a whistle-stop tour of Egyptian, Aztec, Mayan, and more mythologies. Congrats to anyone that got the joke of the Kronan rock god called Ninny of the Nonny sitting on a throne of scissors. As soon as Russell Crowe’s Zeus was announced for Love and Thunder, fans rightly speculated that his son would follow suit. Jump to the post-credits, and voila, Ted Lasso’s Brett Goldstein has secured himself a spot as Hercules.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Brett Goldstein (@mrbrettgoldstein)

Introduced in 1965’s Journey Into Mystery Annual #1, Hercules is effectively the Greek version of Thor. Instead of wielding a lightning-charged hammer, Hercules twirls a golden mace made of Adamantine. Love and Thunder ends with an enraged Zeus having survived a lightning bolt through the chest and recruiting Hercules to his cause. It’s unclear when Hercules will appear next, but much like the comics, expect him to debut as a frenemy of Thor. The pair will likely become BFFs before long, meaning a future roster of the Avengers should follow the comics and add Hercules to the team. This could be a huge milestone given Hercules’ bisexuality in (some of) the comics. 

Hercules seems to have a thing for Canadians and has dated both Northstar and an alternate reality version of Wolverine. Sadly, even Marvel Comics has taken a dim view of Hercules’ sexuality by retconning his past in more recent issues. In 2015, Marvel Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso addressed Hercules’ bisexuality when the character was announced for a new comic series. Back then, Alonso told CBR: “Hercules and James Howlett’s relationship in ‘X-Treme X-Men’ took place in a unique alternate universe, similar to how Colossus was gay in the Ultimate Universe, but is straight in the 616. Same goes for Hercules here.” 

Hercules was always portrayed as something of a boozing brawler in the comics, but it was at his funeral in 2010’s Hercules: Fall of an Avenger that it was first implied his womanising ways weren’t just aimed at women. Making Hercules bi in the MCU would help to separate the character from his frequent comparisons to Thor, and with the God of Thunder already surrounding himself with a diverse crew of LGBTQ+ characters, it also makes a lot of sense.

The MCU still has an LGBTQ+ problem

The MCU has made some moves recently, with Eternals’ Phastos being the franchise’s first out gay hero. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki was confirmed as bisexual in the Disney+ series of the same name, but sadly, he doesn’t appear in Love and Thunder. Valk has proudly spoken about her exes and even shared a brief bisexual moment with one of Zeus’ consorts, while Korg got his own happy ending and fell in love with a Kronan called Dwayne. With Zeus’ camp little trot – and penchant for orgies – it’s also implied he’s pansexual.

On the flip side of this, Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord is featured heavily, and we all know he’s something of a controversial figure right now due to his religious beliefs. Yeah, don’t expect Star-Lord to be coming out as bi or poly like his comic counterpart anytime soon. You only have to look at the drama surrounding Xochitl Gomez’s America Chavez to see we’ve still got a way to go. In the aftermath of Disney’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ drama, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was banned in several territories due to America’s backstory of having two mums. We didn’t even get to her own lesbian canon, which paints a grim picture of how the MCU will/won’t handle Hercules. 

Love and Thunder put itself in something of a corner when it touted itself as the queerest MCU movie yet. Portman and Waititi have been called out for saying the movie was “so gay,” with the pair being accused of cashing on the pink pound. Looking at the inevitable Thor 5, Waititi can finally make good on these promises if he returns to direct. Thompson has already called for that fan shipping of Valk and Captain Marvel to become a reality, telling Pink Villa, “She’s single. She’s ready to mingle. And I love, both in the comics, Carol and I… Brie Larson is a good friend of mine and I love spending time with her. So, I wouldn’t be mad at it, for sure.”

Despite criticisms that the MCU is doing a Lightyear and dodging its LGBTQ+ potential in favour of upholding Disney’s “family-friendly” persona, something’s got to give. Eternals was the start of a changing tide, but keeping Hercules bi can restore some faith in the franchise’s sometimes questionable decisions. Either way, we’ve come a long way from the white cis-dominated days of Thor, Cap, and Iron Man slapping each other’s asses in the Avengers locker room. The future of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes remains unclear, but with Valkyrie and now Hercules waiting in the wings to replace those fallen heroes, we should hopefully see more than just red, white, and blue on the team. 

Thor: Love and Thunder is in cinemas now.