Marvel Studios is promising to begin forcing transgender and gay superheroes into its popular action movies heading into its second decade of filmmaking.
It has already taken a small step in that direction in the last Avengers film by having a small scene early in the film depicting a man talking about his boyfriend. And when Marvel’s Spider-Man: Far From Home hits theaters it will mark the debut of transgender actor Zach Barack, the first openly acknowledged transgender actor to appear in a Marvel Studios film.
Variety took a few minutes to talk to the actor on the red carpet ahead of the film’s Hollywood premiere.
Some transgender activists may be disappointed by Barack’s role because the character is not described as transgender on screen. Indeed, Barack notes that the character is “open for interpretation.”
Still, Barack hopes that participation in the Marvel flick will open the door for transgender characters in the future.
“I also want intersectionality,” Barack said. “I’m also hoping that these characters can exist in a nuanced way….I do want to see myself represented on screen, so I do want to see a trans superhero or a queer superhero. And I want it to be hopefully someone who can draw from their experience in real life in that way – [to show] queer people are getting work too. But at the same time, I’m just happy these stories are being told.”
But Barack said that comic book superheroes are ideal to describe a transgender life due to the duality of many characters and their secret identities.
“For example, Peter Parker’s journey is a lot about balancing being a teenager and having this other part of your life,” Barack insisted. “And that is just so trans, it’s something that I absolutely think I’ve felt on a daily basis sometimes – especially being a transmasculine person because sometimes there’s a pressure to be a different way than I feel naturally inclined to do because I want to fit in, and I have to actively fight that instinct.”
“But the fact of the matter is, being in this movie is so beyond incredibly meaningful and I hope that it means something to other people,” Barack added.
The trans actor is not alone in the desire to push more transgenderism in Marvel movies.
“Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and producer Victoria Alonso have also been quoted saying that they hope and are planning for more LGBTQ representation in the Marvel universe,” Variety reminded readers.
DC Comics have already moved to include gay themes and characters in all its superhero TV series on the CW Network.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.