[Editor's note: The following post includes an extremely inconsequential spoiler for "Avengers: Endgame"]
"Avengers: Endgame" is set to make history at the box office this weekend with a worldwide launch above $800 million, but it's also making history for the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. An extremely brief moment in the Marvel tentpole features co-director Joe Russo playing a character who attends a grief counseling meeting to talk about losing his male partner in Thanos' snap. The moment is quick, but it's a milestone nonetheless as it represents the first openly gay moment in the MCU.
"Representation is really important," Joe Russo told Deadline about the moment. "It was important to us as we did four of these films, we wanted a gay character somewhere in them. We felt it was important that one of us play him, to ensure the integrity and show it is so important to the filmmakers that one of us is representing that. It is a perfect time, because one of the things that is compelling about the Marvel Universe moving forward is its focus on diversity."
While nothing has been confirmed by Disney or Marvel Studios, the rumor has it that Chloe Zhoe's upcoming MCU entry "The Eternals" will feature an openly gay superhero. Tessa Thompson has alluded to her "Thor" character, Valkyrie, being bisexual, although the character's sexuality was not discussed in "Thor: Ragnarok." Valkyrie is openly bisexual in the Marvel comic books.
"We wanted it to be casual, with the fact that the character is gay tied into the fabric of the storytelling and representing what everyday life is," Joe Russo said. "We're trying to represent everyone in everyday life. These are global movies that reach a lot of people. They are important to a lot of people and everyone has the right to see themselves on the screen and identify somewhere."
"We've seen it now even in countries where homosexuality isn't as free as it is here," Anthony Russo added. "It's actually one of those elements of these movies that I think resonates in challenged places in the world as well."
Joe concluded, "As filmmakers of a massive franchise we're saying, we support you."
"Avengers: Endgame" opens in theaters nationwide April 26.