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Did Thor: Love & Thunder Break Its Valkyrie LGBTQ+ Promise?

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Did Thor: Love & Thunder Break Its Valkyrie LGBTQ+ Promise?

Tessa Thompson suggested that Valkyrie’s first plan as king of New Asgard would be to find a queen. Did Thor: Love and Thunder deliver on this?

Warning: Contains spoilers for Thor: Love and Thunder

Early in production Thor: Love and Thunder promised to provide better LGBTQ+ representation for the MCU, but saying whether that promise was delivered on is more complex than it may appear. Since the MCU first began with Iron Man in 2008, it has rarely focused on romantic storylines. However, that is often not what representation is about and in the early days of the MCU the cast of characters were notably white, cisgender male, heterosexual figures. While changes have been made since then it is a developing area for the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Kevin Feige promising more LGBTQ+ characters back in 2018, which has begun to be fulfilled with movies like Eternals.

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A particular focus for the MCU’s LGBTQ+ has been on Tessa Thompson’s portrayal of the Asgardian hero Valkyrie, who is canonically bisexual in the comics. Introduced in Thor: Ragnarok, Valkyrie appeared in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame with her last story appearance seeing Thor make her king of Asgard when he left to travel with the Guardians of the Galaxy. When asked about the future of her character at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, Tessa Thompson said “First of all, as king, as new king [of Asgard], she needs to find her queen. So that will be the first order of business. She has some ideas. I’ll keep you posted,” seemingly promising an explicitly queer romantic storyline as a priority for the Valkyrie.


Related: Thor: Love & Thunder’s Unanswered Questions

Of course, Tessa Thompson does not get to write the movies, so whether that would come to fruition or not was always marked with a question mark. While Taika Waititi, who directed and co-wrote Thor: Love and Thunder, seems eager to portray LGBTQ+ relationships, as he did in Our Flag Means Death, even Waititi is limited by higher powers in Marvel and Disney. It has been revealed that Thor: Ragnarok originally included a scene that would have made Valkyrie’s bisexual identity more explicit, but it was cut from release to improve the flow of the film. So with another chance at the character, was the MCU able to keep their promise to provide an explicitly LGBTQ+ Valkyrie?

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How Love & Thunder Honored Its Valkyrie Promise

It is important to note that Valkyrie does not have a romantic plotline in Thor: Love and Thunder, let alone a full search for a queen as Tessa Thompson had previously telegraphed for the character. This could be chalked up to the fact that Valkyrie is a secondary character in the Thor: Love and Thunder story and adding a full romantic storyline for her would have made the film unwieldy and risked providing poor representation. While the lack of this narrative is disappointing, there are several ways that the fourth Thor movie does deliver on making Valkyrie explicitly LGBTQ+.

Talking about her appearances in Thor: Ragnarok, Tessa Thompson has stated that in the flashback that shows the death of the Valkyries, Thompson played her role imagining that the Valkyrie dying in front of her had been her romantic partner. Thor: Love and Thunder made this backstory for Valkyrie’s Thor: Ragnarok scene canon within the wider MCU with a conversation between Valkyrie and Korg. When Korg asks what is bothering her, he provides a long suggestion as to why she might be avoiding romantic entanglements which serve to state Thompson’s analysis of the Ragnarok scene and Valkyrie confirms that Korg is pretty much right.


There are multiple other small nods to Valkyrie’s LGBTQ+ sexuality in the MCU through Thor: Love and Thunder. As Thor, Mighty Thor, Korg, and Valkyrie depart from Omnipotence City, Valkyrie takes a notable moment to pause and kiss the hand of one of the women that had been standing beside Zeus as they share admiring looks at each other. Valkyrie assures Thor that they are both on the same “team” “team Jane,” alluding to old euphemisms around playing for teams as representing sexuality. Finally, just visible above Valkyrie’s head behind the bar on their boat, a set of rainbow neon lights can be seen while she and Korg are talking about her past love life.


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Related: Thor: Love & Thunder’s Villain Twists Explained

Why Love & Thunder Failed Valkyrie’s LGBTQ+ Story

While Thor: Love and Thunder makes Valkyrie’s LGBTQ+ story more explicit, there are some problematic elements to the way that it is presented outside of not providing the full romantic search for a queen that was suggested. While the story about Valkyrie’s past romance is included in MCU canon now, it comes from another character and not from her own mouth. It might have been uncharacteristic for Valkyrie to be so open about her past, but flashbacks or other narrative devices could have given Tessa Thompson’s character more agency in the reveal. With it coming from an external source and simply being confirmed by Valkyrie, it leaves the story in a realm of vagueness where it could be too easily altered at a later date.

There is another major issue with the Thor: Love and Thunder LGBTQ+ representation that goes beyond simply not delivering on the story that had been promised. Valkyrie’s queerer on-screen moments all seem to be carefully separated from the story and other on-screen events. Valkyrie’s kiss on the hand at Omnipotence City, her conversation with Korg, and her quips about Jane could all be easily edited out of the movie for more conservative audiences without any change to the larger arcs of Thor: Love and Thunder. This is also true for the other LGBTQ+ representation that was included in the movie but not directly tied to Valkyrie.


How Thor: Love & Thunder Sets Up Better LGBTQ+ Rep In The MCU

Alongside Thor: Love and Thunder’s LGBTQ+ representation surrounding Valkyrie, the movie revealed the sexuality of some other characters and has set up some additional queer characters and relationships for future releases. Most notable among these was Korg, voiced by director Taika Waititi, who revealed that in the MCU the Kronans are an all-male species and therefore he discusses his same-sex relationships. This is then extended in the Thor: Love and Thunder ending scenes to show that Korg has a romantic relationship with the mustachioed Dwayne and they have a child together. This representation is a mixed bag as there is some question over whether a single-gendered species counts as LGBTQ+ representation and the scenes are, like Valkyrie’s, easily cut. However, it is represented as a queer relationship and Korg discusses having two dads, which is important in its own way.

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The final two worthy mentions in Thor: Love and Thunders ending scenes are potential setups for future releases. Sif (Jaimie Alexander) ends the movie in New Asgard, training the young Asgardians. This places her alongside King Valkyrie and could easily set up a relationship between the two characters, which the actresses have both voiced an interest in seeing fulfilled. In the final Thor: Love and Thunder post-credits scene, Hercules (Brett Goldstein) is revealed to be entering the MCU. In Marvel comics, Hercules works with the Guardians of the Galaxy for a while and during this time starts a relationship with Noh-Varr, AKA Marvel Boy. Ultimately, Thor: Love and Thunder did not exactly deliver on the romantic narrative that was promised for Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie, but it does represent another small step in the right direction for Disney’s MCU LGBTQ+ representation.


Next: Thor: Love & Thunder Post-Credits Scenes Explained: New & Returning Heroes

Want more Thor: Love & Thunder articles? Check out our essential content below…



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  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

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Review: SAMARITAN, A Sly Stallone Superhero Stumble

Hitting the three-quarter-century mark usually means a retirement home, a nursing facility, or if you’re lucky to be blessed with relatively good health and savings to match, living in a gated community in Arizona or Florida.

For Sylvester Stallone, however, it means something else entirely: starring in the first superhero-centered film of his decades-long career in the much-delayed Samaritan. Unfortunately for Stallone and the audience on the other side of the screen, the derivative, turgid, forgettable results won’t get mentioned in a career retrospective, let alone among the ever-expanding list of must-see entries in a genre already well past its peak.

For Stallone, however, it’s better late than never when it involves the superhero genre. Maybe in getting a taste of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) with his walk-on role in the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel several years ago, Stallone thought anything Marvel can do, I can do even better (or just as good in the nebulous definition of the word).

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The property Stallone and his team found for him, Samaritan, a little-known graphic novel released by a small, almost negligible, publisher, certainly takes advantage of Stallone’s brute-force physicality and his often underrated talent for near-monosyllabic brooding (e.g., the Rambo series), but too often gives him to little do or say as the lone super-powered survivor, the so-called “Samaritan” of the title, of a lifelong rivalry with his brother, “Nemesis.” Two brothers entered a fire-ravaged building and while both were presumed dead, one brother did survive (Stallone’s Joe Smith, a garbageman by day, an appliance repairman by night).

In the Granite City of screenwriter Bragi F. Schut (Escape Room, Season of the Witch), the United States, and presumably the rest of the world, teeters on economic and political collapse, with a recession spiraling into a depression, steady gigs difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, and the city’s neighborhoods rocked by crime and violence. No one’s safe, not even 13-year-old Sam (Javon Walker), Joe’s neighbor.

When he’s not dodging bullies connected to a gang, he’s falling under the undue influence of Cyrus (Pilou Asbæk), a low-rent gang leader with an outsized ego and the conviction that he and only he can take on Nemesis’s mantle and along with that mantle, a hammer “forged in hate,” to orchestrate a Bane-like plan to plunge the city into chaos and become a wealthy power-broker in the process.

Schut’s woefully underwritten script takes a clumsy, haphazard approach to world-building, relying on a two-minute animated sequence to open Samaritan while a naive, worshipful Sam narrates Samaritan and Nemesis’s supposedly tragic, Cain and Abel-inspired backstory. Schut and director Julius Avery (Overlord) clumsily attempt to contrast Sam’s childish belief in messiah-like, superheroic saviors stepping in to save humanity from itself and its own worst excesses, but following that path leads to authoritarianism and fascism (ideas better, more thoroughly explored in Watchmen and The Boys).

While Sam continues to think otherwise, Stallone’s superhero, 25 years past his last, fatal encounter with his presumably deceased brother, obviously believes superheroes are the problem and not the solution (a somewhat reasonable position), but as Samaritan tracks Joe and Sam’s friendship, Sam giving Joe the son he never had, Joe giving Sam the father he lost to street violence well before the film’s opening scene, it gets closer and closer to embracing, if not outright endorsing Sam’s power fantasies, right through a literally and figuratively explosive ending. Might, as always, wins regardless of how righteous or justified the underlying action.

It’s what superhero audiences want, apparently, and what Samaritan uncritically delivers via a woefully under-rendered finale involving not just unconvincing CGI fire effects, but a videogame cut-scene quality Stallone in a late-film flashback sequence that’s meant to be subversively revelatory, but will instead lead to unintentional laughter for anyone who’s managed to sit the entirety of Samaritan’s one-hour and 40-minute running time.

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Samaritan is now streaming worldwide on Prime Video.

Samaritan

Cast
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Javon ‘Wanna’ Walton
  • Pilou Asbæk

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Matt Shakman Is In Talks To Direct ‘Fantastic Four’

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According to a new report, Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct the upcoming MCU project, Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios has been very hush-hush regarding Fantastic Four to the point where no official announcements have been made other than the film’s release date. No casting news or literally anything other than rumors has been released regarding the project. We know that Fantastic Four is slated for release on November 8th, 2024, and will be a part of Marvel’s Phase 6. There are also rumors that the cast of the new Fantastic Four will be announced at the D23 Expo on September 9th.

Fantastic Four is still over two years from release, and we assume we will hear more news about the project in the coming months. However, the idea of the Fantastic Four has already been introduced into the MCU. John Krasinski played Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The cameo was a huge deal for fans who have been waiting a long time for the Fantastic Four to enter the MCU. When Disney acquired Twenty Century Fox in 2019 we assumed that the Fox Marvel characters would eventually make their way into the MCU. It’s been 3 years and we already have had an X-Men and Fantastic Four cameo – even if they were from another universe.

Deadline is reporting that Wandavision’s Matt Shakman is in talks to direct Fantastic Four. Shakman served as the director for Wandavision and has had an extensive career. He directed two episodes of Game of Thrones and an episode of The Boys, and he had a long stint on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. There is nothing official yet, but Deadline’s sources say that Shakman is currently in talks for the job and things are headed in the right direction.

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To be honest, I was a bit more excited when Jon Watts was set to direct. I’m sure Shakman is a good director, but Watts proved he could handle a tentpole superhero film with Spider-Man: Homecoming. Wandavision was good, but Watts’ style would have been perfect for Fantastic Four. The film is probably one of the most anticipated films in Marvel’s upcoming slate films and they need to find the best person they can to direct. Is that Matt Shakman? It could be, but whoever takes the job must realize that Marvel has a lot riding on this movie. The other Fantastic Four films were awful and fans deserve better. Hopefully, Marvel knocks it out of the park as they usually do. You can see for yourself when Fantastic Four hits theaters on November 8th, 2024.

Film Synopsis: One of Marvel’s most iconic families makes it to the big screen: the Fantastic Four.

Source: Deadline

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Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase Star in ‘Zombie Town’ Mystery Teen Romancer (Exclusive)

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Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase have entered Zombie Town, a mystery teen romancer based on author R.L. Stine’s book of the same name.

The indie, now shooting in Ontario, also stars Henry Czerny and co-teen leads Marlon Kazadi and Madi Monroe. The ensemble cast includes Scott Thompson and Bruce McCulloch of the Canadian comedy show Kids in the Hall.

Canadian animator Peter Lepeniotis will direct Zombie Town. Stine’s kid’s book sees a quiet town upended when 12-year-old Mike and his friend, Karen, see a horror movie called Zombie Town and unexpectedly see the title characters leap off the screen and chase them through the theater.

Zombie Town will premiere in U.S. theaters before streaming on Hulu and then ABC Australia in 2023.

“We are delighted to bring the pages of R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town to the screen and equally thrilled to be working with such an exceptional cast and crew on this production. A three-time Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award winner with book sales of over $500 million, R.L. Stine has a phenomenal track record of crafting stories that engage and entertain audiences,” John Gillespie, Trimuse Entertainment founder and executive producer, said in a statement.

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Executive producers are Trimuse Entertainment, Toonz Media Group, Lookout Entertainment, Viva Pictures and Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates.  

Paco Alvarez and Mark Holdom of Trimuse negotiated the deal to acquire the rights to Stine’s Zombie Town book.

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