Updated: Aug 9, 2019
Most of my timeline’s responses to the Thor: Love and Thunder announcement could be summarized with this:
Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, announced the upcoming fourth Thor film at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. He confirmed that Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi would return, that Natalie Portman’s Jane would take on the mantle of Mighty Thor, and that Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie would be explicitly, canonically queer in the new movie.
As with any coming out moment, some people took to Twitter to remind us all that this isn’t news! “We been knew” about Valkyrie’s bisexuality! It’s well established in the comics. In Ragnarok, Valkyrie mourned the loss of her (assumed) lover / fellow Asgardian warrior. Tessa Thompson herself has been tweeting about Valkyrie’s bisexuality since 2017.
And, I mean, there’s always this:
Even with all of that, though, not everyone knows. A cut scene from the 2017 film would have officially confirmed her interest in women, but the scene did not make it beyond the editing bay. This led to the super fun moment post-Avengers: Endgame where people congratulated the Russo Brothers for featuring the first openly gay character in the MCU.
You might remember that guy, portrayed by Joe Russo, who cried in a mid-blip support group and was never seen again.
We can know all we want, but it’s what we do with that knowledge that matters. In 2019, queer women have quite a few options when it comes to movies featuring WLW/queer representation. Intense coming-of-age / coming out movies? We’ve got that. Award-winning period dramas? We’ve got those too. But compelling genre stories, featuring textured, openly queer ladies with strong weapons, power, and whole worlds to defend? We don’t have nearly enough of that, and certainly not on the scale of a billion dollar franchise like the MCU.
Valkyrie earned the title of king when she spent the better portion of the last five years taking care of the remaining Asgardians. She has had more character development in three movies than most characters ever get. At this point, she could keep going on alone, cracking jokes with her buddies, Thor and Bruce, like she’s done in the last few films. But what does it say if we can only ever see her — and most queer women in this genre — fighting, dying, or drunkenly swaggering across the room? Are we only fighters, or are we fully formed beings who deserve to be loved out loud on the big screen?
Valkyrie deserves a queen and a celebration for fighting through her grief, her alcoholism, and the very real possibility that Thanos could’ve wiped them all out in that last battle. She deserves a queen because decades of legends have taught us that heroes get the girl, and she’s one hell of a hero. Above all, Valkyrie deserves a queen because we all deserve to share our lives with someone.
The MCU has a reach far beyond any independent queer film. Their movies are vivid, emotionally evocative, and the sort of thing that someone who isn’t openly queer can rush to see in theaters without fear of being outed. They can slip in with their friends, or family, and lose themselves in years of storytelling. See themselves in a brown, queer woman who made such a strong impact after seventeen minutes of screen time that by the next time we saw her, she ruled New Asgard. A warrior King who loves all genders and chooses to be with a woman because that choice, that love, is just as worthy as Cap calling Mjolnir in battle.
So, yeah, we know, but as comedian Monique once said, “I would like to see it.”