As Warner Bros. tries to recover from the box office bombing of Justice League, the rebranded Worlds of DC is (reportedly) treading into new territory with an LGBTQ+ presence in Birds of Prey. Bringing Margot Robbie back from her Suicide Squad days as Harley Quinn, the blonde bombshell is being joined by the likes of Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Ewan McGregor.
McGregor will play the movie’s big bad as Roman Sionis. For those unfamiliar with the comics, Sionis is a legendary Batman rogue who’s better known as Black Mask. Now, the latest rumours suggest Black Mask will be gay in Birds of Prey.
According to We Got This Covered, Sionis will be “obviously gay”. Get ready for a few raised eyebrows though. The site claims that Birds of Prey won’t actually confirm the character’s sexuality, simply imply it. Wow, that sounds like a charming bit of Queerbaiting right there.
The article states “the sexual tension between him and fellow villain Victor Zsasz will be palpable and the way he acts in general makes it pretty clear that he’s gay.” While fans have been calling for a gay character in the DCEU since Zack Snyder started the franchise with Man of Steel, stating a character is homosexual because of the ‘way they act’ isn’t exactly a step in the right direction.
Things are a little more rainbow-coloured in the world of TV. Ruby Rose is currently suiting up as the titular Kate Kane in The CW’s Batwoman.
LGBTQ+ presence in superhero movies is something of a contentious issue at the moment. The Russo Brothers recently defended the inclusion of a gay character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
For anyone that needs a refresher, one of Endgame‘s early scenes involved Chris Evans’ Captain America in a post-snap world. Cap was struggling to come to terms with life after “The Decimation”.
Steve Rogers visited a support group, where he came across a character who was openly homosexual. While the man didn’t get a proper name or introduction, he was actually played by Joe Russo himself.
Speaking to io9, MCU boss Kevin Feige has defended the Russo Brothers. The studio head said, “That was never meant to be our first focused character…That was just meant to be a matter of fact and a matter of life and a matter of truth.”
Feige continued, “And I liked it that our hero, Steve Rogers, doesn’t blink an eye at that fact. It is just truth and is heartbreaking for his loss and for the life he’s trying to put back together.
“It was never meant to be looked at as our first hero. I guess it’s the first reference so it does, of course, get a lot of attention.”
Still, the laclustre reveal of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first openly gay character caused a stir among fandom, especially considering there are so many LGBTQ+ heroes out there.
[Featured Image: Warner Bros./DC Comics]