Silenced diversity: 'The new mutants' has the first LGTB couple starring in a Marvel film, but it is not publicized

'The New Mutants' is the rare version of supernatural horror of the superhero genre, although we have seen that Marvel in the cinema began with 'Blade' (1998) cutting off vampire heads. 

Behind all the scares and appearances that plague this new spin-off of 'X-Men' there is also a beautiful love story at its core, what is really striking is that it is the first to present an openly queer couple as protagonist in a commercial superhero movie.

The strange thing about this is that there is not a lot of conversation rising in networks or there is much fuss about it. 'The New Mutants' is inspired by the' 80s demon bear comic arc, developed by Chris Claremont and artist Bill Sienkiewicz, in which a group of mutants held in a secret facility suffer strange nightmares. Dr. Reyes (Alice Braga) argues that young mutants without full control of their powers can be quite dangerous.

It is here that Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams) and Danielle Moonstar (Blu Hunt) and their fellow inmates, Illyana (Anya Taylor-Joy), Sam (Charlie Heaton) and Bobby (Henry Zaga), face terrifying visions that force them to face the demons of his past and a fierce Devil Bear. 

But the core of the story is how Dani and Rahne form a special bond, which unlike other Marvel and Disney films, shows a homosexual love with two of the main characters, one of them, the protagonist.

The timid approaches of superheroes to queer culture

This detail that the actress comments is even more relevant today, when the news about this type of representation is usually exposed as a bait, the so-called queerbait that ends up entering as part of the promotional apparatus of highly successful films. 

There has even been a lot of talk about how 'The Eternals' (2021) will have the first openly gay superhero couple in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at least a year before its premiere. So now it is not only accepted but also serves to offer a brand image for Disney.

But when push comes to shove, the LGBTQ public is more skeptical. Previous mainstream films such as 'Beauty and the Beast' (Beauty and the Beast, 2017), 'Star Trek: Beyond' (Star Trek: Beyond, 2016) or Pixar's most recent release, 'Onward' (2020 ), which features the animation studio's first openly gay character, only show these renderings sideways in one scene. Although they were praised for their LGBTQ representation, they never came to represent much.

Deadpool 2 Negasonic Teenage Yukio Lesbians Lgbtq

The world of mutants has always been more open to inclusivity. 'Deadpool', although used in comical ways, turns out to be the first bisexual hero, although in its second part, Negasonic Teenage Warhead found Yukio, and although it will be the first openly queer couple in all of Marvel, they barely had minutes in the film.

Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie is LGTBI, but the scene that explicitly refers to her bisexuality was removed from 'Thor: Ragnarok' (2017). Representation has been sparse in DC as well, with the exception of Renee Montoya (Rosie Pérez) in 'Birds of Prey' (Birds of Prey, 2020).

The representation of shame

The main problem came when, before the great releases of Marvel / Disney, their directors loudly celebrated the fact of including homosexual characters in their films. In contrast, the two most important premieres of last year relegated these highly-promoted characters to the background, but to the back of the closet. First, 'Avengers: Endgame' (Avengers: Endgame, 2019) had chest out for a gay character long before the movie was released.

In the end, the homosexual was not even a superhero, but a man with no name, played by co-director Joe Russo, who appeared in a single scene talking about losing his boyfriend. 

In the case of 'Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker' (Rise of Skywalker, 2019) it was also busy announcing that it featured a couple of women in the rebellion, to relegate the moment to a gay kiss of microseconds between a supporting character and his unnamed girlfriend. And this is the revolutionary LGBTQ representation in the major Hollywood blockbusters within Disney.

Representation and sensitive topics

This dual representation of indigenous and lesbians has not prevented, however, accusations of whitewashing the film because the actor chosen to make Roberto da Costa, Henry Zaga, is not so dark as the character in the comic. 

However, Zaga is a native of Brazil and gives the impression of clearly being a Latino in the cast, as is Alice Braga. So the controversy in this case is a bit diluted, because there is no representation.

In fact, there are quite a few elements that can be subversive in the Marvel environment under the Disney umbrella. In the comics, Rahne, more commonly known as Wolfsbane for her werewolf shapeshifting abilities, was raised by a reverend who attempted to perform an exorcism on her when the girl's powers manifested, believing that she was possessed by the Devil.

In the film we see the priest as a diabolical figure and we are hinted that perhaps he did something more than an exorcism on her. The same can be said of Illyana Rasputin's character, whose biggest nightmare is faceless men who harass her at night in a group. Nor do we have to add two plus two to relate the horror that the teenager feels and the possible gang rape that this group of faceless punks represents.

The darkness in front of the premiere

Therefore, once viewed, it is better understood that the film does not fit with Disney's commercial vision today. Faced with blissful superheroes reduced to their position in the group or their problems for all audiences, the teenagers of 'The New Mutants' swear, have an active sex life - including masturbation - and confess to having killed people when their powers were revealed. They are more   'The misfits' than 'X-men'.

A mystery on which explanations of delays and reshoots shed no light. There have only been two major releases since the pandemic began, this one and 'Tenet'. Disney has decided to go against the most important film of the year on the same weekend. 

Something is wrong, or their strategy is directly suicidal. Silenced in networks by the wave of debate in front of 'Tenet', the conversation around has turned on trifles, but not much emphasis has been placed on representation.

Good, bad, better or worse, the homosexual relationship is all that its creators claim, but since Disney there has not been a single mention, it has not been breastfed as with other films with little less than seconds of sexual diversity. So much so that the film does not even have the Marvel curtain before the credits, as if even 'Dark Phoenix' did. It's understandable that they don't want to stir the embers of a stillborn project, but the darkness around them suggests less (or not) economic issues.

Burying such an important representation can only be understood from a puritanical caution that does not interest to expose homosexuality, or at least, in the way that 'The New Mutants' presents it. 

Perhaps what they are looking for is not to crush the slogan of "the first Marvel movie with LGTB protagonists" that will come with 'Los Eternos' and the product inherited from Fox has interposed in their race towards the goal and it is preferable to sink it under the ground, Which not only leaves the same trace of corporate homophobia, but could also expose a tremendously cynical neoliberal utilitarianism.

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