— MCU – The Direct (@MCU_Direct) February 13, 2020
After years of teases, baiting, false starts and COVID-related delays, it finally will come to pass: Haaz Sleiman and Brian Tyree Henry will play the first openly gay, married couple in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The pair will star together in Eternals (formerly titled The Eternals), due out later this year.
In the movie, Henry plays the machinist Phastos, while Sleiman plays his architect husband. The addition of the pair marks a new level of LGBTQ visibility in popular entertainment. And, to paraphrase Spider-Man, with great visibility comes great responsibility.
As Sleiman told NewNowNext:
It’s my first Marvel film, so of course I’m excited. My gut feeling is you’ll be so proud. What Marvel has been able to accomplish, I’m so proud of them because they approached it in a very thoughtful way, and Phastos is one of the biggest superheroes in the film. I’m his husband, an architect; we have a child. Even though I wished I was the superhero, because when will we see an Arab Muslim openly gay actor playing a superhero? I can’t wait to see it.
For Sleiman, the November 5 release of Eternals will add fuel to an already hot career.
For the rest of us, seeing two gay characters in a superhero movie makes our hearts throb with excitement, and with pride. Knowing at least one of them is played by an openly queer actor makes us even happier.