From flamboyant pirates and super spies to mutants and men in capes, Hollywood’s biggest action, fantasy and sci-fi properties have assembled an army of iconic heterosexual heroes over the years.
Thankfully, shows like Torchwood, Arrow, and The Flash have helped level the playing field by bringing queer characters to our favorite fantasy lands on TV. But big-screen adventures in our beloved geeky genres continue to be a virtual wasteland when it comes to LGBTQ inclusion.
The rise of recent hashtags such as #GiveElsaAGirlfriend and #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend highlight the growing number of fanboys and girls who want to see same-sex romance in a big-budget franchise.
As the summer blockbuster season arrives, we ask: Which movie studio will be the first to boldly go where no one has gone before?
Here are 9 Hollywood film franchises that are overdue for a non-hetero hero to join their ranks.
1. The Fast and the Furious
It’s hard to believe with all that testosterone spread out across seven movies we haven’t seen one guy join the crew who likes to drive a stick in the bedroom. With the franchise moving in a new direction after the unfortunate death of Paul Walker, this would be the perfect time to introduce a new guy or girl who moves in the same-sex fast lane.
2. Star Wars
While a small number of LGBT characters have appeared in Star Wars novels, we have yet to see one on the big screen. The creative minds behind our favorite film franchise from far, far away, would be wise to take note of the love affair the internet has had with a possible Finn and Poe romance after the two made their debut – and shared clothes – in Episode VII. The fans have already spoken, and it’s obvious The Force is strong with this one.
3. Star Trek
The racial and gender diversity displayed in the Star Trek universe are just two of the many reasons this franchise has been a favorite of people from every corner of the globe since it debuted in 1966. As Star Trek celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, the introduction of new LGBT characters in the films and upcoming TV series would be the perfect way to move the needle forward for progress and honor the inclusive vision Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry had for these voyages in the final frontier.
4. James Bond
5. Pirates of the Caribbean
Sure, Johnny Depp’s flamboyant Captain Jack Sparrow has been a campy good time across four Pirates films, but with a fifth one (and possibly more) on the way, is it too much to ask that one of his shipmates prefer to sail the same-sex seas?
Technically we have seen an LGBT character prominently featured in the X-Men films thanks to the inclusion of the gender and sexually fluid Mystique, but the blue shapeshifter has always been presented as a heterosexual female in Fox’s films. The X-Men universe is filled with rich, queer characters, and it’s way past time the biggest LGBT allegory in comics actually featured some of them on the big screen.
7. The Jason Bourne Saga
The creative minds behind these films already started to explore new ways to expand the Bourne universe with 2012’s The Bourne Legacy – which featured original character Aaron Cross (played by Jeremy Renner) rather than Jason Bourne. Introducing a gay or lesbian protagonist at the center of a future Bourne installment would be a bold (and welcome) first for a popular spy thriller franchise.
8. The Marvel Cinematic Universe
The fact #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend recently began trending on Twitter should make it glaringly obvious to Marvel Studio execs that fans are tired of perceived subtext (come on, Cap is totally in love with Bucky) and are ready for the real deal. It’s time for Marvel to give us an LGBT Avenger (or two) who can hold their own alongside the world’s greatest superheroes.
9. The DC Cinematic Universe
While the interconnected big-screen adventures of DC Comics’ iconic characters have only just begun, fans have hope this franchise will embrace LGBT characters where it’s Marvelous competition has failed. With the bisexual Harley Quinn appearing in this summer’s Suicide Squad there’s an excellent opportunity to at least recognize heterosexuals aren’t the only people who exist in this fantastic universe. It’s a theme that could be continued in next year’s Wonder Woman feature film (which could easily acknowledge there is bound to be some same-sex romance happening on an island full of Amazons), before finally featuring an LGBT hero (or villain) among the cast of characters slated to appear in the Justice League films.