Will Wonder Woman be the movies’ first major queer superhero?

DC Comics has confirmed the Amazonian princess is bisexual, so why not celebrate the superheros queer identity on the big screen?

The Twitter campaign to alter Captain Americas traditional sexuality was always going to be a struggle. In May, the hashtag #GiveCaptainAmericaaBoyfriend was trending like a Kardashian selfie on the social network. But given Chris Evans patriotic superhero has been shown to have feelings for both Hayley Atwells Peggy Carter and her grand-niece Sharon during his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, such a major canonical shift always looked about as likely as Hulk agreeing to attend anger management sessions.

And yet were certainly about due a queer superhero on the big screen. In the comics, Marvel has brought us gay X-Men Mystique and Northstar, while DC gave one version of Green Lantern a boyfriend in 2012 and even introduced a transexual character in Gail Simones groundbreaking Batgirl run though the publisher rather ruined its LGBTQ cred when a different writer later introduced, and was forced to apologise for, the deeply offensive trans villain Dagger Type.

Of the above, only Jennifer Lawrences Mystique is currently appearing in comic book movies, and there has been little indication the big-screen take on the shapeshifting mutant has queer leanings. But for those hoping to see a little more diversity in superhero films, there is now a sliver of hope. For the writer of Wonder Womans current comic book adventures has confirmed what we pretty much all knew, that Princess Diana of Themyscira is bisexual.

Yes, replied Greg Rucka when asked whether his revamped version of the Amazonian warrior was queer. I think its more complicated though, he said. This is inherently the problem with Diana: weve had a long history of people for a variety of reasons, including sometimes pure titillation, which I think is the worst reason say, Ooo. Look. Its the Amazons. Theyre gay!

And when you start to think about giving the concept of Themyscira its due, the answer is, How can they not all be in same sex relationships? Right? It makes no logical sense otherwise.

Its supposed to be paradise. Youre supposed to be able to live happily. Youre supposed to be able in a context where one can live happily, and part of what an individual needs for that happiness is to have a partner to have a fulfilling, romantic and sexual relationship. And the only options are women. But an Amazon doesnt look at another Amazon and say, Youre gay. They dont. The concept doesnt exist.

Ruckas right. No one should be too surprised that Wonder Woman likes women when she lives in a single-sex feminist utopia. But there are also strong historical reasons why the superhero should be considered proudly queer. Wonder Woman was created in 1941 by the American psychologist and writer William Moulton Marston, a famously leftfield, not to mention rather creepy, thinker on matters of sexuality and feminism who, as documented in Jill Lepores 2014 book The Secret History of Wonder Woman, lived in a menage a trois (and sometimes more) with his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston (often considered the superheros co-creator) and their lover and cohabitant Olive Byrne. Both women have been cited as inspirations for the character, with Elizabeth believed to have contributed her famous phrase Suffering Sappho! and Olive her looks.

Will Monster director Patty Jenkins, whos overseeing the new Wonder Woman movie, be brave enough to incorporate her subjects queer identity, thereby making her the first major big-screen gay superhero? No ones suggesting (and Rucka seems to be fiercely against) a full-scale Im transexual, Barbara moment, in the vein of Simones Batgirl run, but there are other more subtle ways to offer a sly nod to recent developments. Although Jenkins film wrapped in May, it surely wouldnt require full-scale reshoots for the film-makers to shoehorn in, say, an early flashback scene hinting at the superheros youthful dalliances on Themyscira.

Early trailers for Wonder Woman, along with Israeli actor Gal Gadots debut appearance as the Amazonian superhero in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, have given fans confidence that Jenkins take cleaves tightly to the characters roots as a strong, empowered, independent woman. But it remains to be seen if Warner has the guts to really push the envelope, especially as the studio has cast Star Trek hunk Chris Pine as Dianas traditional mortal love interest, Steve Trevor. One imagines the suits who helped ruin Suicide Squad (by handing the movies final edit to the guys behind the films startling trailers) might begin to get severely itchy fingers once again if Jenkins turns in a version in which Pine doesnt get so much as a snog.

Warner Bros got nothing but bad publicity from leering all over Margot Robbies Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, but you have to wonder if the studio figured that it would add five goggle-eyed teenage boys for every fan who objected to all the shallow objectification. Likewise, celebrating Wonder Womans queer identity might seem like a risky marketing manoeuvre for a film that will be aiming to pick up the widest audience possible.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2016/sep/30/wonder-woman-movies-first-gay-superhero-dc-comics

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