Over the years, Marvel movies haven’t always shed a lot of light on LGBTQ characters the way the original comic books seem to do. It’s about time Marvel started providing more LGBTQ representation, and it seems we will definitely be seeing a lot of that for the first time in Eternals with Brian Tyree Henry’s openly gay character.
Valkyrie is another queer character who identifies as bisexual, but Marvel movies won’t focus on that until Thor: Love and Thunder is released. According to Marvel writer Al Ewing via Bleeding Cool, Loki is another Marvel character who’s bisexual and gender fluid. It’s something the writer plans to touch on with Loki shifting between genders on occasion.
The list goes on because it’s also been revealed both the Kronan warrior Korg is another gay Marvel character. And, it’s pretty obvious that Black Panther’s Okoye is attracted to women based on her original comic book series from 2016. Now that we know LGBTQ representation has its place in the Marvel universe, here’s what you should know about Brian Tyree Henry’s Eternals character.
Which character is Brian Tyree Henry playing in ‘Eternals’?
The truth about Phastos, Brian Tyree Henry’s Eternals character, is that he’s not one of the first characters from the original team. Jack Kirby wrote and released the earliest issues of Eternals in 1976. If you’re checking through those, you’ll most definitely not find Phastos. He doesn’t get introduced to the rest of the superhuman team until the third generation.
The first time Phastos appears is in the 1985 issue created by Sal Buscema and Peter B. Gillis. Even though Phastos wasn’t part of the original team, he’s still very much part of the Eternals with the rest of his superhero squad. When you take into account the fact that the Eternals are a race of near-immortal beings created by the Celestials deep into history, he definitely counts as being one of them.
How will Phastos represent the LGBTQ community in the movie?
The fact that Phastos will be the first openly gay character in the MCU is huge news, but what makes it even more exciting is the fact that he’ll have a husband and family in the film. The man playing Phastos’ husband in the movie will be Haaz Sleiman, an openly gay actor who you might recognize from the Apple+ TV series Little America. Back in 2007, he also starred in a movie called The Visitor.
Sleiman confirmed via Cinema Blend that there will be a “moving kiss” shared between his character and Phastos sometime in the film, which is a very big deal. Plenty of TV shows and movies dance around the topic of LGBTQ representation by including queer couples but failing to allow those couples to share any intimacy on screen. In Eternals, Marvel filmmakers are obviously going to avoid making that same mistake.
How does Brian Tyree Henry feel about the role?
At this point, Brian Tyree Henry must be fully aware that the role he’s playing in Eternals is a big deal in 2021. The Hollywood industry is making huge strides to show respect to the LGBTQ community, and Henry taking on this role is helping us move in the right direction as a society.
He discussed what it feels like playing Phastos to Murphy’s Multiverse, saying, “The thing that really attracted me to this part was that I just think about all the images of Black men out there and how we are portrayed. And what I love the most about Phastos is that one, he’s an ancestor. All of us are ancestors technically, so Phastos predates everything and had to probably go through all these things that could actually make someone lose faith in humanity very quickly.” While Phastos has many reasons to lose faith, he is somehow able to hold onto it, use his superpowers, and push forward.
What else should you know about Phastos?
When it comes to keeping up with his super-strong counterparts, Phastos is not one to mess with. His powers include super-strength, flight, expert knowledge in technology, and energy manipulation.
He brings a lot to the table, and he is someone the rest of his team can depend on when battling against their enemies. Another epic detail about Phastos is the fact that he’s a skilled weapons maker. He’s able to come up with some of the most intelligent gear for himself and his team.
Here’s where else you recognize Brian Tyree Henry from
Seeing Brian Tyree Henry take on the role of Phastos in Eternals is going to be huge for his acting career, but this isn’t his first rodeo. Henry has already starred in a fair share of awesome roles in the past.
Some of the other places you’ll recognize him from include Atlanta, Child’s Play, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Outside Story, Superintelligence, Widows, and Don’t Let Go. He also had parts in If Beale Street Could Talk, White Boy Rick, Joker, and several more.