Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers, otherwise known as fighter pilot turned superhero Captain Marvel, has appeared in four blockbuster Marvel films and a mini-series – but is The Marvels character gay?
In 2019, Danvers flew on to screens in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) first female-led film Captain Marvel, an origin story complete with Samuel L Jackson and Jude Law in supporting roles – but, possibly importantly, not a hint of romance.
Captain Marvel’s next notable appearances were scattered throughout Avengers: Endgame. She helped turn the tide in the final battle and even assisted with Thanos’ decapitation – although, as we know, that didn’t count for much because of all the time travel malarkey.
But, again, no romance for Danvers, although maybe that made sense given that there was a whole “end-of-life-for-half-of-all-living-organisms” thing going on.
It was at this point in MCU history, however, that a few wider breadcrumbs – and we really do mean crumbs – began to appear for the queer community to pick up.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 quietly introduced a mega-powerful, mega-queer character called Phylla-Vell in its closing-credits sting. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever included a queer warrior, played by Michaela Coel, giving her lover a kiss on the forehead – although that ended up on the cutting-room floor. And Eternals featured an actual gay relationship, in the form of Phastos’ partner and family.
Cut to The Marvels, the 2023 sequel to Captain Marvel, led by Larson and featuring Iman Vellani (as Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel) and Teyonah Parris (Monica Rambeau) – and, crucially, an appearance by Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie that sent the queer internet into a tailspin with the whispered promise of a sapphic sub-plot.
While lesbian Carol wasn’t exactly confirmed, there was some evidence that Captain Marvel is indeed gay, or at the very least gay-coded in an otherwise rather straight franchise.
Were Captain Marvel and Valkyrie in a gay relationship?
In The Marvels, the titular superheroes rescue a group of Skrulls from a planet that’s in jeopardy after villainous Dar-Benn drains all its resources. Captain Marvel calls on the help of “a friend”, who turns out to be Valkyrie (played by Tessa Thompson), who was first seen in Thor: Ragnarok.
Valkyrie is canonically queer in the MCU, and the word “friend” was read by many queer fans as the same kind of ‘friend’ that your unmarried aunt has ‘lived with’ your whole life.
After some hand-holding and intense eye contact, Valkyrie gives Carol a smooch on the cheek – not a goodbye shared by other platonic friends in the MCU – before whisking the Skrulls to safety.
Brie Larson and Tessa Thompson in The Marvels (Disney)
One X/Twitter user even claimed an explicit line – “We work better as friends” – was cut from the scene, which would have confirmed a past relationship between the pair.
Has Captain Marvel had any other relationships?
At one point in The Marvels, Carol, Monica and Kamala visit the water planet Aladna, where they find Prince Yan (Park Seo-joon) and alert him to an impending attack.
In a slight blow to the hopes and dreams of the “Captain Marvel is Gay Brigade”, it turns out that the prince is Carol’s husband. But – cue huge sigh of relief – Carol is quick to stress to Kamala and Monica that the union is a “marriage of convenience”.
A high-powered individual who’s forced to marry someone else high-powered to keep political tensions low? Seems pretty sapphic to us…
What have Marvel stars and Brie Larson said?
There have been a few comments on the matter of Captain Marvel’s sexuality from cast, crew and beyond.
In 2019, Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi warned fans against getting their hopes up, telling Wired: “The thing is, it’s dangerous for people to say too much about what they want with Marvel, because then they will tend to go the other way.
“You want to listen to the fans to a point, but you don’t want to have a completely fan-made film because then it doesn’t feel like there’s any point. You want to have people surprised.”
That same year, Larson herself called on Marvel to “move faster” with introducing its first explicitly gay superhero.
When, in a podcast with Variety, interviewer and journalist Marc Malkin told her he didn’t expect to ever see that, she replied: “That breaks my heart. I don’t understand how you could think that a certain type of person isn’t allowed to be a superhero.
“We gotta move faster – but I’m always wanting to move faster with this stuff.”
Meanwhile, Thompson said it was time for “Valkyrie to “find her queen”, telling a panel at 2019’s San Diego Comic-CoN: “That will be her first order of business. She has some ideas. Keep you posted.”
She said something similar to the Los Angeles Times, calling for Valkyrie and Carol to be allowed to hook up.
Given the timeline of Thor: Love and Thunder and The Marvels, it’s entirely possible that Valkyrie found her queen – Captain Marvel – and the sub-plot was cut. Add to that a few reposted fan art projects, and it’s clear Danvers being gay would have Larson’s backing.
So, is Captain Marvel gay? In short, yes, if you want her to be. Not canonically – but with every appearance, Carol seems to be getting closer to having an out and proud lesbian moment on screen.
The Marvels is available to stream now on Disney+.