On 5 July, the stars of the film attended the red carpet premiere in London and took the opportunity to answer some questions from fans ahead of the screening.
During the Q&A, featuring Waititi, the director of the film, Portman, who plays Jane Foster, and Tessa Thompson, who plays Valkyrie, one audience member asked: “How gay is the film?”
In response, which was captured on video and shared on social media, Waititi pointed to Portman, who then told the audience member: “So gay.”
The declaration, which was met with cheers from the crowd, was then reiterated by Waititi, who yelled: “Super gay!” into his microphone. “Enjoy it,” he added.
On TikTok, where a clip of the moment was shared by @haushinkagd and viewed more than 4.4m times, Marvel fans were excited by the promise of LGBTQ representation in the film, as the Cinematic Marvel Universe has been largely lacking.
“Taika understands what we want,” one person wrote, while another said: “They better not be promising something they can’t deliver.”
Warning: Minor spoilers for Thor: Love and Thunder below.
In the new film, Valkyrie, played by Thompson, is confirmed to be bisexual. One scene shows her kissing the hand of a woman, while another sees her open up about losing the love of her life, her girlfriend, who died in battle.
Rock warrior Korg, who is voiced by Waititi, is also portrayed as gay. The film sees him settle down and have a child with his male partner. During the movie, Korg also revealed that he has two fathers, and that his species procreates when two male Kronans join hands.
This brief representations left many viewers disappointed, with fans accusing Waititi and Portman of overstating the “queerness” of the film.
“Kind of lame that Natalie Portman and Taika Waititi both described Thor: Love and Thunder as ‘so gay’ and ‘super gay’ and then the movie was not gay at all,” one person wrote on Twitter.
Another said: “Thor: Love and Thunder was said by Taika Waititi to be ‘super gay’ and ‘so gay’ by Natalie Portman. The most gay thing was a brief mention of Korg having a child with a man at the end of the movie in a five-second scene. I had such high hopes going into this movie.”
“Before the Thor screening last night Natalie Portman called it ‘so gay’. Devastated to report - and really, you won’t believe this - that she lied,” reporter Jack King tweeted.
While many fans were in agreement that the film did not have the expansive LGBTQ representation that was promised, some defended the movie on the basis that it is still the “gayest Marvel movie so far”.
“In regards to the ‘how gay is the new Thor super gay’ thing, I would say that it’s probably the gayest Marvel movie so far, but it’s also a Marvel movie so it’s like as gay as they’re allowed to be. Maybe pushing a little bit but not as much as we would like lol,” one person tweeted.
As for Thompson’s thoughts on the representation of her character’s bisexuality, the actor told the Los Angeles Times: “We’ve had lots of conversations about [Valkyrie’s sexuality]. I think there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I.”
However, she also thinks it’s important “not to hang the character’s hat solely on her sexual identity just because she’s a queer character”.
“I think that’s one way of minimising her humanity, actually, if that’s the only facet that you get to explore her in,” she added.
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