An upcoming film in the DC Extended Universe may make LGBTQ history.
We Got This Covered, a Rotten Tomatoes-accredited entertainment site, reports that Birds of Prey will become the first superhero movie to feature a prominent gay character.
That character is Black Mask, a villain who will be portrayed by Ewan McGregor. Black Mask, the primary villain in Birds of Prey, is a Gotham City crime lord who faces up against Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and other members of the Birds of Prey team.
Birds of Prey, which will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures and will premiere February 7, is inspired by the DC Comics series of the same name.
"Though [Black Mask's] sexuality is never explicitly stated [in the film], multiple sources have told We Got This Covered that the sexual tension between him and fellow villain Victor Zsasz will be palpable and the way he acts in general makes it pretty clear that he’s gay," the entertainment site reports.
There is increasing pressure for big-budget films from Marvel and DC to include LGBTQ representation. There has yet to be a clearly gay superhero in a major role, and studios have received criticism in the past for "de-gaying" some of its characters.
Although there was technically a gay character in the latest Avengers film, the blink-and-you'll-miss-it part was criticized for being too small and for its portrayal by straight co-director Joe Russo.
If the reports are true, it is also unclear how Black Mask will be received by queer fans. "The way he acts" may be interpreted as stereotypical mannerisms. Film history is littered with problematic villains who dip into tropes like the "depraved homosexual" or "sissy," which are not beneficial to LGBTQ representation.