In his new film Thor: Love and Thunder, Waititi (who directed the movie and co-wrote it alongside Jennifer Kaytin Robinson) dives deeper into the MCU’s queer characters than any previous Marvel title has done before. Waititi knew that Valkyrie’s (played by out actress Tessa Thompson) queerness was a huge hit with fans of his previous film Thor: Ragnarok, and decided to give them exactly what they want.
“I put myself in the audience's shoes and I said, ‘Well, if I was coming to see another Thor film and I'd seen Ragnarok and the others. There's a lot going on in that film. What would I want to see in this one? What would push it over the edge?’” Waititi tells Out.
“The audiences were crying out for more of Tessa's character being openly out and identifying as queer,” he continues. “And my character (Korg) in the comic books is queer, so I like those two characters [interacting] as well.”
Ever since Thompson’s infamous line about Valkyrie looking for her Queen now that she’s the King of Asgard, LGBTQ+ fans have been dying to see what Waititi’s next Thor film would bring.
While Thompson has recently walked back those comments to say that Valkyrie might not find her love in this film (hopefully, opening up the possibility of a Valkyrie Disney+ show where she does!), Thor: Love and Thunder is still going to have plenty of queer content.
“I just put it out there and, again, not trying to make a deal out of it, but it's a pleasure, really,” Waititi says of being able to show Valkyrie’s queerness in the movie. “A really lovely scene with Tessa is one of my favorite scenes of the film, which talks about all of this.”
The MCU’s early queer representation was extremely underwhelming, with a character named “Greiving Man” in 2019's Avengers: Endgame being the first gay character in the films. Even some of the more recent attempts have fallen flat. Just look at America Chavez, who was supposed to be the first lesbian superhero in the MCU in Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but whose own queerness was glossed over while only getting to see a short mention of her two moms.
Waititi made sure it’s more than just that in his movie. He knows it’s been a long time coming.
“For a giant country that is so confident with everything it does, [the US is] really nervous about things like this and they take very small steps very slowly,” he says. “You've got to kind of walk them across the road. America is like an old grandma. You delicately hold her hand and walk her across the road.”
“Then, you tell them ‘It's going to be okay. We're going to get there. We're going to get across the road. Guess what's going to happen when we get across there? Nothing's going to change. Nothing. Life's not over,’” he adds.
Thor: Love and Thunder hits theaters on Friday, July 8!