Marvel has given us our first look at Kate Bishop!
Today in Entertainment Weekly, Marvel revealed the first image of Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop alongside Jeremy Renner’s Clint Barton in the upcoming Disney+ series Hawkeye. The show, also starring Vera Farmiga and Florence Pugh playing the same character she did in the recent Black Widow movie, will debut on Disney+ on Wednesday, November 24.
Kate Bishop has long been a fan-favorite character among queer comic book readers, and fans have been begging for her to be made canonically queer when she’s introduced into the MCU for years. Unfortunately, despite the last live-action MCU series, Loki, confirming it’s main character’s bisexuality, there’s no indication this series will do the same.
Many fans were hoping now that Kate Bishop is being introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, she’d get a chance to flirt with the lesbian superhero America Chavez, one of her main relationships in the comics. But Chavez will be played by fifteen-year-old actress Xochitl Gomez, making her far too young to flirt with any of the characters she usually does, let alone 22-year-old Kate Bishop.
Chavez is being introduced in the next Doctor Strange movie, titled Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It’s a fitting introduction for the character, who has the ability to punch open doorways between different universes.
Back in the Jamie McKelvie/Kieron Gillen run of the Young Avengers comics, Kate was the token straight on the team. She fought alongside queer heroes like America Chavez, Hulkling and Wiccan, Prodigy, Noh-Varr, and Kid Loki. In the comic Kate even commented on being the only straight person on the team, but as America so iconically put it, "princess, you’re not that straight."
Ever since then, America and Kate have been portrayed as everything from best friends, to multiverse-hopping lovers, to a constantly flirting will-they-won’t-they couple. But Kate has yet to be made queer in the main Marvel universe.
What a strange and disappointing — but predictable — move it is for Marvel to cast such a young actress as Chavez. One of the character’s main personality traits in the comics, and a major reason the character is so beloved, is that she’s a major flirt. She’s flirted with every female superhero from Captain Marvel, to She-Hulk, to, of course, Hawkeye.
Obviously, a lesbian character doesn’t have to flirt with other women to be a lesbian character, but being a lady-killer is such a huge part of America’s character that I’m not sure if fans will recognize her MCU version. It seems like a very purposeful move by the company to age down, and therefore desexualize, one of their queer characters.
Of course, no hate is directed toward Gomez, she’s a young actor who is very talented. All the complaints lie with the producers and execs who decided to age down a lesbian character to the point where she can’t flirt.
While Marvel has been saying they’re making their universe more diverse and representative of real-life people, the progress has been painfully slow. While Loki was confirmed as bisexual in a line of dialogue, his show didn’t explore his sexuality any more than that. And it’s taken 13 years just to get that bit of queer superhero representation.
Perhaps I’m wrong and Kate will be revealed to be bisexual in the series. But with Marvel’s track record, I’m not holding my breath.