A year after the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduced its first openly transgender actor, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says the franchise will debut its first openly trans character on the big screen.
Feige confirmed the news to students at a New York Film Academy panel held in October and posted online Saturday after an audience member asked if Marvel had plans to introduce more LGBTQ characters into the universe, specifically transgender characters.
"Yes, absolutely, yes," Feige said. "And very soon, in a movie we're shooting right now."
He did not specify which movie the character would be featured in. USA TODAY has reached out to a Marvel Studios representative for comment.
At San Diego Comic-Con in July 2019, Feige unveiled the next phase of the MCU, which included upcoming films like "Fantastic Four," "Black Panther 2," "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," "Captain Marvel 2," "Blade," "Black Widow," "Thor: Love and Thunder," "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" and "The Eternals."
Feige, also Marvel Comics' Chief Creative Officer, pointed to the success the franchise has seen with diversifying its representation with recent movies like 2018's "Black Panther" and 2019's "Captain Marvel," which have respectively grossed $1.3 and $1.1 billion worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. "Black Panther" was also the first superhero movie to receive a best picture nomination at the Academy Awards.
"With those two film in particular... we wanted to keep showcasing heroes from the comics that represent the world that goes to see our movies. So our intention was always to continue to do that," he said of telling more stories about "Black Panther" and "Captain Marvel" characters.
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"What's exciting is that both those movies were such big hits that it squashed any sort of question otherwise and I hope and I think it inspired other companies around the world to do the same thing and tell those different kinds of stories," Feige added.
2019's "Spider-Man: Far From Home" saw the MCU's first openly transgender actor: Zach Barack played a classmate of Peter Parker. His gender identity was not addressed in the brief role.
Speaking at the film's premiere, Barack called for more transgender representation in entertainment, adding that superhero movies “always felt like a trans story because it’s talking about identity.
“It’s about separating what people know about you and what they don’t,” he said. “And I think that’s something I kind of live with every day. And on top of that, I don’t see a lot of trans-masculine people on television or trans men specifically, and getting to be part of that is beyond unreal.”
The 23-year-old Chicago-area native, who also appeared in the TV series “L.A.’s Finest,” said there needs to be more roles for trans people in all sorts of movies.
“The truth is you have to put out there what people want to see and what people need to see,” he said. “And as a young person who is trans, I didn’t see a trans man on TV ever, ever, really, until I was like, 17. So having a fun movie about a class going on a trip together, and I get to be part of that, I can’t even ...”
Contributing: The Associated Press.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Marvel Studios will introduce first transgender character: Kevin Feige