Superhero fans are eagerly anticipating the release of Thor: Ragnarok, which film critics estimate is the 612th entry in the now centuries-old Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. And though this film has been in production since the 1970s, new rumors about it pop up all the time. One new rumor has fans more excited than ever for Thor: Ragnarok.
Rumor has it that Thor: Ragnarok will feature the MCU’s first openly gay character. The character is named Korg. He’s a big alien made of rocks, although it hasn’t been confirmed that he is the inspiration for the movie’s title.
You can see Korg in the Thor: Ragnarok trailer, which is how we know the character will show up in the movie. He’s the big, rocky alien yelling at Thor. He looks angry, but the movie’s plot is being kept secret, so we don’t know if he’s really angry.
In the Marvel comics, Korg is a Kronan, an alien species also known as the Stone Men of Saturn, which is a weird nickname, because their home planet is Ria. Kronans are 8 feet tall beings with thick, orange, rocky skin.
Comics nerds are souped for Korg’s inclusion in Thor: Ragnarok because it’s established in the main Marvel comics universe that Kork is in a same-sex relationship with Hiroim, one of the Shadow People from the planet Sakaar. Interestingly, Kronans have only one gender in their species. But that’s neither here nor there.
The director of Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi, has confirmed he himself portrays Korg in the movie. Speaking about Korg's inclusion, Waititi told NewNowNext, "We wanted to change the idea of what a hulking guy made of rocks could be. He’s huge and heavy, but with a light soul. We wanted to make him funny and a relatable entry point into this world. And Thor needs friends.”
All that said, the excitement over “MCU’s first gay character” remains only a rumor because we don’t know if Korg’s sexuality will be addressed at all in Thor: Ragnarok. It’s not known if Hiroim will appear in the movie, and Korg’s relationship status may go unaddressed. But fans are hopeful this aspect of the character will be included.
Korg made his first appearance in the same comic that featured Thor’s first appearance: 1962’s “Journey Into Mystery” No. 83. He was one of several unnamed “Stone Men of Saturn” whom Thor fought in that issue. The story later was retconned to indicate that Korg himself was one of the Kronans Thor tangled with.
Beyond his first appearance in 1962, Korg’s character remained unexplored and undeveloped until 2006. He was featured as part of that year’s Planet Hulk storyline. According to rumors, Thor: Ragnarok will adapt plot elements from Planet Hulk.
While Korg may (or may not) be the first openly gay character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel comics have depicted out characters for decades. The first of these is Jean-Paul Beaubier, better known as Northstar from the Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight. Northstar came out in a 1992 comic. He also got married in 2012. It was Marvel’s first same-sex marriage.
In 2009’s X-Factor No. 45, long established mutant heroes and teammates Rictor and Shatterstar, whose sexualities had remained ambiguous up until that point, shared a kiss. It was the first same-sex kiss depicted in Marvel comics.
Iceman has been around as long as the X-Men franchise itself. He’s one of the team’s original members. But the character didn’t come out as gay until 2015. He sort of had to when an alternate-universe/time-displaced, younger version of Jean Grey read the mind of an alternate-universe/time-displaced, younger version of Iceman. She tells him she’s knows he’s gay, and then that version of Iceman tells the present-day Iceman about it. Comics, right?
In 2005, Marvel launched its Young Avengers comics series. The team featured two characters, Hulkling and Wiccan, who were in a same-sex relationship together. “Young Avengers” earned Marvel its first GLAAD award.
Xavin is one of the shape-shifting Skrull alien race. The character is non-binary, literally shape-shifting between male and female forms. While in their male form, Xavin fell in love with a lesbian character, Karolina Dean. Xavin changed their form to female and later became engaged to Karolina Dean.
Although the MCU hasn’t featured an out gay character yet, the MCU-adjacent Netflix Marvel series have. In Jessica Jones, Carrie-Anne Moss played Marvel’s first lesbian character, Jeri Hogarth. “It’s always fun to play something that’s the first of something,” Moss told MTV News about the role. “Whether that has value or not, I don’t know. But I just love my role, I love the show, it's been so fun to do."