While Marvel seems to be erasing a lesbian romance from its Black Panther movie, the comic universe will be introducing its first open lesbian character in an upcoming half-hour television comedy on Freeform. Debrii will join Squirrel Girl, Mister Immortal, Night Thrasher, Speedball, and Microbe in the Marvel series New Warriors.
An overview from USA Today reveals that Debrii, also known as Deborah Fields, is “a proud, witty lesbian” on the New Warriors team. And as a black, out gay character, the New Warriors showrunners want her to provide both humor and relatability to viewers.
“It’s not all about ‘Hey, I relate to the show because I want to have a squirrel tail,’ but ‘Hey, this is the story about someone who’s out as a lesbian and maybe it’s not that easy,’” executive producer Kevin Biegel told USA Today.
Originally, Deborah Fields was introduced in the New Warriors comic series as a new member of the young adult superhero team, causing tension between the team due to her blunt personality. And while her role in the Marvel universe is relatively minor outside of the New Warriors team, the show may be the best opportunity to bring Debrii out into the spotlight for young lesbian and black viewers.
Of course, Debrii isn’t the first lesbian character to star in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As Moviepilot explains, that distinction goes to Jeri Hogarth, a married corporate lawyer from Jessica Jones who cheats on her wife with another woman. David Opie praised Hogarth’s characterization in the series, calling her an “admirable” addition to the cast as a complex figure.
“To portray Hogarth as pure and good simply wouldn’t have been realistic, but to paint her out as a villain would have fallen into the typical stereotypes that plague portrayals of the LGBTQ community,” Opie wrote. “Carrie-Anne Moss plays the role perfectly, turning what could have been a rather unlikeable part into one of the most compelling characters on the show.”
(Disclosure: Contributing writer Ana Valens contributes to Now Loading, a gaming website owned by Moviepilot.)