Marvel has moved to quash speculation that two warriors in the upcoming film Black Panther will be in a lesbian relationship. The film, due to be released in February 2018, is about T’Challa, the superhero king and protector of African nation Wakanda, who featured in Captain America: Civil War.
Fans had been excited by the prospect of Okoye and Ayo, two of the titular character’s bodyguards, getting together as Ayo and fellow female warrior Aneka do in the comics. And these hopes were encouraged by reports that an early screening of the film featured Walking Dead star Danai Gurira’s Okoye staring at Ayo flirtatiously as the two danced.
The enthusiasm provoked by this turned to frustration and claims of LGBT erasure after Marvel quickly denied the conclusions drawn by those who watched the scene. A Marvel spokesperson reached out to clearly state that “the nature of the relationship between Danai Gurira’s Okoye and Florence Kasumba’s Ayo in Black Panther is not a romantic one.”