If you’ve been avoiding the media or hiding under a rock, then that’s probably the only way you’ve missed news on WGA and SAG-AFTRA’s strike against Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Well, on Sunday, the 42-year-old actress and entrepreneur took to social media to air out her frustrations with studios and spilled the tea on a missed MCU opportunity. In an Instagram post, Ross stated how she was under a 7-year contract with FX, the TV network that produced her shows Pose and American Horror Story, that prevented her from working on any other projects without network approval. Marvel took interest in Ross for an undisclosed opportunity, but due to her contract, she wasn’t allowed to take on outside opportunities.
“I was under a 7 year contract with FX in what they call ‘first position’. As a series regular, I could not work anywhere else without getting network approval,” wrote Ross on Instagram. “While working on AHS season 10 I was told I would be returning to Season 11 and was put on hold for several months. During this time Marvel called a few times asking about my availability. By the time FX released me, Marvel stopped calling. Now it’s been years since I have had an acting job. This is also why we are striking.”
Ross’ addition to the MCU would’ve added much needed transgender representation to the MCU and superhero projects in general. Zach Barack (he/him) is the first openly transgender actor to appear in a Marvel film, appearing as Peter Parker’s classmate in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Zoe Terakes (they/he) is the first openly trans actor in an MCU show on Disney+. Terakes will appear as a key character in the upcoming Ironheart series. Additionally, Both Michaela Jaé Rodriguez and Elliot Page have appeared in MCU properties, with Rodriguez in Netflix’s Luke Cage and Page, prior to transitioning, in the original X-Men franchise.
We don’t require anyone to validate our existence, but any example that shows LGBTQ+ characters in a holistic and positive way makes queer and trans folks feel seen.
Including Ross, would’ve given an opportunity for more trans stories to hit the screen, but also an opportunity to dive into one of Marvel Comics’ trans characters. From Hydra Queen to Jessie Drake to Koi Boy, there are plenty of trans characters that deserve their time on-screen. However, most notably, the trans character Sera was allegedly going to be introduced into the MCU via the Loki series. Sera is an Anchorite, a race of wingless angels, who, with the help of her eventual love interest, the Asgardian warrior Angela, was able to magically transition into the woman she saw herself as.
Could Sera have been the character the MCU kept calling Ross about? We’re not sure, but Sera eventually became a superhero in Marvel Comics and if Ross would’ve played her, we’d be talking about her portraying the first trans superhero in the MCU by now. There have been a few prominent queer MCU characters, like Phastos, Loki, Sylvie, Ayo, and Valkyrie, and a few prominent queer actors in the MCU, such as Angelina Jolie, Tessa Thompson, and Stephanie Hsu, but prominent trans characters haven’t been introduced yet. The DC Extended Universe, another superhero movie incubator, has introduced two trans characters, Supergirl’s Dreamer (portrayed by Nicole Maines) and Gotham Knight’s Cullen Row (portrayed by Tyler DiChiara).
“Cullen Roe is a very underestimated character, even in the comic books.”
With Terakes appearing in Disney+’s Ironheart, we’ll keep our fingers crossed for the MCU’s first trans superhero to make their appearance.