Pop Culture Fix: Marvel’s Gonna Play Us Again With Michaela Coel’s (Queer) Aneka in “Wakanda Forever,” Huh?

Okay well y’all have absolutely convinced me to buy an air fryer. I’m gonna order it today! But first: Your mid-week Pop Culture Fix.

+ Okay so buckle up. Marvel’s about to play us again and I’m going to eat it up anyway. Michaela Coel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever character is, officially, Aneka. In the comics, she’s T’Challa’s choice for Dora Milaje combat instructor. I don’t want to spoil too much, but Aneka and Ayo (played by Florence Kasumba in the films) are in a queer relationship and they make some really complicated but understandable decisions that put them at odds with the rest of the Dora Milaje. Like big time at odds. There was a rumored flirtation between Ayo and Okoye (played by Danai Gurira) that was apparently cut from the first film. So, of course, now everyone’s wondering if Aneka and Ayo are going to have their day in Wakanda Forever, especially because the armor Aneka is wearing in the trailer is the armor from the comic books that she gets when she goes against the Dora Milaje’s wishes. Marvel’s history with LGBTQ characters says no, no gay — but my heart always says yes, yes gay. I guess we’ll see which one wins this time!

+ The full trailer for A League of Their Own is here and I don’t know if I’m allowed to tell you this but this show is SO GAY y’all.

+ Why queer rep is exploding in video games.

+ Tessa Thomson’s terrifying turn is elevating Westworld’s entire fourth season.

+ How They/Them is changing horror for queer people.

+ Dragon Ball Z‘s forthcoming horror game finally confirms Frieza is bi. Isaiah Colbert
actually makes an amazing case for this theory. “As shown in the trailer, smoke bombs, flying drones, Tien’s solar flare technique, and even the dragon balls are fair game as a means to escape Raiders. But the most bizarre escape tactic goes to Dragon Ball-era Bulma’s bold attempt to flirt with a Second Form Frieza—and it works,” for starters.

+ Queer artists nominated for this year’s MTV VMAs.

+ Shudder’s Queer for Fear looks thoughtful and wildly entertaining.

+ Sarah Paulson has signed on for the new horror thriller, Dust. For someone who doesn’t like to be scared, she sure does do a lot of scary movies and TV shows. I think I blame Ellen for this?

+ Chucky is back with a season two trailer full of gory queer fun.

+ Big Joanie celebrate queer romance in “In My Arms” video.

+ Ten things Heartstopper gets very right about queer teenage relationships.

+ Lady Gaga’s Chromatica Ball is queer euphoria.

+ Keke Palmer’s whole career has been leading up to NOPE.

+ Queer WNBA superstar Chelsea Gray was last night’s Commissioner’s Cup MVP! Kelsey Plum: “She’s the MVP tonight, but she has been leading our team the whole season … She doesn’t get the love and credit she deserves, and I’m really, really glad that people saw that tonight.”

+ Kate McKinnon debated leaving SNL for years.

+ Niecy Nash-Betts teases what’s coming in her Rookie spin-off.

+ Anonymous VFX artist discusses anxiety attacks and absurdly long hours on Marvel movies.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. I was at They/Them’s Outfest premier and ended up walking out. I wasn’t the only one, either. One person had a panic attack; we spent the finale sharing a granola bar in the lobby and venting about the movie’s irresponsibility and general badness. I love horror movies! I love queer horror movies! I should have been the target audience for They/Them! And yet I would recommend it to no one. It is gay torture porn (and not the fun consensual kind). Watch Fear Street instead.

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