DC Comics decided to make Twitter erupt by confirming Jon Kent (son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane) as bisexual. Of course, fans wondered what it would mean for the live-action Jon starring in The CW’s Superman and Louis TV series. From what I can tell, actor Jordan Elsass, who plays Jon, isn’t too keen on the idea. Not him panicking! Ha!
To be fair. I get that sometimes the actual context of what an actor says during interviews can be lost when their words are typed out. We also can’t hear their tone or see their facial expressions. However, having said that, from what I could tell, Jordan Elsass would be quite happy if his live-action portrayal of Jon Kent continues to remain straight.
Via Decider, here’s what Elsass had to say when asked about Jon coming out as bisexual in the comic books and whether or not it could impact Superman and Lois:
“This is a different Earth,” Elsass said, noting that he had seen the news about his comics counterpart earlier in the day. “This is a different version of Jon Kent. And you have to remember there are other differences as well. Jon Kent, in this universe, as far as we know, doesn’t have powers yet. So there’s always that possibility, for sure, especially growing up, those formative years, there are things to explore. But I don’t necessarily know if that is going to be one of those things. Jon Kent, in this universe, at least for now, has been established as straight.”
Where are the PR teams for actors when you need them to answer questions about queer representation in media? I’m available! Sigh!
Elsass’ answer can actually be used as ammunition for those who rolled their eyes at DC Comics confirming Jon’s bisexuality while stating how the company was pandering to the queer community by taking such a step. This group of people (which included folk from the LGBTQ+ community) shared that Jon’s bisexuality was nothing more than a marketing gimmick to temporarily boost comic book sales because if DC Comics and TPTB were actually supportive of such a decision, they should 100% stand with it. This means that Jon Kent should be portrayed as bisexual in all current and future depictions of the superpowered character, which includes Superman & Lois.
Going by what Elsass said, Jon might not come out as bisexual anytime time soon. Not only that, Elsass even mentioned his Jon belonging to a “different Earth” as if that’s excuse enough to proclaim how Jon has been “established as straight.”
I don’t know if Elsass realizes this, but continuing to portray a canon queer character as “straight” or ignoring a canon queer character’s sexuality falls under the definition of Straightwashing. Elsass’ comments made me have a flashback to how The CW tried to make John Constantine “straight” in his solo series back in 2014.
Also, when the heck was Jon “established as straight” in the first season of Superman and Lois? Did we get a scene where Jon proclaimed that he’s not into dudes at all? Did I miss an episode or two? Let me know!
The fact that Elsass was so quick to try and counter the possibility of playing a bisexual Jon is what’s making me side-eye him. And that’s ironic because the moment Elsass as Jon Kent made his debut in the very first episode, fans were quick to theorize he was likely going to be “the gay one”, and that was long before the rumors of Jon being bisexual in the comic books appeared online. Ha!
Not only Elsass, but his co-star Alex Garfin (who plays Jon’s younger brother Jordan Kent) also decided to chime in for some reason. He shared:
“Honestly this show likes to explore the inner workings of these dynamics on such a close level, that that level of complexity, adding sexuality into it would be very intense, and that would be something maybe down the line,” Garfin added. “But as of now, this is a Superman story. Superman is not a linear thing. We are taking what we like from the comics, what the writers… like from the comics, and telling the story the want to tell. It’s the story [showrunner] Todd [Helbing] wants to tell, and he’s telling a beautiful one right now, so we’ll see where it goes.”
That’s rich coming from Garfin when a part of his character arc as Jordan involved catching feelings for Sarah Cushing (Inde Navarrette). So, according to Garfin, Jordan having a crush on Sarah falls under the right type of sexuality for a show about literal superpowered aliens, but Jon realizing that he’s bisexual would make things too complex and intense? For whom? The cishet straight viewers?
As of now, I’m simply disappointed at the responses offered by both actors, especially Elsass. I’m not surprised though. This wouldn’t be the first time an actor went on the defensive when met with the possibility that their “established as straight” fictional character might be queer.
Giving an iconic pop culture pairing like Clark Kent and Lois Lane a young queer son and having them be supportive of Jon is a huge deal. But what good will Jon being bisexual actually do if he remains straightwashed in other media, specifically when it comes to live-action which is well-known for straightwashing canon queer characters. MCU, what’s good?
Developed by Greg Berlanti and Todd Helbing, the first season of Superman and Lois debuted on February 23, 2021, on The CW. While the show opened with a bang, over the course of the series, the live-viewing numbers fell, with the season finale (episode 15) attracting only 0.62 million live-viewers, a big drop from the premiere’s 1.75 million live-viewers. That’s The Walking Dead: World Beyond level of bad, especially for an iconic IP.
The show has been renewed for a second season to air sometime in early 2022. Let’s see what kind of viewing numbers it’s able to hold onto and what the creative team decides to do with Jon being bisexual in the source material.
What’s your opinion on Jon’s queer sexuality and how it should be handled in different mediums?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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