The Old Guard is just what a lot of people are probably looking for right now. It's a classic action movie in the middle of July with lots of guns and blood. However, there's a lot more going on inside The Old Guard that those not familiar with the source material likely won't be expecting. One key element to the story is a gay relationship between two members of the immortal "Old Guard" the characters of Joe and Nicky.
Greg Rucka, who wrote the original graphic novel and also adapted the screenplay, recently told EW that the relationship was very important to him. He wanted the audience to see a queer relationship that was perfectly happy, as well as seeing two people whose relationship would never have happened had it not been for this random bit of fate, and that their love ultimately overcame the hatred that it was born in. According to Rucka...
I wanted a happy queer couple. I felt the audience needed to see, here are two people who, if not for this, probably wouldn’t have found each other. They have what they have because they have this gift. They meet killing each other, and only within that discovery that they can’t do it are they able to put down all this bullshit about religious hatred, about these cultural mandates, and look at each other and be like, ‘You know what? You are magical to me. My blessing isn’t that I get an eternal life. My blessing is I found you.’
The different characters in The Old Guard handle their immortality quite differently. For Charlize Theron's Andy it's become more curse than blessing, but for Joe and Nicky, the immortality is the reason they're together, and they both seem quite content to live forever as long as they have each other.
The relationship between Joe and Nicky really is something special. Greg Rucka says that he made the relationship a requirement for any film adaptation. He wasn't going to let the story be told without including it. Luckily, he ended up adapting his own work, so he could make sure it was given its proper importance.
The two men are clearly as in love with each other now, hundreds of years after they met, as they must have been when they first found each other. It's a relationship that we see between straight couples in movies and television frequently, but we rarely see anywhere else.
And the relationship between Joe and Nicky, played by Marwan Kenzari and Luca Marinelli, gets to be important to the story, in part because it's the only romantic relationship present in The Old Guard. None of the other, presumably, straight characters, have romantic storylines of their own, which allows this one to shine.