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Pairing: Joe/Nicky
Alternative name(s): Immortal Husbands, Kaysanova
Gender category: Slash
Fandom: The Old Guard
Canonical?: Yes
Prevalence: Very High
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Joe/Nicky is a canonical slash pairing of Yusuf Al-Kaysani and Nicolo di Genova in the graphic novel and film The Old Guard.

Canon Overview

Joe and Nicky met during the Siege of Jerusalem in 1099, on opposing sides of the conflict (Nicky as part of the Christian forces, and Joe as a Muslim). However, they found that neither was able to die. In the film, Nicky says the two killed each other "many times". It's implied that the two have been together for the majority of the time that has passed since then.

Fan Reactions

Many fans, as well as several mainstream entertainment news outlets, have praised the film for openly portraying a queer relationship on-screen and making it a central part of the plot, something that most action and superhero media tends to leave as subtext or cut entirely. Some articles have especially made comparisons to promises made by MCU directors to include queer characters that were ultimately not delivered on or explored in a meaningful way. [1]

Other fans have commented on what seems like a deliberate inversion of the Bury Your Gays trend. A tweet by Molly Knox Ostertag (wife of cartoonist and former fanartist ND Stevenson) from July 24th features a screencap of Nicky and Joe (as well as Eve Polastri/Villanelle) and reads:

Instead of burying your gays consider: the gays are doing the burying (starter pack) [2]

Within a day, the tweet gained 1300 retweets and comments and over 8000 likes.

The "He's Not My Boyfriend" scene specifically garnered a large reaction; the official Netflix UK & Ireland Youtube account's upload of that scene received 48,000 views within a week. It is a common source for fanvids and gifsets, and has its own canonical tag on Ao3.

Common Tropes and Themes

  • Enemies to Lovers - some fans see this as the ultimate example and fulfillment of this trope. Many works focus on their first meeting and the slow burn enemies to lovers relationship.
  • Non-English Languages - Joe and Nicky speak Italian with each other in the film on several occasions, an element that shows up often in fanworks. While Arabic is not spoken in the film, Joe and Nicky often refer to one another as habibi and hayati in fanfics.
  • Pre-canon fic (set during various historical periods)
  • Sun/Moon imagery
  • What Happened in Malta
  • The Great Kenzarelli Multiverse - In these Adjacent Ship fanworks, creators pair other characters played by Marwan Kenzari and Luca Marinelli (i.e. Majid from Wolf and Fabio from Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot)

Notable Fanworks




  • deo volente (lux aeterna) by qqueenofhades. The inevitable backstory. 65,654 words posted 11 days after the movie came out.
  • The #ImmortalHusbands Conspiracy by Amiril, phoenixacid. A mixed-media fanwork involving fanart and AO3 skins to make the fic look like Tumblr posts, Tweets, and more!
  • Peer Reviewed by ishandahalf. "An (accidental) academic epistolary romance as (inadvertently) documented via a (theoretically) rigorously blinded peer review process.[citation needed]"


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