Censored! More than one country has banned Marvel’s latest superhero film because of its gay plot thread. Actors say it’s important to represent them on screen.
Marvel’s “Eternals” features a lot of firsts, including the MCU’s first (PG-13) sex scene and first gay superhero. But these may have led several countries, including Saudi Arabia and its neighbors, to ban the latest Marvel movie ahead of its November 11 release date.
According to Variety, this appears to be a last-minute decision as the region has been promoting “Eternals” for the November release. But sources confirmed that “Eternals” will no longer be playing in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, though tickets are still available in the UAE.
Homosexuality is considered illegal in those three Gulf countries: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar. In Saudi Arabia, the legally prescribed punishment for same-sex sexual acts is the death penalty.
According to Variety, Disney was unwilling to alter the movie to become compliant with local guidelines and has since been removed from their release schedules.
“I’m sad for [those audiences]. And I’m proud of Marvel for refusing to cut those scenes out,” Angelina Jolie said, confirming reports that Marvel declined to edit “Eternals” for international release. “I still don’t understand how we live in a world today where there’s still [people who] would not see the family Phastos has and the beauty of that relationship and that love.”
“Eternals” features Phastos, the first gay superhero in an MCU film. Played by Brian Tyree Henry, Phastos is seen living a domestic life with his husband and child when he’s recruited by the other Eternals to once again fend of the Deviants. As mentioned above, “Eternals” features the first homosexual kiss, which Haaz Sleiman, who plays one of the same-sex couples in the film, defines as a “life-saver”.
“Beyond a dream come true, it’s life-saving,” the actor told Variety. “I wish I had that when I was a kid to see this. My god. I wish! Can you imagine how many lives this is going to be saving — kids, young queer folk, who are being bullied, committing suicide, and not seeing themselves being represented? And now they get to see this — it’s above and beyond.” the actor told Variety magazine.
Other Marvel films like “Black Widow” and “Shang-Chi: Legend of the Ten Rings” have not been given release dates in key markets like China.