Since Phase 4 of the MCU began, Marvel Studios has put more of a concerted effort into bringing new levels of representation to the story on the big and small screen. This includes a number of characters that are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, although that’s led to some issues regarding a couple of releases in some countries across the world.
2021’s Eternals was banned from releasing in three Middle Eastern nations due to Phastos being depicted as a gay character, with the movie showing his relationship with his husband. Six months later, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness faced those same bans thanks to America Chavez having two mothers, although Disney refused to take that moment out due to it being only 12 seconds of footage.
Now, Black Panther 2 faces that same struggle with its own debut, as Disney was forced to remove a small amount of material bringing a new gay relationship to the Marvel Studios narrative.
Disney Cuts LGBTQ+ Scene for Black Panther 2
The Hollywood Reporter shared that Disney has cut about one minute of footage from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever so that it can avoid a release ban in the country Kuwait.
Part of that footage includes a brief moment where Aneka kisses Ayo on the forehead, confirming their LGBTQIA+ relationship in the film. Additionally, a line of dialogue saying "A god to his people" was removed during a scene where a woman is shown giving birth.
Kuwait is reportedly the only country that insisted on cuts to any LGBTQIA+ characters, even in an area with many nations that have come down hard on that representation. Black Panther 2 will still screen in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and Qatar in its full unedited form.
Kuwait is considered the strictest in that area for censorship. This country went so far as to have the kiss between T'Challa and Nakia in 2018's original Black Panther removed and also took out another heterosexual kiss from 2021's Encanto.
Disney Faces Strict Laws for Black Panther 2 Release
While it's difficult to see Disney being forced to adjust one minute of footage in a film that's nearly three hours long for international LGBTQIA+ restrictions, fans are certainly curious about the differences in decisions for this movie and others in Phase 4. The company stood behind Doctor Strange 2 in its full form while cutting this moment between Ayo and Aneka for Black Panther 2, and it's difficult to tell why Disney made this call after seeing what happened earlier this year.
Ayo and Aneka's gay relationship has been discussed a number of times throughout the marketing campaign for Black Panther 2, being confirmed as part of the movie a few weeks ahead of its debut. But something else to take into account is that Kuwait has the strictest laws of arguably any country out there, going so far as to ban opposite-sex relationship moments as well.
Hopefully, as fans get the chance to take in Black Panther 2 for the first time, this ban won't change Disney's mind about bringing more representation like this into the MCU and other major franchises.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is now playing in theaters worldwide.