Marvel’s Eternals Gets Banned Over LGBTQ+ Characters in Middle East Countries

By Russ Milheim Updated:
Eternals, LGBTQ, Ajak, Ikaris, Phastos

Marvel Studios' Eternals will be arriving for many fans across the world soon. The cosmic epic has been hyped up by those involved for a long time now, so it's weird to think that it's actually almost time to watch it.

One of the biggest aspects of the project is how insanely diverse the entire cast is; it's refreshing, to say the least. The creatives wanted the group to represent all of humanity from the start of civilization––so it built in the need to change things from the comics and painted a better picture of what the world at large looks like.

These fantastic milestones, however, haven't been embraced by everyone around the world. The film has already found issues with China when it comes to getting a proper release, in fact, the country was rumored to want parts edited out.

A particular pressure point for many overseas countries, including China and Russia, has been the LGBTQIA+ relationship between the Eternal Phastos and his loving husband, with whom he shares a child.

It looks like there are more countries that may be having issues with it as well; namely the Gulf region.

Marvel's Eternals Gets an International Ban

Eternals LGBTQ
Marvel Studios

The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Marvel Studios' next film, Eternals, was banned in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar. It was originally set to hit theaters on November 11, 2021.

While not officially revealed, sources indicate that the reason is almost certainly due to the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ characters in the film––in this case being Brian Tyree Henry's Phastos and his husband.

The outlet reported that Disney declined requests from local censors to edit certain scenes from the film, hence leading to Eternals being banned. One regional cinema explained to the site that Eternals had been "banned" but was not told why.

For additional context, for nations in the Gulf, homosexuality is still illegal.

Eternals is still slated to release domestically on November 5, 2021.

Marvel & Disney Hold Their Eternal Ground

It's quite notable how Marvel Studios and Disney are putting their foot down and refusing to make any changes or edits that would get rid of the important representation held within Eternals. They are basically saying no to money––allowing entire countries and regions to ban the film, an almost unheard-of move when it comes to big corporations.

It's always important not to give in to censorship, as the practice is the antithesis of art itself. If any particular country or region is scared of what Eternals has to show the world, then they're only calling themselves out for the rest of the world to see.

The interesting dilemma this creates, assuming Phastos makes it out of Eternals alive, is the question of whether these bans will follow the character into whatever project he may become a part of. If Avengers 5 features him and the Eternals, will Marvel and Disney be willing to let a massive film such as that go unreleased in several places around the world?

Only time will tell. In the meantime, the rest of the world will get to watch Eternals on November 5, 2021.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.