Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has spoken in the past about the inclusion of an LGBTQ+ relationship in Eternals and how it "was always sort of inherent in the story and the makeup of the different types of Eternals." Feige also talked about normalizing such representation throughout the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As for who will be that representation in Eternals, Phastos, played by Bryan Tyree Henry, will be the first gay superhero in the MCU. He will be shown living as a human with a husband and two children, even having an on-screen kiss with his partner.
A new rating description from the MPAA for Eternals lists it as containing "brief sexuality," something that no other MCU film has received. It could simply be slightly suggestive scenes between Sersi and Dane Whitman, another straight romance in the film.
Still, many have theorized it is likely due to the MPAA's documented history of bias against gay relationships in films and that this label was meant for Phastos and his partner. A new rating for Eternals in Russia seems to all but confirm this being the case.
An 18+ Rating for Eternals in Russia
According to Kino Metro, a Russian agency providing information services for film markets based in Moscow, has listed the MCU with its first 18+ rating for Eternals.
As a comparison, here are Russian ratings for previous MCU films:
The Avengers — 12+
Ant-Man and the Wasp — 12+
Avengers: Endgame — 16+
Spider-Man: Far From Home — 12+
Black Widow — 16+
Shang-Chi — 16+
Homophobia in Russian Cinema
Typically, this rating is given to media that is "prohibited for children" and equivalent to an R-Rating for films. However, it has also been used for any media that includes, or even suggests, any LGBTQ+ content, such as Power Rangers also being labeled 18+ simply due to the implication that Becky Gomez's Trini, one of the main characters, was gay.
This is due to the "gay propaganda law" enacted in Russia in 2013, intended to protect children from being exposed to queer themes and anything that contradicts traditional family values.
So, the same seems to have happened with Eternals, which hopefully won't also mean that Russian theaters will have cut scenes between Phastos and his partner. Russian audiences will find out for themselves a day earlier than Americans when Eternals releases in theaters in the United States on November 5, 2021.