There's a censorship problem out there in today's world, one that, thankfully, isn't as dire in the US. However, when it comes to releasing content across the world, the United States isn't the only destination.
Countries such as China and Russia are notorious for requiring studios to adjust their content to meet their requirements. These practices have caused their fair share of controversies. In fact, studios, such as Marvel Studios with Iron Man 3, have gone out of their way to create additional content just to appease them.
Popular MCU films like Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings have still not seen a release in some countries abroad for various reasons. The odds don't look great for other films in the upcoming slate either—and it doesn't just affect Marvel, there are various Disney films in the same position.
Eternals features Marvel's first live-action openly gay lead character, something that doesn't lend itself kindly to a release in countries such as those stated above. But the real question is, will the studio give in and make those requested drastic changes?
Marvel Studios to Avoid Cutting LGBTQ+ Scenes
Chloé Zhao's upcoming Marvel Studios epic, Eternals, is set for its debut in just a couple of weeks.
The film features the MCU's first openly gay superhero in Phastos, an Eternal played by Brian Tyree Henry. When it comes to LGBTQ+ content, countries overseas can be, to put it lightly, close-minded. In turn, this usually results in censorship in many forms of media.
In a conversation with IndieWire, Zhao mentioned that the hope is to "not change the cut of the movie:"
“I don’t know all the details but I do believe discussions were had and there’s a big desire from Marvel and myself — we talked about this — to not change the cut of the movie. Fingers crossed.”
The director goes on to describe Phastos as a character, revealing that thanks to that "one person he falls in love with," he "regain[s] the face of humanity:"
“The way Phastos’ story plays out in the film is that he’s someone who only sees humanity as a whole and believes that technology’s going to solve the problem. Obviously, he lost faith in us for some very tough things that we’ve done. And then he had to stop looking at us as a whole and look at one person he falls in love with, and one child, to regain the face of humanity. It’s like us turning on the news and thinking it’s completely hopeless and then going home, looking at our lover and our child and going like, ‘Well actually this is worth fighting for.'”
Zhao reaffirms that those moments of Phastos on-screen with his family were necessary, making it so that "the audience has to feel that to care:"
“To position that family in that specific situation and to have that moment feel authentic and real…the audience has to feel that to care. Otherwise, there’s no point in putting that onscreen because they don’t feel it.”
Marvel Studios Fights Censorship
It's refreshing to see a massive company such as Marvel Studios, and Disney by association, standing up against that censorship—something which is the antithesis of art itself.
When it comes to massive corporations, usually the bottom line comes first. However, if Disney holds its ground and chooses to keep the movie as is, in turn sacrificing a release in that country, then it will be a monumental moment for the industry.
If the studio caves, and makes those requested changes, then they will be allowing censorship to live another day.
It's not all black and white, sadly. While the positive outcome would be Marvel and Disney not changing anything for Eternals' release, the negative impact of that is how it would leave entire countries of fans without any way to access the content that they love and have been following; in this case, the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Hopefully, things will work out in the end, and everyone will be able to experience Chloé Zhao's epic when it releases worldwide on November 5.