Marvel's Eternals pulled in several countries, likely due to LGBTQ+ representation

After Disney refused a list of edits to the film, Eternals won't be shown in cinemas in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.


Marvel's Eternals isn't exactly getting a rave reaction from critics, but it seems like the unusual departure from the usual MCU formula is facing other difficulties as well ahead of its global premiere. Previously scheduled to hit theatres in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar on the November 11th, it seems the movie got pulled recently after Disney refused a list of edits submitted by these countries' censors.

Eternals is far from the best film that the MCU has produced, but is it the worst? Some critics seem to think so.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie will not be released in these three countries at all mainly due to its depiction of same-sex romance. Brian Tyree Henry's Phastos and Haaz Sleiman's Ben are a couple in the movie, which is made clear in many scenes. Unfortunately there still are places in the world where outdated and regressive viewpoints vilify love, and outright ban these relationships by law.

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Eternals isn't widely available yet, but has been screened to critics and the cast had often spoken about the introduction of a gay couple to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The ensemble cast of the Eternals already offers a racially and ethnically diverse headlining team, and it is welcome to see multiple sexualities represented as well - even though there is still more that can be done on that front.

Director Chloé Zhao spoke previously that she and Marvel Studios will work to ensure that the on-screen relationship between Phastos and Ben remains part of the movie in all international cuts, and now it seems that Disney is actually holding itself to that stance.

Previous comments by Zhao have led to her work being practically blacklisted in China, but Eternals likely wouldn't have been approved anyway due to LGBTQ+ representation. We're wondering, however, if Disney would have bent the knee before the censors for the sake of the Chinese market, which is known to have major effect on box office numbers - something that cannot be said of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.

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Disney didn't shy away from cutting content depicting same-sex romance from Star Wars - some international cuts of The Rise of Skywalker have edited out a brief on-screen kiss shared by two women during the celebration at the end of the film.

In comments regarding the relationship between Phastos and Ben, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige stated that "There have been gay superheroes in the comics. It is more than past time in the movies. It's just the start". Feige has promised that viewers will see more LGBTQ+ representation in the MCU in the future. How the studio will handle releases in regions that still do not tolerate such representation remains to be seen.

Eternals has been widely panned by critics so far, sitting at a sad 53% on Rotten Tomatoes making it the lowest rated MCU movie to date - not that Rotten Tomatoes percentages reflect movie quality, or are a good indicator of success. Remember, Venom scored just 30% and went on to become a hit with audiences, spawning a sequel.

Marvel-Eternals-Celestials-Guardians-Galaxy
Eternals expands on some of the MCU's cosmology.

Chloé Zhao clearly intended Eternals to tear down a few of the walls that still stood in the MCU, as not only does the movie feature the first on-screen gay couple in the cinematic universe, but also its first true sex scene, something that star Richard Madden considered an important moment for the continuity.

Eternals opens on the 5th of November.

Aron Gerencser
Gaming at least as long as he's been walking, Aron is a fan of all things sci-fi and lover of RPGs. Having written about games for years, he's right at home reporting most of the breaking news in the industry and covering the happenings of the e-sports world. When not writing, editing or playing, you can find Aron on Facebook.