Caution: Spoilers ahead. Angelina Jolie expressed her admiration for Marvel’s decision not to edit out scenes depicting a central character in a same-sex partnership in the upcoming film Eternals. Jolie stated that she is “proud” of their choice.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the superhero film that everyone is looking forward to from Chloé Zhao, director of Nomadland, will not be released in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or Qatar. This is due to Marvel’s refusal to make certain changes requested by local censors.
Reportedly, some changes were made in the movie, particularly in the scenes featuring Phastos (portrayed by Brian Tyree Henry), who is the first openly gay superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and his partner Ben (played by Haaz Sleiman). It is said that these alterations mainly focused on their relationship and how they raise a child together with love. Additionally, there was an on-screen kiss shared between the two characters.
According to reports, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar have made requests to edit scenes featuring homosexuality, which is considered illegal in these countries. However, actress Angelina Jolie, who plays the superhero Thena in the movie Eternals, expressed her disappointment for those audiences affected by the cuts. She also commended Marvel for standing firm and refusing to remove the scenes.
It’s baffling to me that even in today’s world, there are still individuals who fail to recognize the value and beauty of Phastos’ family relationship and love. It’s disheartening that some people feel threatened, disapprove or fail to appreciate it. These views are simply ignorant.
Zhao’s recent film has garnered extensive commendation for its diverse representation. Notably, it features the first-ever gay superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), alongside the introduction of Makkari, the first deaf superhero in the MCU. In addition, the film boasts the first unreserved sex scene in the MCU. The movie premiered in theaters this past weekend.
In a recent interview with Refinery29, actress Lauren Ridloff, who portrays Makkari in the movie, expressed her excitement at playing a deaf superhero who is also a Black, Mexican, and female character. She considers it a significant milestone to be part of a movie that represents diversity and inclusivity. Although Marvel has existed for a long time, Ridloff only recently started seeing more representation of characters who look like her, such as in Black Panther and Shang-Chi films.
According to Zhao, it’s crucial for individuals who resemble or communicate similarly to us to witness themselves in movies. However, it’s also essential for those who have no similarities with us to perceive characters like Makkari and comprehend her personality as a human being. Even if they don’t share Makkari’s characteristics, audiences should be able to appreciate her company based on her internal qualities.