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'Eternals' director Chloé Zhao hopes gay characters won't get cut out from the movie's international release

By AYIE LICSI Published Oct 27, 2021 4:28 pm

Director Chloé Zhao has her fingers crossed that Marvel won't censor its first gay superhero, Phastos, when Eternals releases internationally in the coming weeks.

"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," the Oscar award-winning filmmaker told IndieWire. "Fingers crossed."

It was revealed in 2019 that Eternals introduces the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first openly gay superhero, Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry). The film also actually acknowledges the hero's sexuality onscreen—last year it was reported that they even filmed a kiss between Phastos and his partner last year.

Phastos with his husband and their child meeting Ikaris and Sersi.

In the past, blockbuster movies have been censored and banned from countries because of LGBTQ+ characters and moments—even the most subtle ones. Beauty in the Beast was shelved in Malaysia for LeFou's characterization, Onward was banned in multiple Middle East countries and censored in Russia due to a minor reference to a lesbian relationship, and the same-sex kiss in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was cut out of the movie in Singapore.

Aside from featuring the studio's first openly gay hero, Eternals also brings the MCU its first sex scene. Zhao said that these Marvel firsts come from the studio's "desire" to do something different and went through a lot of discussions.

"I think the desire to do something different is a very natural desire for where Marvel Studios is right now. I think it’s like Westerns coming into the revisionist period of the 70s. I think it’s happening to superhero films—or at least we’re on the edge of that. And so these scenes just started to happen naturally," she said.

The Eternals centers around a race of immortal beings with superhuman powers who have secretly lived on Earth for over 7,000 years. They reunite to protect humanity from their evil counterparts, the Deviants.