Eternals director Chloé Zhao is working with Marvel to prevent scenes featuring the film’s gay main character from being censored in overseas markets.
Eternals director Chloé Zhao says she and Marvel Studios are working to make sure scenes featuring the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first openly gay hero, Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), are not censored in overseas markets.
“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,” Zhao told IndieWire. “Fingers crossed.”
Zhao also revealed that, prior to her becoming director, Phastos being the MCU’s first openly gay superhero was already “written into the story,” adding that Phastos’ story in Eternals in portrays as him being “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,” she continued. “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.'”
Phastos, however, will not be the only gay superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige promised more gay superheroes will hit the silver screen. “There have been gay superheroes in the comics. It is more than past time in the movies,” Feige stated. “It’s just the start.”
In addition, actor Haaz Sleiman — who plays Phastos’ husband in the film — discussed what it was like playing half of the MCU’s first openly gay couple back in January. “It’s my first Marvel film, so of course, I’m excited. My gut feeling is you’ll be so proud,” Sleiman said. “What Marvel has been able to accomplish, I’m so proud of them because they approached it in a very thoughtful way, and Phastos is one of the biggest superheroes in the film. I’m his husband, an architect; we have a child. Even though I wished I was the superhero, because when will we see an Arab Muslim openly gay actor playing a superhero? I can’t wait to see it.”
Eternals arrives in theaters on Nov. 5.
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