Marvel Studios’ Eternals is no longer releasing in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or Qatar. Per The Hollywood Reporter, the film was banned from being released in the three countries do the inclusion of a same-sex couple in the film.
Eternals was originally slated to hit theaters in the Gulf Region on Nov. 11, shortly after its release in the United States. However, the film has been quietly removed from appearing on websites in the three countries. Interestingly, though, it is still showing as coming soon in the United Arab Emirates.
The ban comes as Disney was given a series of edit requests to make on Eternals to adhere to the local censors. Disney, however, refused to comply with the requests, resulting in the film being pulled from release. While not on the record, it’s thought one of the requests was to cut the on-screen kiss between Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and his on-screen husband Ben (Haaz Sleiman).
Phastos, of course, is the first gay superhero to appear within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which makes the on-screen kiss between the two characters monumental. Unfortunately, though, because homosexuality is still illegal across the Gulf, the depiction of it in the film was always going to ruffle some feathers.
Eternals hits theaters tomorrow. It is directed by Chloé Zhao and stars an ensemble cast including Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Lauren Ridloff, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Harish Patel, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie.