On the off-chance that you live in either Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, or Qatar, don’t go trying to see Eternals in theaters. Marvel’s latest blockbuster has been pulled from the big screen in those countries, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The apparent ban is believed to have been made over the film’s inclusion of a same-sex couple and the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first openly gay superhero.
News of the ban emerged after Eternals was quietly removed from various theater websites in each of the aforementioned countries before its intended release on November 11th. (It hits American theaters tomorrow, November 5th.) THR reports that Disney was not willing to acquiesce to “a series of edit requests” made by local censors, resulting in it being pulled from those countries altogether.
While it hasn’t been explicitly confirmed that LGBTQ+ themes were the source of Eternals’ ban, the film includes a passionate kiss between Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and his screen husband Ben (Haaz Sleiman). Homosexuality is still illegal across much of the Persian Gulf, and countries in the region are no strangers to censoring LGBTQ+ representation in film. Last year, Pixar’s Onward was banned in multiple Gulf countries over a single line of dialogue referencing a lesbian relationship.
Despite some rather mixed reviews and a long production postponement, bans across the globe likely won’t keep Eternals from seeing success in the US and beyond — this is a Marvel film, after all. It also has some merit thanks to direction from Chloé Zhao, whose previous film Nomadland made her the first woman of color to win the Academy Award for Best Director.