Eternals Director Chloe Zhao Hopes Gay Characters Won't Be Censored Overseas

Eternals is finally hitting theaters in less than two weeks, and Marvel fans are eager to meet the movie's vast cast of characters. There are ten Eternals with superhuman powers who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years, and they each have their own unique abilities and personalities. It was announced back in 2019 that one of the Eternals would be a gay character with a family, and it was revealed over time that the character in question would be Brian Tyree Henry's Phastos. During a recent interview with IndieWire, director Chloé Zhao spoke about bringing the MCU's first gay superhero to life on the big screen, and shared her hope that none of his scenes will get cut overseas, which has happened many times in the past.

"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. Fingers crossed," Zhao shared. "The way Phastos' story plays out in the film is that he's 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. 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.'"

She added, "To position that family in that specific situation and to have that moment feel authentic and real... the audience has to feel that to care. Otherwise, there's no point in putting that onscreen because they don't feel it."

Actor Haaz Steiman plays Phastos' husband in the film, and recently spoke with NewNowNext (via The Direct) about his role.

"It's my first Marvel film, so of course I'm excited. My gut feeling is you'll be so proud. 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."

Steiman previously confirmed that the movie will feature an on-screen kiss between the husbands. 

"Oh, yeah, absolutely, and it's a beautiful, very moving kiss. Everyone cried on set," Sleiman explained. "For me, it's very important to show how loving and beautiful a queer family can be. Brian Tyree Henry is such a tremendous actor and brought so much beauty into this part, and at one point I saw a child in his eyes, and I think it's important for the world to be reminded that we in the queer community were all children at one point. We forget that because we're always depicted as sexual or rebellious. We forget to connect on that human part."

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Eternals arrives in theaters on November 5, 2021.