A potential name for an alien race in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 has apparently been rejected by Marvel Studios and director James Gunn for an unexpected reason.
On his Facebook page today, the filmmaker explained to fans that while he runs alien races and characters culled from the comics by Marvel's legal department, it's usually for fairly mundane reasons, like the possibility that Fox or Sony might own the rights to those minor properties and Gunn doesn't know it.
Apparently today, he was told that an alien race which first appeared in Marvel Comics in 1964 is probably not a great candidate, on account of their sexually-explicit name:
"While writing Guardians scripts I like to use the names of characters from the comics as much as possible - it makes watching the movie more fun for longtime Marvel fans (one of whom is me)," Gunn wrote. "Characters like Kraglin, The Broker, Bereet, and Garthan Saal all originally appeared in the comics, albeit sometimes in very different incarnations. Every name I use I have to run through the Marvel legal department. Lately, in the service of building out the Marvel cosmic side of the universe, I've been trying to clear names of alien species we see in the background. It's always a bummer when I can't use a name, usually because Fox or Sony or Hasbro or whomever owns the rights. But today I received a brand new reason for being advised against calling one of the alien species 'Sneepers.'
"'Sneeper is a word for clitoris in Icelandic.'"
So, it appears as though those characters are out.
What's interesting, though, is that apparently the Sneepers had three pectoral muscles, and the females had three breasts as a result. Given the suggestive name of their race, one has to wonder whether they might be connected to Eccentrica Gallumbits, the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon Six, referenced in Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
A day after we first ran this story, we've received a number of responses from readers. The first came in the form of a pair of tweets last night/this morning:
@russburlingame I guess so yes :) I sincerely doubt you will find a single Icelander that might find this offensive :)— Jon H. Jakobsson (@jonhnefill) September 12, 2015
Commenter Jack_Ice got a little more specific below, saying in the comments, "As a Icelandic I can tell you that the word sneeper does not exist but we have a word snipur that would be pronounced like sneeper but I can tell you that most people here would only laugh about it, we are not like overly sensitive about it."
Leaving aside the "overly sensitive" jokes, we'll just point out that Disney is likely less worried about actual complaints than they are about the fact that using the word would preclude them from ever being able to decide they wanted to make a toy...!