There's quite a lot that fans are curious to see in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, as the epic film closes out the "Skywalker Saga" as we know it. One topic of speculation in recent days has been the film's same-sex kiss, which began to be teased by director JJ Abrams earlier this month. Some had speculated that the sequence, which would be the first canonically LGBTQ moment in a Star Wars film, would be edited out of the film for the often-regulated Chinese market. According to new details from The Hollywood Reporter, that isn't the case, as preview screenings of The Rise of Skywalker in both Beijing and Shanghai have kept the moment in the film.
China has had a complex history of censoring LBTQ content over the years, from Brokeback Mountain being refused a release in the country, to cutting more than five minutes (including a same-sex kiss) from Alien: Covenant's theatrical release in 2017. The live-action Beauty and the Beast fared differently, as a scene with Le Fou (Josh Gad) dancing with another man was not cut or given a parental warning in the country.
Without getting too heavily into spoilers, The Rise of Skywalker's scene in question occurs between two female members of the Resistance, who can be seen kissing each other during a moment of celebration.
“In the case of the LGBTQ community, it was important to me that people who go to see this movie feel that they’re being represented in the film,” Abrams said in an interview earlier this month. “...I will say I’m giving away nothing about what happens in the movie. But I did just say what I just said.”
The moment has already started a conversation among critics and audience members who have seen the film, as some feared that it was trying to do the bare minimum with regards to advancing LGBTQ representation. Avengers: Endgame faced a similar sort of discourse earlier this year, after an unnamed side character played by co-director Joe Russo was technically dubbed the first LGBTQ character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While this Rise of Skywalker scene will be the first canonical LGBTQ moment in a Star Wars film, it certainly is far from the first in the franchise. Multiple Star Wars novels have introduced gay and lesbian characters in recent years, including confirming that Bea Arthur's Holiday Special character was a lesbian. The animated series Star Wars Resistance also featured a canonically gay couple earlier this year.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in theaters on December 20th.