No one was particularly curious about the rating for Eternals, but something about the MPAA’s reasons for the rating it chose has some curious about the superhero movie potentially pushing the envelope even further than already thought.
As ComingSoon notes, the MPAA has made its ruling, unsurprisingly classifying Marvel’s Eternals as PG-13. The part that has some fans scratching their chins is that the MPAA made its decision based on “fantasy violence and action, some language and brief sexuality.” Yes, it’s that last “brief sexuality” that’s sprouted some fans’ antennae, and not just because it means the movie will be at least a little steamy. After all, these heroes have been around for centuries. Are they supposed to not date for all that time? You can’t just spend hundreds of years doing nothing but shooting eye-beams at Deviants.
No, what has fans is curious is — if there is a sex scene in Eternals — whether or not the characters in the scene will be gay. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed on Good Morning America (via Entertainment Weekly) in 2019 that the film would include an openly gay character who would be married and have children. In February 2020, it was confirmed that Feige had been referring to Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), a master of technology. Speaking to Logo, Haaz Sleiman (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan) said his character is married to Phastos and that the film will feature the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first same sex kiss. He added that while filming the kiss, it was so moving that the cast and crew all wept openly.
As Mey Rude notes for Yahoo News, for a while now the architects of the MCU have been criticized for queer-baiting — i.e., hinting that certain characters might be LGBTQ+ as a marketing tool, without explicitly demonstrating their sexuality. Introducing audiences to an openly gay superhero is obviously a step in the right direction, but the MPAA’s notes on their rating have some wondering if Eternals might actually go further and feature a gay love scene. Of course, the MCU doesn’t usually have any kind of full-blown sex scenes. If it happens, it would likely be something that merely implies sex — like Natasha (Scarlett Johansson) talking about getting in a shower with Bruce (Mark Ruffalo) in Avengers: Age of Ultron, or one of the scenes in the Iron Man films that cuts out right before “the act.”
It’s also likely Sersi’s (Gemma Chan) Eternals storyline will involve plenty of romance, and this could be what the MPAA’s “brief sexuality” note is referencing. The first teaser for the film includes shots of Sersi and Ikaris (Richard Madden) embracing at different points in history. The very presence of Dane Whitman (Kit Harington), aka the Black Knight, suggests there will be a love triangle going on, as Whitman and Sersi were lovers for quite a while in the source material.
Regardless of what kind of romance it brings or who’s involved, Eternals will be released on Friday, November 5. Like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Marvel’s Eternals — along with the rest of Disney’s 2021 film slate — will be released exclusively in theaters.