The Eternals has had so many firsts: the first openly gay superhero, the first deaf superhero, and the first South-Asian Marvel superhero, to name a few.
The movie also features the first sex scene in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s weird to think it’s never happened before, but sex and Disney titles have never really gotten along.
So how did producers of the movie pull off a historic first in a very anti-impropriety company like Disney? Nate Moore, who produced both Black Panther and Eternals, appeared on the Phase Zero Marvel podcast to talk about it.
Before we get into that, lets go over the scene. It involves two Eternals: Ikaris, played by Richard Madden, and Sersi, played by Gemma Chan.
The two have been lovers for centuries and obviously do more than just kiss on the cheek. Moore said both he and director Chloé Zhao wanted to make sure the lovers’ energy felt authentic.
“Chloé was very adamant about it because she wanted that relationship to feel real and not PG,” Moore explained. “And even in the development phase of the movie, we thought the Eternals would be a bit more evolved about sexuality than you, or I, or ratings boards. You know what I mean? It felt disingenuous to be like, oh, and these people also just hold hands all the time. Like they’re 7,000 years old, guys.”
Moore explained that the reason they got to film a sex scene was because Disney is always ready to support stories of true love.
And again, our attempt was to build the movie around this love story between these two people. That [sex] is very much part of love – we could pretend it’s not, I suppose, but it is. So to have that actually being filmed felt important and to do it tastefully – of which Chloé was always interested in, she never was trying to push the envelope in that way. But when we did show the cut to Disney, did we think we were going to get a note? Sure. Of course.
Instead of getting a note to cut or alter it, Disney surprisingly jumped on board, Moore said.
But they didn’t. But I will say they didn’t. They said, ‘Oh, well, we get it. Wow. First sex scene. Okay. Let’s go.’ And they never asked us to cut it shorter or to obscure anything. Like I think they understood the intent of it and because it wasn’t done in poor taste, I think, they were game.
Now that Disney has broken the sex scene barrier, maybe it’ll open the floodgates and we’ll see more superhero bonking in the future. Hulk smash indeed.