Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’s LGBT Moment Is Censored In The Middle East
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is already screening in many places around the world, but some corners of the globe aren’t seeing the movie uncut. The Hollywood Reporter has heard from multiple audience members that an LGBTQ moment in Episode IX has been censored from the film in the United Arab Emirates. THR notes that this is fully expected to occur in many other Middle Eastern countries, too, and while the publication has reached out to Disney for a comment on the censorship, they haven’t received one yet.
Fans have been campaigning hard to get some LGBT+ representation in the franchise for a while and prior to its release, director J.J. Abrams assured us that there would be one scene to this end in TROS. And sure enough, at the end of the film, two female Resistance pilots are seen to kiss in celebration. It only lasts a few seconds on screen, but this is the first same-sex kiss to ever be featured in the saga, so it’s still pretty significant and a big first for the franchise.
It’s believed that the scene has been retained for Rise‘s release in China, with the Middle Eastern censors being the first ones to remove it. This is just the latest example of extreme censorship in Hollywood films in the region, too, and it doesn’t even always apply to only LGBT content either, as a kiss between T’Challa and Nakia in Marvel’s Black Panther was likewise cut. One of the hardest-hit movies though has to be The Wolf of Wall Street, which lost a whole 45 minutes when shown in the Middle East.
Though this censorship is dispiriting, let’s not forget that this is still an important, albeit fairly small, step towards better representation in the sci-fi franchise. Let’s just hope that future movies after Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker take even greater strides.