Over the years, China has rejected a number of moments on film and television representing the LGBT community. Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain in 2005 and Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name in 2017 never hit big screens in the Middle Kingdom due to the country’s regular censorship of gay-themed content. However, it looks like the country has allowed a brief same-sex kiss in Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker through in Chinese theaters.
For the most part, China has famously cut out LGBTQ moments on the silver screen. One other exception is 2017’s Beauty and the Beast, when Josh Gad’s Le Fou is briefly seen dancing with a man in a dress. Now, the first gay moment in Star Wars history has been given a pass by China as well, THR found per early audiences from the country. However, much like Beauty and the Beast before it, fans have pointed out it’s another blink-and-you’ll-miss moment.
In 2017, China cut a five-minute sequence involving a same-sex kiss for Michael Fassbender’s David and Walter in Alien: Covenant. Last year, the country was under fire for censoring Freddie Mercury’s sexuality in the award-winning blockbuster Bohemian Rhapsody when it came to China. It’s interesting to see the country let through Rise of Skywalker’s same-sex kiss. Will China change their censorship policies moving forward or is the Star Wars moment an exception to a rule?
Ahead of the release of the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga, J.J. Abrams teased the addition of LGBTQ representation in Rise of Skywalker, yet not between Oscar Isaac and John Boyega’s Poe and Finn. Fans have been hopeful of the pair’s relationship blooming into a romance since the release of The Force Awakens, but Abrams assured it’s nothing more than a bromance.
Oscar Isaac has been an avid supporter of Poe and Finn as lovers, recently telling Variety the following:
Personally, I kind of hoped and wished that maybe that would’ve been taken further in the other films, but I don't have control… It seemed like a natural progression, but sadly enough it’s a time when people are too afraid, I think, of … I don't know what.
However, the inclusion of a gay moment in one of the year’s biggest movie is something, right? It shows Hollywood’s recent effort to include more groups into blockbusters. And for China to decide not to censor it could be a more progressive step forward for the country.
Over the summer, Avengers: Endgame had a brief gay representation when co-director Joe Russo had a cameo as a character who discusses losing a male partner in The Snap. The brief scene faced some backlash from fans, to which Marvel Chief Kevin Feige defended and teased “much more prominent LGBT heroes” in the studio’s future.
Check out Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker in theaters now and what’s coming in the new year with our 2020 movie release calendar.