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Marvel’s Eternals given 18+ rating in Russia for including out gay superhero

Bryan Tyree Henry's Phastos will be Marvel's first prominent and out LGBTQ superhero.

By Alastair James

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Disney

Russia has slapped an 18+ rating Marvel’s next cinematic entry, Eternals because it features a gay superhero in a prominent role.

The rating, which means it’s “prohibited for children” is different from elsewhere, where the film has had a PG-13 rating. This means that the film has “fantasy violence and action, some language and brief sexuality.”

Russia’s 2013 law “for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values”, effectively bans positive representation of LGBTQ life to minors.

Bryan TyreeHenry as Phastos in Eternals (Photo: Disney)

Eternals is the first Marvel film to feature a gay superhero in a prominent role. Phastos, who will be played by Atlanta actor Bryan Tyree-Henry. In the film, his character is said to be in a relationship and have a family, which we will see.

Previously, Russia has awarded Marvel films with either a 12+ rating or 16+ for films such as Avengers: Endgame. Neither of which featured any prominent gay characters, although the latter featured a very minor gay role.

So, it seems like the fact that we’re finally getting an LGBTQ hero front and centre is very likely the reason for the higher rating in Russia.

It also wouldn’t be the first time a film has been given an 18+ rating in the strict conservative country. In 2017, the Power Rangers reboot film received the same treatment for including a lesbian storyline.

Despite this, the film was shown in full, which came shortly after Russia considered banning Disney’s Beauty and the Beast remake due to a “gay moment” in the film. Eventually, the film was given a 16+ rating.

Eternals is due to be released in the UK on 5 November. Watch the trailer below.

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