Disney was always supportive of the sex scene in Eternals, says director Chloé Zhao. Set after the occasions of Avengers: Endgame, the film follows an immortal race of alien beings known as the Eternals, who should rejoin after 7,000 years on Earth to shield the human race from their malicious counterparts, known as Deviants. Before Zhao made her MCU debut with Eternals, she became just the second woman in history, after The Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow in 2010, to win the Academy Award for Best Director for her drama Nomadland.
Eternals, in any case, has gotten things started by including the MCU’s first sex scene, between Richard Madden’s Ikaris and Gemma Chan’s Sersi, whose extremely old romance plays a vital job in the film’s story. And, in an interview with THR, Zhao says she was the only one hesitant to include it. The director portrays Disney as incredibly supportive of the scene and the way it played out in the film:
We realized that to recount a mature love story, a love story that spans thousands of years, to not do any kind of intimate scene felt unnatural to me. And everybody was in total agreement. When we filmed it and altered it together, we showed a few people to see their reactions. And everybody, Disney as indeed, said, ‘That is a beautiful display of love,’ [regarding] the way our actors played it together and the way it fit into the disposition and where it is in the film. So everybody resembled, ‘We should do it!’ If anything, I was the person who resembled, ‘Is it okay? Can we do this?’ But everybody was supportive of that.
The variety of the Eternals cast, which includes Marvel’s first gay and deaf superheroes, has been met with a great deal of energy. Many are hoping the film will set the standard for representation in future Marvel installments, and while it could also be a stage toward normalizing PDA in the MCU, that’s far more uncertain. Disney remains a danger averse studio, and while the Eternals are lesser-known characters that allow for greater experimentation on Zhao’s part, it’s hard to see them risking the marketability of their marquee saints to youngsters by depicting them in the pains of passion.