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Film and TV

Surprise surprise, the same-sex kiss In Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was censored in Dubai

Josh Milton December 20, 2019
Star Wars

Star Wars director J.J. Abrams had long promised greater LGBT+ representation in the franchise (Disney)

The historic same-sex kiss in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was reportedly censored in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

While the city consists of a canyon of looming skyscrapers and shopping malls, the city is snarled by Article 177 of the Penal Code of Dubai, which imposes up to 10 years imprisonment for gay sex.

Considering that Dubai stonewalled screenings of Brokeback Mountain, Freehold and Carol, the move to censor this moment of cinematic galactic history is unsurprising, The Hollywood Reporter reported.

Dubai locals catching the first viewings of the film alleged that the brief scene was blue-pencilled.

But the cut comes as the United Arab Emirates celebrates its ‘Year of Tolerance’, which apparently could not tolerate the brief, fleeting kiss of a same-sex couple in the background of a scene.

Same-sex Star Wars kiss makes the cut in China, but not in the United Arab Emirates, allegedly. 

Moreover, the censorship came after activists were pleasantly surprised to learn that the movie was not deleted in China.

With Star Wars being hugely popular in China, it was expected that the gay scene would be edited out of the film for the Asian market, as has been done previously for Western films including Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman.

But according to Chinese moviegoers who watched preview screenings on Wednesday, this hasn’t happened with The Rise of Skywalker. 

It is the first time a Disney-owned blockbuster has featured a same-sex kiss, and will likely prove a test in markets where censors prohibit depictions of homosexuality on-screen.

The gay kiss in Star Wars came after director JJ Abrams promised to include better LGBT+ representation in future, responding to fans’ persistent pleas for a romance between Finn and Poe.

Sadly that wasn’t on the cards for the characters, but Abrams was keen to throw in at least a small amount of LGBT+ subtext.

Speaking to Variety ahead of the film’s release, Abrams said: “In the case of the LGBTQ community, it was important to me that people who go to see this movie feel that they’re being represented in the film.”

More: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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