A brewing controversy has been happening in China where it seems that two films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe would not be released in said country despite the films involving cast and crew hailing from China.
In a feature from CCTV6, ten upcoming projects in the fourth phase of the MCU have been discussed but there seems an omission of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals. Both films are reportedly being censored in the country. CCTV6 regulates the films which will be released in China.
In a report by Variety, it says, “In a report on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four films, the CCTV6 China Movie Channel aired a list of the U.S. release dates for eight of the ten scheduled titles, but conspicuously left out “Eternals” and “Shang-Chi.” After “Black Widow,” which hits the U.S. July 9, they are the next two MCU films in the line-up, releasing in North America on Sept. 3 and Nov. 5, respectively.”
The report added, “The omission might seem small, but its significance lies in its provenance: the channel is under the jurisdiction of China’s powerful propaganda department, which has the final word on film approvals.”
Over the years, there has been a few Marvel films which has either been banned such as Deadpool or censored such as Logan for various reasons. Both films of Shang-Chi and Eternals have different controversies in China.
As for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it seems that the censor would be based on the casting and perception which the film has. The film has been facing various criticisms as the movie seems to show a stereotype of the country and with the casting of both Simu Liu and Awkwafina not fitting the Chinese standards of beauty. Tony Leung also faces a possible blacklisting as he takes on the role of The Mandarin.
For Eternals, recent Academy Award Best Director Chloé Zhao was not even mentioned nor her winning film Nomadland had made through its release in China. All mentions of her had been blocked and despite Nomadland having a supposed release in the country, it has been pulled off the rosters. Despite being the first ever Chinese woman to win the Best Director Award in the Oscars, there was no mention of her on various government news sites or channels.
Given that China’s market is a big one as shown in Avengers: Endgame where the film currently holds a seat in the Chinese box office as the sixth-highest grossing film of all time in the country, such censor on both Eternals and Shang-Chi could impact future MCU projects featuring the same characters, two films which builds Phase 4 of the MCU.