The MCU’s twenty-sixth feature film, The Eternals marks the first time a sex scene has been shown onscreen in a Marvel movie. A sequence on which the director Chloé Zhao and the actor Richard Madden returned during the promotion.
On view since Wednesday, November 3, The Eternals is filled with “firsts” at Marvel: it is the first film to be directed by a woman of color and by someone to win an Oscar for achievement ( Chloé Zhao) but also the first opus to incorporate a superhero from South Asia (Kingo played by Kumail Nanjiani) and a Latina superheroine (Ajak played by Salma Hayek).
It is also the first feature film of the MCU with a hearing-impaired superheroine (Makkari played by Lauren Ridloff) and a gay superhero (Phastos played by Brian Tyree Henry), who can also be seen sharing a kiss. with her husband Ben (Haaz Sleiman). And finally, this is the first time that two heroes have been shown making love!
Two Eternals, Sersi (Gemma Chan) and Ikaris (Richard Madden), indeed live a love story over several millennia marked by a marriage, which they consume on the screen. Unheard of at Marvel, even if the moment remains very modest.
The beginning of a new era ?
Asked about the sequence by IndieWire, Chloe Zhao revealed that she was scheduled before she was even hired to direct the film. “From this moment to what you see on the screen, there has certainly been a lot of talk about how to do this.“, said the filmmaker.
And to continue: “But I think the desire to do something different is a very natural desire for Marvel Studios right now. I think it’s like the westerns that entered a revisionist period in the 70s. I think it’s getting to superhero movies – or at least, we’re in the beginning. And so these scenes started to happen naturally.“
For us, being able to show two people who love each other, not only emotionally and intellectually, but also physically, and having a sex scene, which will be seen by a large number of people, that shows their love, compassion and gentleness, I think that’s a very beautiful thing.
A sentiment shared by Richard Madden, who told GamesRadar + : “I think there was something nice about having an intimate scene where you see these characters having sex … showing an intimacy in their relationship over the years. Much like the diversity in the film, I feel like this intimate moment is also something that should be normalized.“
“I think it gives a glimpse of a very intimate moment in the lives of people who are actually very private and untouchable beings. To see them being intimate together is a special and delicate thing“, added the interpreter of Ikaris.
A scene validated by Disney
TO Variety, Chloé Zhao gave details on the shooting of the sequence in question, filmed in real settings at the end of the day. “Gemma and Richard did a fantastic job with the last rays of sun we had. It is very tasteful. You can feel the genuine love they have for each other“, she assures.
The director also claimed to have had no pressure from the studio with big ears, generally cautious about this kind of scenes, to modify it: “When we put it on, we showed it to people at Disney and they really liked it. It was beautiful. And there was no discussion to remove it.“Good news for the future!
Our meeting with Chloé Zhao: