Eternals Sex Scene Was Essential To Chloé Zhao's Vision From The Beginning [Exclusive]

For years there has been endless brouhaha over the apparent sexlessness of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In a series filled with gorgeous and ripped super people, many wondered why none of them seemed to have an ounce of horniness among them. 

Despite some early implied escapades by Tony Stark, he eventually settled down with Pepper and Marvel barely showed them kissing. Thor and Jane Foster's love story was abruptly dropped, or perhaps simply pushed down the road for "Thor: Love and Thunder." Steve Rogers' brief flirtation with Sharon Carter went nowhere, as did Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff's mild non-fling. Quicksilver was originally envisioned and filmed as a "hound" (polite phrasing) before that aspect of his character was cut ... admittedly, something we probably didn't need from Joss Whedon. The recent "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" went to great lengths to show off Simu Liu's amazing physique and sex appeal only to saddle him and Awkwafina with an awkward-fina platonic friendship devoid of barely any hints of attraction besides some hand holding. 

Enter Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao, whose "Eternals" opening this week (see Hoai-Tran Bui's review here), finally gives us Marvel Studios' first out and out sex scene. But it's not just for the sex of it all, Zhao tells /Film, but to help communicate the important relationships at the center of "Eternals."

'The Love Between These Two in a Way Defines the Fate of Humanity'

The sex scene in "Eternals" takes place between Gemma Chan's Sersi and Richard Madden's Ikaris, who technically get married during the movie. While it is brief and fairly tame even for a PG-13 (the similarly-rated "Titanic" was far more graphic and intense 25 years ago), it represents a major step forward for a series of films that by necessity needs to start aging up along with its audience, much like the Harry Potter series did.

Zhao spoke with /Film's Hoai-Tran Bui about why this love scene was essential to the grand scope of "Eternals."

Well, as you know in the filmmaking process from the day you write something on the page to showing it to an audience, people come in with ideas and accidents, good and bad. I think for this specific idea it was in the treatment, it was in the script, we planned on shooting it and then once we shot it, we edited it, we showed it to Disney, we showed it to Marvel and everyone said, "Oh, this is beautiful," and that's the end of the conversation. So it's actually a very smooth process.

Also, if you have seen the film you know the love between these two in a way defines the fate of humanity, of our planet. So I like to show them not just loving each other intellectually, emotionally, but also physically. And to show a sexual encounter in a compassionate, loving way, I think it's a very positive thing to do.

"Eternals" hits theaters on November 5, 2021.