Thor: Love And Thunder China Release Might Be On Hold Over LGBTQ Scenes

While "Thor: Love and Thunder" topped the domestic box office this weekend, its global numbers are missing a key market: China. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the nation continues its recent trend of leaving Marvel films in limbo and off its release schedule. While other Phase Four Marvel films have been held back for various reasons, sources at two cinema chains in China told THR the cause in this case is pretty clear: "Thor: Love and Thunder" includes queer representation that has led to it being denied censorship approval.

For years now, China and other global markets have been at odds with Hollywood over even the most minuscule hints of LGBTQ+ representation on screen. Just this year, Warner Bros. provided China with a different cut of the latest "Fantastic Beasts" film, one that cut brief references to wizard Dumbledore's past relationship with Grindelwald. Disney, however, has been refusing to edit its films for overseas markets for a while, meaning recent outings like "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," as well as Pixar's "Lightyear," have been left off the release schedule in China and outright banned in other nations.

Thor 4 isn't on China's release schedule

"Thor: Love and Thunder," meanwhile, has already been delayed in Malaysia, potentially over censorship concerns (per The Direct), and sources say it may never see a release date in China. Though the film's queer representation is perhaps less overtly visible than the couple featured in "Eternals," the movie includes several scenes featuring references to characters' sexualities. In one scene, bisexual Asgardian King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) kisses a maiden's hand, while at two other points, characters reference and discuss her late girlfriend. Korg (Taika Waititi) is also shown to be gay, a choice that follows a 2011 arc in the comics. At one point in the film, he references having two dads, while he also ends the movie by settling down with a fellow Kronan named Dwayne.

While Disney will of course lose out on potential earnings when it refuses to capitulate to international censors, keeping even these brief moments intact in movies is an important (if bare minimum) show of support for the LGBTQ+ community from a standard-setting studio that has had a pretty poor track record on that front. Plus, China's censors have also found reasons to leave the past seven Marvel films in limbo regardless of their inclusivity. "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" and "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" were both excluded from Chinese markets due to comments made by cast members, while sources say China even asked Sony to remove the Statue of Liberty from "Spider-Man: No Way Home."

According to THR, Beijing's censors will not publicly comment on their decisions regarding film censorship. "Thor: Love and Thunder" is in U.S. theaters now.