A scene depicting kissing between two women in the latest Star Wars film, "The Rise of Skywalker", has been cut by Disney for screening in Singapore.
In response to Mothership's queries, a spokesperson for the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) stated that Disney had removed a "brief scene" from the film which would have necessitated a higher rating under Film Classification Guidelines.
The spokesperson said:
"Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has been rated PG13 for theatrical release in Singapore. The applicant has omitted a brief scene which under the Film Classification Guidelines would require a higher rating."
PG13 for The Rise of Skywalker
There are currently six ratings for the film classification in Singapore.
They include G (General), PG (Parental Guidance), PG 13 (Parental Guidance 13), NC16 (No Children under 16), M18 (Mature 18) and R21 (Restricted 21).
In other words, a PG13 film like The Rise of Skywalker is not age restrictive. Parents can exercise their discretion as to whether they would want their children to watch the film.
Kiss between two minor characters
The scene in question, according to Yahoo News, is likely to be the one that occurs towards the end of the film where two female members of the resistance are seen sharing a kiss during a celebration sequence.
According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), both of them are minor characters and are not featured prominently throughout the film.
Cut in the Middle East, retained in China
Apart from Singapore, the scene has also been cut in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with several people stating that the kiss had been removed from the film's screening in Dubai, THR further reported.
As such, the cut is expected to be replicated across the Middle East, given that the UAE is considered more tolerant than its neighbours on film censorship.
This cut is likely to have been made in line with the region's strict sensitivities, with homosexuality officially considered as illegal in most countries.
However, the scene was not cut from the film's release in China.
This is despite the country's censorship of LGBT content in many instances, with the exception of a brief gay scene in Disney's live action "Beauty and the Beast" in 2017.
Representation or tokenism?
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."
However, the scene has also since been criticised as a "throwaway" moment by netizens on Twitter, given the minor status of the characters British media The Independent further reported.
Being a lifelong Star Wars fan, any representation is an exciting prospect. It doesn't seem like they are committing to it, though. Disney has to make a decision. These 2 second cameos are enough to anger conservatives, but they aren't enough for us...— A Golden Polaroid (@AGoldenPolaroid) December 18, 2019
A throwaway moment in the background with nameless extras is not particularly brave or groundbreaking. Save the breathlessness for when they give us someone with a name in the story.— Erica Friedman, Yuri Master of the Damned (@OkazuYuri) December 18, 2019
so instead of like having an actual same sex romance that would've made sense *cough* finn and poe *cough* they have two random female resistance members kiss. kinda lame.— new year same dummy 👌🏻 (@RedCombatSkirt) December 18, 2019
we don’t even know their names, we saw them for 0.0002 seconds, could be easily overlooked by casual watchers and the kiss can be cut in other countries. nothing groundbreaking here, just disney trying to gain woke points. same shit with endgame.— kaz. (@joaquinsjoker) December 18, 2019
Mothershiphas reached out to Disney on Dec.21 for a response on the matter.
Top image screenshot from Star Wars YouTube