The Russian release of the Hollywood blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame” features some tweaked dialogue in an early scene that could constitute censorship intended to avoid conflicts with Russia’s ban on so-called “gay propaganda.”
Warning: light spoilers ahead for the film “Avengers: Endgame.”
Early in the movie, one of the two Russo brothers (who directed the film) plays a gay character who attends a support group with Steve Rogers (Captain America). The scene is brief in a movie that’s three hours long, but it marks the first time an openly gay character has appeared in a Marvel film.
“So, I went on a date the other day. First time in five years,” the character says, before adding later, “He cried as they were serving the salad. [...] But I’m seeing him again tomorrow.”
According to the website TJournal, Russia’s dubbed version of “Endgame” changes the character’s lines to diminish the overt romantic overtones. In the Russian version, Joe Russo’s character says, “I was recently at dinner. First time in five years. [...] He cried over a plate of salad. [...] Tomorrow I’m meeting him again.”
Two weeks before its premiere, Disney revealed that “Avengers: Endgame” would not be screened anywhere in Russia in English with subtitles. Tatiana Shorokhova, the editor-in-chief of the website Kinoafisha, has speculated that Disney may have reached this decision because of the scene where Joe Russo’s character talks about dating another man.
In 2017, Russia’s Culture Ministry gave the live-action version of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” a PG-16 rating because of a similar “gay moment” at the very end of the film. TJournal says the movie studio may have changed the dialogue in “Avengers: Infinity War” (which is also PG-16 in Russia) to avoid another conflict with the government.
This isn’t the first time film studios have changed dialogue to suit Russia’s political climate. In this year’s critically panned “Hellboy” film, the Russian subtitles change a mention of Joseph Stalin to Adolf Hitler. In the 2018 movie “Deadpool 2,” the Russian dubbed version changes a mention of LinkedIn, a service that is banned in Russia and largely unpopular, to Telegram, which is technically banned in Russia but still widely popular.
Photo on front page: Marvel Entertainment / YouTube