The following contains minor spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker**.**
Star Wars made history in a small way when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker included a same-sex kiss for the first time. It’s a blink and you might miss it sort of moment, but in at least one country, you’ll now miss the scene regardless of whether or not you blink, as the moment has been edited out of the film in Singapore.
In a move that surprises no one who has seen this happen before, the nation of Singapore, which regulates its media, has announced that Disney voluntarily removed the moment from the film for screenings, a move that kept the film at a PG13 rating. The Guardian reports that, while the movie would have still been viewable in Singapore with the scene intact, it would have resulted in a higher rating, which likely would have limited the film’s box office potential.
It’s not the first time we’ve heard of moments like this being edited out of movies or otherwise censored. Not only is same-sex marriage illegal in Singapore, but sex between men is also criminalized. Previously, the nation has given movies like Love, Simon age restricted ratings requiring that only those over the age of 21 were given admission.
The moment takes place near the end of the film, as the Resistance is celebrating. A pair of female characters are seen to embrace and kiss. Although, it’s not any of the major characters of the film, and as such, it’s not even given much focus within the film itself. This also makes it easy to remove without creating a major gap in the movie.
And this is, of course, part of the issue for some. While it’s nice to see any sort of representation in a major Hollywood movie, especially a mainstream blockbuster like a Star Wars film, the moment is little more than a passing acknowledgement that can be edited out of the movie without losing anything. Removing the scene simply doesn’t change the movie in any major way. It would be nice to see a more substantial statement made.
Of course, in the end, the decision to include something more substantial isn’t simply a political calculation, but an economic one. As in this case, not removing the scene would mean a hit to the bottom line.
While not every country that has been known for editing out these moments has done so, it seems likely that many others will. Progress moves forward, but it does so slowly in many places.