Chinese censors have cut up to six minutes worth of material from Ridley Scott’s “Alien: Covenant,” including a kiss between two men (or at least two of the same man). Though the movie has been out for a few weeks in the U.S., it was released in China on Friday, about six minutes shorter due to Beijing censors cutting material apparently deemed offensive.
While censorship is a common practice for R-rated movies playing in China, typically it’s violence in action movies that gets the chop. (“Logan” and “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” were heavily cut this year.) Although a few gory alien scenes are missing from “Alien: Covenant,” there was something else amiss:
[Editor’s Note: Spoilers ahead for “Alien: Covenant.”]
The gay kiss between Michael Fassbender and his doppelganger was one of the major casualties. In the latest addition to Scott’s “Alien” franchise, Fassbender plays identical cyborgs who share a surprising and playful romance — briefly, at least.
During an erotically charged flute lesson, one whispers in the other’s ear, “I’ll do the fingering.” After an intense moment between cyborgs who share more than a robotic bond, the two Fassbenders kiss. But it’s nowhere to be found in the Chinese version.
While censors typically edit out overtly gay scenes, they left in the actual gay characters played by Demián Bichir and Nathaniel Dean. That being said, the sexuality of these characters is not made explicit in Scott’s final cut. Despite promising trailers, those two share very little physical touch in the movie.
The Fassbender storyline is one of the more interesting parts of an intriguing new chapter in Scott’s “Alien” prequels, and unfortunately it’s one that Chinese audiences will just have to imagine.