The “Star Wars” franchise’s first same-sex kiss lasts for only a few seconds as two minor female characters embrace within a celebratory crowd near the end of “The Rise of Skywalker.” But that was a few seconds too long for Singapore, which censored the kiss in the version playing in theaters there.

Singapore’s media regulatory body told the BBC that the omission was made to guarantee the Disney-produced film a teenage-friendly PG-13 rating – and, therefore, a broader audience and revenue base.

“The applicant has omitted a brief scene which under the film classification guidelines would require a higher rating,” a spokesperson told the BBC.

It’s not clear whether the scene has been cut in other countries, as well.

Same-sex marriage is illegal in Singapore. A British colonial-era law still on the books on the island bans same-sex relations between men; sex between women, however, is not criminalized.

Singapore remains socially conservative, but opinions appear to be evolving, according to a 2019 study by the Singapore-based Institute of Policy Studies. The think tank found increasing acceptance of LGBTQ rights and same-sex relationships among Singaporeans polled in 2018 and 2019 compared with those polled in 2013.

“Overall, Singaporeans remain fairly conservative in their outlook, though there have been distinct shifts on issues surrounding homosexual rights,” the report concluded, noting that the change was strongest among respondents in the 18-to-25 age bracket.

Director J.J. Abrams told the Swedish media channel MovieZine that he included the kiss in the movie specifically to try to boost the representation of same-sex relationships in media.

“It just felt like in this one scene of celebration, it felt like an opportunity to show (a same-sex kiss) without it being heavy-handed or making too loud of a deal,” Abrams said in the interview. “Sort of part of the whole experience was to see a same-sex couple have a moment together that was explicitly saying in this galaxy, everyone is there and is welcome. It doesn’t matter your sexual preference, your race, your species, whether you’re organic, whether you’re synthetic – ‘Star Wars’ is for everyone.”

Singapore did not censor another much-talked-about kiss in “The Rise of Skywalker,” which Abrams has characterized as akin to a kiss between a brother and a sister.


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