'Avengers: Endgame' Defeminized Edit Removes Brie Larson, And Fun In General A fan edit of smash hit Avengers: Endgame circulating online has cut out anything deemed feminist or gay. Such "defeminized edits" are now notorious in some corners of fandom.
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'Avengers,' But Make It Without Women, Or Men Hugging, Or Levity In General

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'Avengers,' But Make It Without Women, Or Men Hugging, Or Levity In General

'Avengers,' But Make It Without Women, Or Men Hugging, Or Levity In General

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/733479265/733615980" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The superhero movie "Avengers: Endgame" is super close to becoming the highest grossing film in history. It could break the record held by "Avatar," nearly $3 billion. So it's really popular. But a certain kind of fan objects to a certain aspect of this movie. This film, like others, courts diverse audiences by featuring women and characters of color. And we know certain fans don't like that because they made their own cut of the movie. NPR's Neda Ulaby reports.

NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: There's a pirated version of "Avengers: Endgame" circulating online where you won't see this scene with Captain Marvel played by actress Brie Larson.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "AVENGERS: ENDGAME")

BRIE LARSON: (As Captain Marvel) So let's get 'em and use them to bring everyone back.

ULABY: In fact, in this version edited by a fan, you will not see Brie Larson at all. This version removes anything he - presumably he - found feminist or gay. It's the latest example of an emerging media trend, says Suzanne Scott, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

SUZANNE SCOTT: This now seems to be something that's happening for every mainstream geek culture franchise that deigns to have more than one white female character in it.

ULABY: This defeminized version of "Avengers: Endgame" also removes scenes where women rescue male superheroes or when men hug, and it minimizes the character Black Panther.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "BLACK PANTHER")

CHADWICK BOSEMAN: (As Black Panther) Wakanda forever.

ULABY: For as long as fans have had access to movies and editing tools, they've recut their favorite films to suit themselves.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE")

AHMED BEST: (As Jar Jar Binks) No. No. Me say stay.

ULABY: About 20 years ago, a fan edited out a widely despised, floppy-eared alien seen as racist from the "Star Wars" movie "The Phantom Menace."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "STAR WARS: THE PHANTOM MENACE")

BEST: (As Jar Jar Binks) Me say call Jar Jar Binks. Me say your humble servant.

ULABY: The edit eliminating Jar Jar Binks got a fair amount of attention and respect in Hollywood, even, allegedly, from within George Lucas' own studio. But it's different in tone from the new edits on illegal streaming platforms that get rid of minorities and ladies. One defeminized version of "The Last Jedi," from 2017, removed scenes with female pilots giving orders...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI")

HERMIONE CORFIELD: (As Tallie) Bombers, keep that tight formation. Fighters, protect the bombers.

ULABY: ...And even worse, men following women's orders.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI")

KEVIN LAYNE: (As Finch) Copy that, leader.

ULABY: This defeminized cut got rid of General Leia making decisions, having ideas and reprimanding male subordinates. It cut so much, Suzanne Scott says, little was left of the original 2 1/2 film.

SCOTT: It is borderline incomprehensible. Clocking in at 46 minutes, it has cut out a lot of story that you need to make the whole narrative cohesive. So what's on the screenplay is, like, an avant-garde film.

(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: I thought this cut was funny. Essentially, it's just one big joke.

ULABY: An anonymous defender of the defeminized "Last Jedi" cut posted this review on YouTube.

(SOUNDBITE OF YOUTUBE VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Frankly, the defeminized cut is better. Like, it has better ideas than the actual movie.

SCOTT: I feel conflicted about shining a light on this.

ULABY: Suzanne Scott agrees with the YouTube critic about one thing - whoever is making these defeminized versions are likely Internet trolls. Rewarding them with attention for being mean and misogynistic feels counterproductive, even if they reflect, to an extent, the larger culture. Vastly, more fans produce positive work, she says, like this video essay...

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO, "STRAIGHTENING UP THE HOUSE")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character, singing) We're straightening up the house.

ULABY: ...Encouraging Marvel to add more LGBT characters to its movies. Neda Ulaby, NPR News.

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