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Disney Explains Death Scene Edit On The Avengers U.K. Blu-ray

In the end, it was censorship that led Agent Phil Coulson’s death scene in The Avengers to be altered for the U.K. version of the Blu-ray and DVD, not Marvel’s secret plan to bring the fan-favorite character back from the grave.

Addressing the controversy with Home Cinema Choice, Disney UK’s Home Entertainment spokesperson Lydia Rodrigues asserted that there was “no censorship” involved in the re-editing of the pivotal scene, but admitted the spear tip had been removed because it was “deemed inappropriate” for U.K. audiences. Unfortunately for all of our conspiracy theories, it seems the absence of the spear is as simple as that.

“There’s been no censorship, no foul play,” Rodrigues said. “The version of Marvel’s Avengers Assemble [the U.K. title for The Avengers] on Blu-ray disc in the U.K. is the same as the version shown theatrically. It really is. The simple fact is for a 12 certificate film in the U.K., that scene was deemed inappropriate. So Marvel Studios chose to remove the spear tip digitally.”

Rodrigues also noted that some of the special features available on other versions of The Avengers, like Joss Whedon’s “Director’s Commentary,” weren’t included in the U.K. release. She attributes it to the Digital Linear Tape required to replicate the disc not being delivered in time, but says there are no plans to including it on future versions.

“That’s been the subject of heated debate here (at Disney U.K.), but we don’t think we can really ask fans who have bought this version to buy another just to obtain the commentary,” she said. “So at the moment we are thinking it won’t be released. We also know that hardcore fans with Blu-ray players are probably going to end up buying the U.S. release, which has the commentary. The American Blu-ray is region-free. We don’t think we can ask people to buy both versions.”

Coulson's death as originally depicted

Coulson's death on the U.K. Blu-ray release

(via ComicBookMovie)


  • Mike Shirley

    “Disney UK’s Home Entertainment spokesperson Lydia Rodrigues asserted
    that there was “no censorship” involved in the re-editing of the pivotal
    scene, but admitted the spear tip had been removed because it was
    “deemed inappropriate” for U.K. audiences.” — Er…. censorship is by definition the removal of material deemed inappropriate… Wow.

  • Mike Shirley

    “Disney UK’s Home Entertainment spokesperson Lydia Rodrigues asserted
    that there was “no censorship” involved in the re-editing of the pivotal
    scene, but admitted the spear tip had been removed because it was
    “deemed inappropriate” for U.K. audiences.”
    And here I thought that the removal of material deemed ‘inappropriate’ WAS called censorship. Silly me.

  • Yanks5179

     Two different animals.  Censorship is when you’re forcibly told to remove something.  Sometimes things are deemed inappropriate as a way of suggesting you take it off, but without being actually forced to do so.  It’s like no one necessarily forced (as in no one from the company) Nike to remove their sneakers a few years back after a Muslim group claimed the script symbols “could be interpreted as Arabic script for Allah,” but Nike found that it could be deemed insensitive and voluntarily removed it. It’s a fine line to be sure; we call it being voluntold sometimes! lol

  • David Fullam

    As I said on another thread, Britain has a habit of reediting films from the theaters for home video release. Horror movies at one point had a really hard time with this.

  • Fireisntaghost

    “We are thinking it won’t be released.” so are they effectively saying saying that the UK Blu Ray version has a good chance of being pulled? If so what happens to the plethora of people who ordered it before they announced the fact that some of the features would be missing and the edited death scene? This is freaking just embarrassing for Disney really. One of the biggest selling movies of all time and they can’t even put together a DVD properly.

  • Michael Buchko Jr

     No.  They’re saying they won’t have their future releases with commentary because of those who already bought/ordered the first run without it.  They’re saying it won’t be released to prevent from asking fans to buy a second copy, and then mentioned that those who know of this issue beforehand and want the commentary will probably be buying the U.S. release of the movie anyway.  So it’s essentially a non-issue.

  • Michael Buchko Jr

    I highly doubt that for shooting the scene the actor actually had a spear coming out of his chest from behind.  That sort of thing has to be digitally inserted anyway.  So it’s not that it was removed, it just wasn’t inserted.  That’s how I see it.

  • Flintworks

    “Disney UK’s Home Entertainment spokesperson Lydia Rodrigues asserted  that “we just don’t give a damn about the UK audience, I mean have you seen the DVD version???!!!??? – suckers!””

  • Blake M. Petit

     How refreshing — someone who understands words actually have a definition and not a knee-jerk reaction! Bless you, good Yanks5179!

  • Blake M. Petit

    Not that I think the Disney UK people are actually reading this, but if the commentary didn’t make it in time to include on the DVD, why not make it available as a downloadable audio file for people who buy the disc it was supposed to be on? Might engender some goodwill there among those fans you don’t want to ask to pay twice.

  • Lead_sharp

    Removed because it was deemed inappropriate by others for others IS censorship, and you are telling me they went to the trouble of faffing about with a spear tip and couldn’t be arsed copying the audio commentary is just plain shitfaced.I’ve noticed that Marvel comics themselves didn’t loose that many teeth in the buy out from Disney, but the distribution and quality of the DvD and Blurays is commercial robbery.  

  • Lead_sharp

    Stanley Kubrick decided to withdraw the release of Clockwork Orange in the UK, it’s still censorship even if he did it to himself.

  • Steven Mckee

    We know he is dead, The suggestion is there yet a small pointed tip needs to be removed because it’s “Inappropriate”.

    How laughable.

    Where is the censorship when the pop industry is singing about a ladies “Humps” or 90% of the other crap that is released. 

  • Djboo87

    I wish I knew who to write to at Disney UK about this.
    I’m from the UK and the info that Disney have released is bullshit. It
    was released in UK cinemas uncut see the quote from the BBFC website at the bottom of this post. It was also scheduled to be uncut on the Blu-ray
    release. The problem is that Germany had demanded their version have the blade removed for home release.
    What I’m assuming Disney have done is had to censor the German version
    and instead of releasing an uncut version for the UK, they’ve saved money by
    chucking the same version of the film on every Region 2 Blu-ray.

    Here is the BBFC info for the theatrical release of Avengers.
    “A slightly stronger moment occurs when a man is stabbed through the
    back by the chief villain’s spear. The detail of the impact is not
    shown, only the tip of the spear protruding from the man’s chest with a
    small amount of blood on it. The image is not dwelt upon and serves an
    important narrative purpose. The BBFC’s Guidelines at ’12A’/’12’ state ‘Moderate violence is allowed
    but should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries
    or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by
    the context’.

  • darthtigris

    That’s the fabled ‘self-censorship’, right.  Like when cover up my tigly bits with clothes because I don’t want people to see them.  In fact, EVERYONE that wears clothes is guilty of self censorship!!! 

  • sandwich eater

    Honestly the scene is not that bad, there’s no blood spatter or gore. Also if they cut something out to meet a rating in the UK isn’t that technically censorship?

    This story reminds me of when I was a kid Michelangelo on the TMNT cartoon randomly started using a grappling hook instead of nunchuks. This was really confusing to me as an American child at the time, it was only years later that I found out that it was because nunchuks weren’t allowed on UK TV. This spear thing is this generation’s way of messing with superheroes for the kids.

  • Lukos

    Crap!  I have my big ass box set of the Marvel Blu-rays from already in the mail.  If I had known the Avengers disc was altered and no commentary, I would’ve just gotten the Marvel movies in Blu-ray seperately.  Hate when these jerks don’t tell you these things before they put something on sale and some people buy early.  Wussy Brits! 

  • Lukos

    I remember seeing some of the Hammer films in the late 60’s/early 70’s and remember the blood spurting.  Cool to a young horror movie fan!  Then seeming them cut and edited in the 80’s/90’s on VHS and DVD just makes me want to spew blood like Christopher Lee.

  • Guj19

    or it could be called “marketing”

  • Mark Tweedale

    I’ll be buying the American version for sure.

  • Jizzney

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that there really are some brain-dead, double-thinkers, willing to post illogical tripe in support of being screwed for the sake of saving a cent per DVD, for the beloved shareholders.

    Yanks? Surely a typo there.

    Thank you DJboos for spelling out the obvious basic strategy behind this utter nonsense.

    Typical American marketing; Germany? Largest Euro-market. UK? Not so large but hey, they’re identical markets aren’t they, those litttle old cutesy Europeans?


    Disney’s explanation?

    They deserve to lose sales for such lack of regard for their customers.

    Disney to Jizzney.

  • Adam Walker

    Oh my god, the’ve cut the cheese!

  • Purplewoowoo

    How can the spear tip be appropriate as a 12 in cinemas but suddenly it isn’t for DVD? It’s blatant censorship and utterly ridiculous too! I find it disgusting that they’re assuming hardcore fans will buy the American bluray as well. How about we all get treated the same and give fans what they want.

  • Richard Nelson

    Here’s a good lesson in “do your research” for you, because the lack of commentary and likelihood of censorship have been known about and discussed for weeks/months before release.

  • Richard Nelson

    “The simple fact is for a 12 certificate film in the U.K., that scene was deemed inappropriate” is a really pathetic non-excuse. The BBFC decide what’s appropriate at any given certificate, not Disney, and the BBFC were fine with it at 12 — if they’d requested its removal, there would be a note on its classification.

    Also, Disney’s claims it was removed from the theatrical version are clearly BS. Plenty of people remember seeing it, not to mention the BBFC specifically mention it in their classification of the film for cinemas.

    Disney UK have really dropped the ball on this one and are now pedalling a horrible line, “no no no, it’s your mistake, not ours” while hoping it all goes away soon.

  • Simonpimpernel

    Not everyone has or wants a Blu Ray player… so effectively we just got shafted by Disney.

  • David Fullam

     You weren’t alone. Many, many genre had the same reaction pretty much!

  • Regulation_xx

    In this article it says that the american blu-ray version (and I’m guessing 3D version also) with the uncut version plus the added special features/extras is region free… yet when i look on for the american version it comes up as being region: 1/A which states that it may not work in other countries…

    so what i’m getting at, does anybody know how to get around this? My blu-ray player is capable of playing blu ray, 3D and multi region DVDs but from what I’m aware isn’t capable of playing the different region blu rays. can anybody help me on this matter or know where to purchase the region free version?

  • James Parr

    They tend to list regions on DVDs and Blu-rays without actually knowing if they’re region free or not. I would trust the Disney rep on this.

  • Matthew Bagnall

    Yh… They removed the spear meaning that the whole in his chest would be unexplained. Going to pass the DVD on this one… Would rather have the original scene fresh in memory

  • Lucky_atwal

    Erm…. I think this is an updated comment from Disney admitting the COMPLETELY cocked up.

    “Thanks to those of you who have let us know about an issue on the Marvel Avengers Assemble UK Blu-Ray and DVD release, which has a less graphic depiction of Agent Coulson’s confrontation with Loki,” said Disney in a statement. “Each country has its own compliance issues relative to depictions of violence. Unfortunately, another region’s elements were inadvertently used to create the UK in-home release which minimally altered this scene in the film. We thank our fans for their vigilance in recognising this and apologise for the mix up.”