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Disney Explains UK Avengers DVD Edits; Won’t Issue a Rerelease
by Susana Polo | 11:43 am, September 19th, 2012
Earlier this week (in a post where despite my best efforts I once again messed up the definition of “the United Kingdom”), we covered the discovering of a mysterious edit to the UK version of The Avengers DVD set. Specifically, it edited a pretty pivotal scene with Agent Phil Coulson to be less violent. You know, that scene. The one that most people half expect them to retcon, and a not-insignificant number of people actively want them to reveal as being not the whole truth of the matter.
Well, Disney’s got an explanation for that.
The explanation isn’t just about the digital removal of the top of Loki’s spear where it protruded from Coulson’s chest when he stabbed him in the back. The UK DVD release has more noticeable omissions, like that it was shipped without one of the commentary tracks available in the US release, and not just any commentary track. The UK DVD release is missing director Joss Whedon‘s commentary, due to the recording of it missing the deadline for inclusion on the disk. Disney UK’s spokesperson Lydia Rodrigues told Home Cinema Choice that there are no plans to rerelease or change the DVD set.
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. 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.
Rodrigues did not mention whether the American DVD release was also region free. If it isn’t, that’s certainly an annoyance for fans who might not have shelled out for a Blu-ray player (or a PS3) yet.
As for Coulson’s death scene, the explanation for that one is simple, and “no[t] censorship“:
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.
As I learned from commenters on our first post on this subject, the ratings for theatrical releases and home video releases are separate in the UK. A DVD release may garner a different rating for the same footage that played in theaters. I’m not sure I agree that digitally removing the tip of Loki’s spear isn’t censorship. It might be a pretty mild form of bowdlerization, not one worth getting up in arms about, but I think that still counts.
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