The Marvel Cinematic Universe has always walked a fine line between kid-friendly heroics and grisly violence. It’s the kind of thing that comes with the territory when it comes to adapting comics, a pulpy medium full of over-the-top narratives, to the screen.
Disney’s squeaky clean branding has been deliberately separated from the Marvel name for good reason. MCU projects like The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, former Netflix shows like Daredevil, and this week’s premiere Moon Knight have shown the darker side of the Marvel universe, sometimes to a surprising degree.
That’s why it didn’t come as a shock when it was reported earlier this week that Disney had edited out two violent scenes from The Falcon and The Winter Soldier a year after its premiere. In one scene, Bucky Barnes goes from impaling a female goon on a shipping container to merely hurling it in her direction. Another scene from episode three removed the blood from a dead Hydra scientist and close the once-open eyes of his corpse.
It was understandable that Disney wouldn’t want young Marvel fans to take in such imagery, even if the idea of censoring television and film after the fact and with no notice is nothing if not Orwellian. However, the official word from the House of Mouse now states that these alterations were not intentional in any way. Ryan Parker of The Hollywood Reporter talked with a source who revealed a software control issue as the supposed culprit. The show will seemingly return to its original vision as soon as possible.
Eagle-eyed fans were right, an episode of ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ had been altered on Disney+.
I hear from a reliable source it was a software control issue and the wrong file was recently published accidentally. It’s being corrected immediately.
— Ryan Parker (@TheRyanParker) March 30, 2022
A company as large as The Walt Disney Company distributes its wares across the world, so the idea that some sort of trimmed episode meant for international audiences would find its way to an American streaming service isn’t out of the question. In fact, it isn’t even unprecedented, as an airline-approved cut of Birds of Prey graced HBO Max for a brief window. Still, it’s something to keep an eye out for as media of all types continues to resurface warts and all on streaming services.