Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark/Iron Man is one of the most lauded superhero movie characters in modern times. After launching Kevin Feige’s Marvel Cinematic Universe in his first solo feature, Iron Man (2008), from director Jon Favreau, the Avenger dominated the MCU before his sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame (2019), leaving behind Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and friend, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans).
The Iron Man franchise spawned other MCU additions such as the All Hail the King One-Shot on Disney+. And, now, eight years later, the Disney streamer has censored one scene for its use of a racial slur.
Marvel Studios enjoys filling in the gaps and telling longer stories using additional projects like behind-the-scenes documentaries, character guides, and One-Shots. The latter are short, episodic, narratives that follow a character and/or situation in order to add more context and information to a storyline. A year after Iron Man 3 (2013), the third movie following the red and gold Avenger’s Iron Man and Iron Man 2 (2010), Marvel Studios released a One-Shot entitled All Hail the King starring Ben Kingsley as the actor and faux Mandarin, Trevor Slattery, in prison.
Related: Marvel Shockingly Changes Tony Stark’s Iron Man For New Limited Series
Iron Man 3 was a box-office success, netting over $1.2 billion worldwide. It played with Warren Ellis’ Extremis Marvel Comics arc and introduced Kingsley as the Mandarin, although all was not as it seemed. Kingsley’s Slattery was just the face of the terrorist organization, Ten Rings. Seven years later, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) would reveal the true Mandarin in the form of Tony Leung’s Xu Wenwu.
Following the events of Iron Man 3, a One-Shot — All Hail the King — was included with Thor: The Dark World‘s (2013) home media release. It found Trevor Slattery at Seagate Prison living the life of luxury, surrounded by adoring fans when he begins a documentary helmed by Jackson Norriss (Scoot McNairy). All Hail the King reveals that Norriss is a member of the Ten Rings and breaks Slattery out of prison to meet the real Mandarin.
Now, it has been discovered that All Hail the King has been censored with a racial slur in the One-Shot removed. When Slattery is confronted by a group of prisoners, one of his loyal supporters shouts:
“Hey, cracker, what’s up?”
The Disney+ version now omits “cracker” completely. This can further be seen in the captions of the scene where “cracker” remains but the character does not speak the slur. Dana Ste. Claire says (via NPR):
Ste. Claire said that by the 1940s, the term began to take on yet another meaning in American inner cities in particular: as an epithet for bigoted white folks.
Shawn Laib writes in An Injustice!:
It all lies in the inferiority complex of white people who just so much desire to be discriminated against in the same way people of color have been for centuries.
There is no history of the epithet being used against any white people in non-southern parts of the United States, yet it was encouraged by white people in these urban areas as the equivalent to an actual hurtful slur just so they can claim reverse racism.
While Dictionary.com describes crackers as:
Slang: Disparaging and Offensive. a contemptuous term used to refer to a white person in the South, especially a poor white living in some rural parts of the southeastern U.S.
This omission is just the latest in Marvel censorship and attempts are censorship. Recently, violent scenes in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier were censored, before being readded, with China wanting the Statue of Liberty removed from Spider-Man: No Way Home. There are some omission requests that Marvel Studios do not engage with; Saudi Arabia banned Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) due to the LGBTQ+ content involved.
While it is only a small element of censorship, it proves that Marvel is constantly reevaluating its content and addressing problematic phrases even years later.
Did you notice the change in All Hail the King? Let us know in the comments down below!