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Disney Plus is editing bloody violence out of a surprising Marvel show [Updated]

The Disney Plus logo on a phone surrounded by popcorn
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Well, this is odd. Disney Plus has been caught editing out graphic and bloody violence from one of its long-since released Marvel shows: The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Yes, a series that debuted on March 19, 2021 is getting edits in March 2022. 

Editor's note: Disney may not have meant for the below changes ... to go out? Ryan Parker of The Hollywood Reporter tweeted that this "was a software control issue and the wrong file was recently published accidentally. It’s being corrected immediately." We at Tom's Guide have checked, but the old version is still up at the moment. The original story follows below:

The sleuthing at hand came from Reddit, where user u/MooninMoulin revealed all in a post titled "Disney+ censorship." The user explains that in "Episode 3, around 37:45, Bucky throws a metal bar at a woman. Back when it aired, the bar went through her shoulder, pinning it to the container; now it just bounces off."

YouTuber Thomas Nute has already put together a clip showing how the scene changed:

For a more visual explanation of how Disney Plus (which doesn't have a whole lot of entries in our list of the new movies and shows to watch in April) has changed TF&TWS, check out this comparison courtesy of The Direct. They've highlighted the very brief shot that takes place around 35 minutes into the episode, where Hydra scientist Wilfred Nagel is shown dead on the floor of a shipping container lab. While the original version of this moment had fake blood on Nagel's face — as he's just been shot by Baron Zemo — the new version (we checked and can confirm) has no sign of blood.

Oddly enough, though, that scene where John Walker breaks a dude into pieces with Captain America's shield? It's still there.

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Analysis: Why did Disney do this?

Redditors replying to u/MooninMoulin's post are pretty upset. This seems like a pretty weird thing to do — editing a show over a year since its debut — but we can see why Disney made this move.

Disney Plus is in a major state of flux right now, as it incorporates harder TV-MA content and adds stronger parental controls. Both of which happened in March 2022, which may have given the folks behind Disney Plus a reason to re-examine its content.

And so we then go to the rules of the game: how the TV-14 rating (which the Disney & Marvel Studios shows have) — and the TV-MA rating (which the Netflix Marvel shows have) differ. TV-14 rated programming is allowed to have "intense violence" while TV-MA content has "graphic violence." 

It seems that the powers that be saw the violence in TF&TWS and saw it as too close to TV-MA for their comfort. So, instead of changing the ratings, which could create more questions from kids and parents using profiles that can't access TV-MA content, they lowered the violence in this show instead.

As Redditor u/Nico777 writes, the "pirates win again. It's not enough paying for not owning something, now they even modify it." Moments like this serve as a stark reminder that anyone you watch on a streaming service is neither your property, nor is it fixed or permanent. Much like George Lucas tweaking the Star Wars movies, the stuff in Disney Plus will always be subject to edits.

Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.