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The V For Vendetta Scene That Has Fans Puzzled

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When V for Vendetta arrived in 2006, it was hard to ignore. The film was written by the Wachowskis, who had recently finished the original trilogy of Matrix films, adapted a celebrated Alan Moore graphic novel, and featured Natalie Portman with an iconic shaved head as Evey. V for Vendetta, now streaming on HBO Max, generally sat well with critics and became a modest box office success, quickly clearing its budget and making plenty for the studio on top of that (via BoxOfficeMojo).

While the film was well-received, its power would only become apparent after its release, as the Guy Fawkes masks worn by V (Hugo Weaving) became an essential part of the pop culture lexicon. The mask was adopted as a symbol for groups such as Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street while generally becoming synonymous with the resistance against corporate or authoritarian interests. Meanwhile, the film's exploration of complex issues led to dialogues about what the unmasking scene really meant, fueled fan theories as to what Gordon's (Stephen Fry) real role was, and helped revive interest in the fifth of November and its famous nursery rhyme (via The Sun).

Of course, as a cultural touchpoint in the internet age, the film, and the mask, also become fodder for memes, as seen on BuzzFeed. One of the most famous of those memes, known as "Can't destroy a government on an empty stomach," has created a point of confusion. Here is the V for Vendetta scene that has fans puzzled.

Fans wonder if the cooking scene was edited out of different versions of V for Vendetta

The meme at the heart of the confusion is an animated gif of V wearing an apron and flipping the breakfast he is cooking for Evey, with the caption "Can't destroy a government on an empty stomach." The scene is a memorable moment in V for Vendetta, crucially showing a lighter, kinder side of V, who up to that point had cut a menacing figure in his characteristic mask and dark attire.

However, a fan on Reddit posted that they were surprised to find that the scene was not included after they watched the film on Netflix. The fan's confusion only increased after revisiting what they refer to as the "'Cant fight a government on an empty stomach' meme." The fan attempted to research whether that scene was "an extended edition, directors cut, or deleted scene."

The most upvoted comment on that thread confirmed that it existed on their DVD and Google Play copies of V for Vendetta, leading some to wonder if Netflix had censored it. The following relevant comment located the scene on an illegally downloaded copy of the film, but could not find it on their DVD copy of the movie, apparently acquired the same year the film was released. That poster's confusion inspired them to wonder if they had simply assumed that the scene was always included in the movie due to the meme's popularity. As that Redditor said, "The meme is very effective though, hats off to whoever made that OG copy."

The confusion could stem from a specific line that may not be in V for Vendetta

As the Reddit thread continues, the issue becomes increasingly confused as other commenters could not find it in their versions or were successful in locating it in the Netflix version itself. The question of whether or not it was in the Netflix cut of the film is difficult to answer definitively at this point because the film left the streaming service on Jan. 1, 2021, according to USA Today. It is currently streaming on HBO Max, and that version of V for Vendetta does contain the cooking scene in question.

However, the HBO Max version does not contain the line that captions the meme, "Can't destroy a government on an empty stomach." As such, it also doesn't include the line that the original Reddit post referred to, "Can't fight a government on an empty stomach." That phrase is also not spoken in any YouTube clips that contain the scene, making it likely that the line was not in the film, in any form, and was invented for the caption. This might explain why fans had a hard time finding the scene if they were focused on finding the line in the meme. 

If this is the case, it wouldn't be the first time that a meme has influenced a famous quote in a film, such as The Joker's (Jared Leto) signature "We live in a society" line from Zach Snyder's Justice League. Whatever the case may be, it seems the confusion inspired some fans to revisit V for Vendetta and pay a little more attention to the classic film.