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Benedict Cumberbatch Disappointed Saudi Arabia Bans Doctor Strange 2 Over America Chavez

The upcoming Marvel movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is will be coming out this week. Saudi Arabia had asked Disney to cut the scenes with LGBTQ+ references but the studio refused. The lead, Benedict Cumberbatch, playing Doctor Strange has expressed his disappointment over it.

Saudia Arabia has asked the studio to edit “12 seconds” in which America Chavez talks about her “two moms.”  She is a lesbian character from the Marvel comics. But the character, played by Xochitl Gomez, has a pivotal role in the movie. Also, has been a part of the promotion campaign from an early phase.

Benedict Cumberbatch expresses disappointment over Doctor Strange 2 ban

Benedict Cumberbatch expresses disappointment over Doctor Strange 2 ban
Benedict Cumberbatch expresses disappointment over Doctor Strange 2 ban

On the press tour of the sequel movie of Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch shared his views on the ban. He said, “It is, I’m afraid, an expected disappointment. We’ve come to know from those repressive regimes that their lack of tolerance is exclusionary to people who deserve to be, not only included but celebrated for who they are and made to feel part of a society and a culture and not punished for their sexuality. It feels truly out of step with everything that we’ve experienced as a species, let alone where we’re at globally more as a culture, but frankly, it’s just even more reason why this isn’t tokenism to include an LGBTQ+ community member.”

Benedict Cumberbatch backs Disney and Marvel Studios
Benedict Cumberbatch backs Disney and Marvel Studios

He also backed Disney and Marvel, adding further to his statement. He said, “This character is that from the comics. It’s not something we’ve created for the sake of diversity. We’ve included her because of how awesome she is as a character. And that’s just one aspect of her character and that’s all it should be, but sadly, it’s also now, politically, very charged. And I wish it wasn’t.”

He also added, “I wish we could be having a normalized conversation about this where it wasn’t an issue but we’re not. So we still have to fight. We still have to push for inclusion and equality and I’m very glad in a small, but on a very big canvas, Marvel and Disney are doing that.”

Doctor Strange 2 is not the only one to face international trouble

Benedict Cumberbatcch's Doctor Strange 2 is not the only Marvel movie to meet that fate
Doctor Strange 2 is not the only Marvel movie to meet that fate

Though, it has not been confirmed if the movie is banned in Saudi Arabia. But the studio has denied editing the scene as it would affect the continuity. Also, it removes necessary information about the character, as she has talked about her homosexuality too in the movie. If America Chavez is going to be further included in the MCU, her relationships would be important too. So, editing her recognition out would limit her character growth.

Also, Doctor Strange 2 is not the only film by Marvel to face the issue. Its movies Shang Chi and Legends of Ten Rings and The Eternals were blocked in certain countries. The upcoming movie might meet a similar fate.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is coming out on May 6 in theatres.

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Written by Gargi Mishra

I am Gargi Mishra, an aspiring filmmaker. I look at the world through the viewfinder and love to study films. Write them and write about them.