Doctor Strange 2, The Multiverse of Madness, is one of the most awaited movies by Marvel coming out this year. But Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries have banned the movie due to a gay character. The Doctor Strange sequel was set to release in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries on May 5. That is a day before the U.S. But the censors of Saudi Arabia did not issue the distribution certificate for the movie.
Saudi Arabia bans Doctor Strange 2 over a gay character
The Sam Raimi directed, Doctor Strange 2, movie has included a number of comic book characters in the plot. As the movie connects the multiverse, a lot of characters from parallel universes join Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange to fight a secret villain. This group also includes America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez. America Chavez is a Marvel comic book character, that belongs to the LGBTQ+ community. She has a number of superpowers including traveling through dimensions.
The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed the news from sources. Though, the decision is yet to be announced officially. There is a report that says the responsible authority hasn’t reviewed the movie yet. But the inclusion of America Chavez can lead to the ban of the film in the country. The advance booking of tickets has been closed in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar. However, bookings are still open in UAE.
Doctor Strange 2 is not the only movie to be banned for the reason
Homosexuality is considered illegal in the Gulf countries. So, any material that has a reference to the LGBTQ+ characters is either banned or censored there. The Eternals, directed by Chloe Zhao, was banned in the countries because it included a same-sex couple. Though the censor there had suggested Disney make a few cuts. But the company refused to do so. Though an edited version of the movie was screened in UAE.
The news of Doctor Strange 2 being banned over a gay character is not the first this month. Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore was censored in China for the same reason. The movie has shown a romantic angle between Albus Dumbledore and Grindelwald. The country’s censor asked Warner Bros. to edit the part where this was revealed and the studio agreed.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness releases May 6 in theatres.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter