As the world gears up to watch Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on big screens, a few countries are stripped away from this experience.
Ahead of the movie’s release, reports about its ban in Saudi Arabia started doing the rounds. The word was still up until THR reported that the country officially banned the movie on April 22. Saudi Arabia was the second country to ban it. The first was Egypt.
The reason? Representation for LGBTQ+ characters.
Marvel is increasingly pushing for representation in its recent project and is praised for the same too. However, it is ever more difficult for them to put their foot in countries that do not recognize homosexuality and consider it unlawful.
In Doctor Strange 2, 16-year-old Xochitl Gomez plays America Chavez, aka Ms. America. She plays a key role in the movie. She talks a bit about her background in the movie, revealing that she has lesbian moms. Moreover, Chavez has also been portrayed as gay in the comics.
Nawaf Alsabhan, the general supervisor of cinema classification of Saudi Arabia, initially stated that they had requested cuts in Doctor Strange 2 as America Chavez mentions her “two moms” which are “barely 12 seconds,” but Disney refused to do so, reported The Guardian.
“It’s just her talking about her moms, because she has two moms. And being in the Middle East, it’s very tough to pass something like this. We sent it to the distributor, and the distributor sent it to Disney, and Disney has told us they are not willing.”
Egypt also banned the movie due to the LGBTQ+ representation. Including these two countries, it was also banned in other Arab countries such as Kuwait and Qatar.
Eternals, West Side Story, and Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore had to go through a similar ordeal across multiple countries. The first two movies were banned in Saudi Arabia for promoting homosexuality, while the third was only released in China after gay references were cut from the movie.
As Gomez was the center of attraction for the various bans, she became a target of malicious comments on social media. In a recent interview with News18, Gomez opened up about being the target of online trolls and showed her resilience for not backing down.
“I got my TikTok back and I posted a TikTok because I know that I do have a very strong young following. So I thought it was only right to post a TikTok of (me saying) nothing can break me down, I’m going to stay strong, just keep going because it’s very important for young teenagers to have a positive person to look up to.”
Meanwhile, Deadline reported that Multiverse of Madness is Disney’s biggest opening day since Skywalker in 2019. The movie is also projected to rake in more than $85 million, including the $36 million for Thursday’s previews.
About Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is an upcoming American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Doctor Strange. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is intended to be the sequel to Doctor Strange (2016) and the 28th film of the MCU. The film is directed by Sam Raimi from a script written by Jade Bartlett and Michael Waldron, and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange, alongside Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Xochitl Gomez.
Doctor Strange director and co-writer Scott Derrickson had plans for a sequel by October 2016. He signed to return as director in December 2018, when Cumberbatch was confirmed to return. The film’s title was announced in July 2019 along with Olsen’s involvement, while Bartlett was hired to write the film that October.
In the film, Strange unleashes an unspeakable evil as he faces a friend-turned-enemy.
News Source: Various sources