Following Eternals and West Side Story before it, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has been banned in Saudi Arabia, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The trade went on to report that the ban also applies to Kuwait, but that has yet to be confirmed.
The ban stems from the film’s LGBTQ and the newest MCU character America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez. Chavez in the comics is gay and though the film has yet to be released or even screened, the character is indeed a part of the LGBTQ community in the highly-anticipated sequel. With homosexuality officially illegal across the Gulf, films that feature any LGBTQ references or issues often fail to get past censors. Advanced tickets are no longer available on the websites of cinemas in Saudi, Kuwait, and Qatar, however, they are in the United Arab Emirates, suggesting it will be released there.
In November, Marvel Studios’ Eternals was banned across most of the Gulf due to Brian Tyree Henry’s character Phastos being in a same-sex marriage and marked the first gay superhero introduced into the MCU. Though the Gulf censors requested edits to the film to leave out the references to same-sex marriage, Disney was not willing to do that.
In January, West Side Story was also banned in Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait. This was due to the character Anybodys, written as transgender in the new adaptation and played by nonbinary actress Iris Menas.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness details
In Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the MCU unlocks the Multiverse and pushes its boundaries further than ever before. Journey into the unknown with Doctor Strange, who, with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Rachel McAdams. The film is directed by Sam Raimi, and Kevin Feige is the producer. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Eric Hauserman Carroll, Scott Derrickson, and Jamie Christopher serve as executive producers. The screenplay was written by Michael Waldron.