Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be banned in Saudi Arabia due to the inclusion of the openly gay America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez.
The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that the decision to ban Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in Saudi Arabia was made due to the country’s laws against homosexuality. This law applies across the Gulf and so Kuwait and Qatar are also expected to ban the film. Advanced ticket sales have already been suspended in all three countries. Tickets are still on sale in the UAE, suggesting the film may still be shown there.
America Chavez was introduced in Marvel’s comic continuity in 2011 and possesses the power to create star-shaped portals between realities. Given that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will feature multiple alternate universes, it seems America will have a large role to play. A rainbow flag was seen on the character’s jacket in early promotional material, hinting at her LGBTQ+ background, but this decision from Saudi Arabia suggests America’s sexuality will be directly addressed and acknowledged by the film.
Saudi Arabian censors have previously requested edits to Marvel films such as Eternals to remove references to gay characters, which Disney refused to make. While it has not been confirmed whether such a request was also made for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness it is likely this was the case.
Here is the synopsis for 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.
Directed by Sam Raimi from a script written by Michael Waldron, the film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, with Michael Stuhlbarg, Rachel McAdams, and Patrick Stewart.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 6, 2022. Meanwhile, the first Season of Loki is now streaming on Disney Plus, with Season 2 currently in development. Stay tuned for all the latest news on the upcoming film and series, and subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content.