Marvel Studios now approaches the finish line for the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a feat that is certainly cause for celebration thanks to this sequel’s scale and expectations. However, even with a story that breaks the Multiverse open and introduces potentially dozens of new characters, the lead-up to its debut hasn’t come without its hiccups.
Particularly in Phase 4 of the MCU, the franchise has made a more concerted effort than ever toward bringing much-needed representation to the big and small screen. This started with Phastos being portrayed as gay in last year’s Eternals, and Doctor Strange 2 will continue that trend, but it’s clear that parts of the world still have progress to make in this area.
Just the other day, Saudi Arabia banned the release of Doctor Strange 2 in its theaters due to America Chavez being shown as gay on-screen; she’s a member of the LGBTQIA+ community in the comics as well. Now, it appears that the Multiversal sequel faces that same fate in yet another international area.
Doctor Strange 2 Banned In Another Country
IMAX Egypt announced that the country has banned the theatrical release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which premieres across most of the world on May 6.
This is the second such ban to come in the past few days after Saudi Arabian theaters also prohibitied the release of the upcoming Marvel Studios film. This comes as a result of Xochitl Gomez’s America Chavez being portrayed as gay in Doctor Strange 2.
Marvel’s Representation Push in Doctor Strange 2
The unfortunate reality of this situation is that many parts of the Middle East still have a long way to go with LGBTQIA+ themes, as people from the community in these areas aren’t granted the same rights or treatment as they are elsewhere in the world. That continues to be the case in movies as well, with Doctor Strange 2 facing the same ban as Eternals did because of a gay character.
Even though this will put a bit of a dent into the box office returns for Disney and Marvel with this sequel, the studio remains intent on bringing this kind of representation into its stories, no matter how big of a role it plays in the plot. America Chavez is a character that Marvel has wanted to introduce for a long time (she was even included in Spider-Man: No Way Home for a period), and her sexuality isn’t something that’s stopping the team from fully developing her on-screen.
As the MCU plans to include more LGBTQIA+ representation in future outings, viewers will certainly look out for other movies and Disney+ projects that face this kind of treatment. There are rumors that Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie could join the community in this year’s Thor: Love and Thunder, so it’s clear that America Chavez will be far from the last gay character the MCU brings to prominence.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will premiere in theaters across most of the world on May 6.