Following in the steps of fellow Disney productions West Side Story and Eternals, the upcoming Marvel Studios film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has been banned in Saudi Arabia, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the ban is consistent with homosexuality being illegal in the Gulf region. As a result, films that merely include LGBTQ characters often get banned in certain countries in the area. While reviewers have not yet seen Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the film does introduce the Marvel Comics character America Chavez, who is gay in the source material.
While there’s not much indication as to how America (played in the film by Xochitl Gomez) will be depicted in Multiverse of Madness or how closely she’ll resemble her comic book counterpart, the character has long been depicted as simply being out and proud. It’s a refreshing and nonchalant approach to representation — especially compared to the rest of her backstory, which is heavily retconned and involves multiple universes.
None of that necessarily means America’s queerness will be a significant part of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. West Side Story merely has a trans character, Anybodys (iris menas), and was also banned in countries across the Middle East despite virtually no mention of their gender or sexuality.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness premieres May 6.