August 14, 2022

The movie is due to release in early May

Marvel’s next big release, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is reportedly being banned in Saudia Arabia because it includes an LGBTQ+ character.

The Doctor Strange sequel is being pulled from release in the Middle Eastern country, where homosexuality and gender expression are illegal under Sharia law, as verified in an exclusive from The Hollywood Reporter.

It is thought that the ban will also be upheld in Kuwait, though this has to be confirmed, with advance (presale) tickets no longer available in either country.

The character in question is America Chavez (played by Xochitl Gomez) who, as per the original comic source material, is lesbian. Given the archaic laws surrounding sexuality and gender across the Gulf, even minor LGBTQ+ references are often censored in the region.

Credit: Getty/Marvel Comics – Xochitl Gomez (L) will providing be debuting the first live-action portrayal of the America Chavez (R) in the MCU

As alluded to above, the Multiverse of Madness ban isn’t the first of its kind in the Middle East, with Marvel Studios’ Eternals (2021) also banned in multiple countries for depicting a same-sex couple and the MCU’s first gay superhero.

The same story applies to West Side Story; censors asked Disney to edit out Anybodys, a transgender character in the new film adaptation, but the company rejected and with was withheld in Saudi, the U.A.E., Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait upon release this past January.

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits cinemas on May 6 in the UK, two days after its US release and the world premiere on May 2, 2022. You can see the latest BTS featurette below:

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