Marvel fans are counting down the days till Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 6, 2022. It’s been a long journey full of leaks, delays, and sites crashing when they tried to purchase tickets. And the expectations for the next Marvel movie could not be any higher, with rumors of cameos featuring everyone from Tom Cruise to Hugh Jackman expected to hit the silver screen alongside Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). Yet some fans will not be allowed to see it in their theaters.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Saudi Arabia has banned Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, just like they did for Eternals, because both Marvel movies feature LGBTQ characters. Per the Hollywood Reporter:
“Although the film is yet to be released and also hasn’t yet been reviewed, the decision is once again said to be related to LGBTQ issues, according to Middle East sources, with the new sequel character America Chavez (played by Xochitl Gomez) being gay, as per her portrayal in the comics. With homosexuality officially illegal across the Gulf, films that feature any LGBTQ references or issues often fall foul of the censors.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was due to be released across the Gulf on May 5 as part of its global rollout. While advanced tickets are no longer available on the websites of cinemas in Saudi, Kuwait and Qatar, they are in the United Arab Emirates, suggesting it will be released there.”
Marvel Comics readers know that America Chavez/Miss America is gay, and Marvel Studios has confirmed she will remain so in the MCU. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailers revealed she has a pride flag on her signature denim jacket. America Chavez is the daughter of two women and was raised in the Utopian Parallel dimension and can create star-shaped portals through the Multiverse.
Eternals had the same issue when it featured the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first LGBTQ superhero with Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry). They shared an onscreen kiss with his husband, Ben Stoss (Haaz Sleiman). Marvel has been taking small steps to include LGBTQ characters, like confirming Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is gender fluid.
More on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Director Sam Raimi has called Doctor Strange 2 Marvel’s first horror film. And Marvel Studios has been branching out to darker territory lately with its new original series on Disney+ Moon Knight, which stars Oscar Isaac as Marc Spector/Steven Grant/Moon Knight.
The official description of the Doctor Strange sequel from Marvel reads:
“Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”—a thrilling ride through the Multiverse with Doctor Strange, his trusted friend Wong and Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” opens in U.S. theaters on May 6, 2022.”
The cast includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong as Wong, Rachel McAdams as Doctor Christine Palmer, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, and Xochitl Gomez.
Let us know in the comments if you are excited for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 6!
You can stream Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow and the six series in Marvel’s Phase Four so far — Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s WandaVision, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, Marvel’s What If…?, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, and Oscar Isaac’s Moon Knight — on Disney+ anytime.