Speed Reads


Marvel's Doctor Strange sequel reportedly banned in Saudi Arabia over gay character

Marvel is bringing more LGBTQ+ representation into its universe — and running up against overseas censors. 

The new Marvel film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has been banned in Saudi Arabia due to "LGBTQ issues," according to The Hollywood Reporter. The report said this ban appears to also apply to Kuwait but that this hasn't been confirmed. 

The ban is attributed to the film's introduction of a new hero to the Marvel universe, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who is gay in the comics. It was previously reported that her sexuality would be acknowledged in the film. 

This was the second Marvel movie within the past six months to be banned in Saudi Arabia for featuring LGBTQ representation. In November, the country also banned Eternals, which includes a gay superhero who is in a same-sex relationship. At one point in the film, the character kisses his husband. In that case, the Reporter said local censors requested edits to the film that Disney declined to make. 

A number of countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, also banned Disney's West Side Story remake in January over the inclusion of a transgender character. And earlier this month, Warner Bros. edited lines referencing a gay relationship out of Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore so it could be released in China. 

Doctor Strange was set to be released in theaters across the Gulf at the same time it hits the U.S. in early May. It's expected to be one of the highest grossing films of the summer movie season. According to Deadline, the movie is still expected to be released in the United Arab Emirates.