Art & Culture

New Doctor Strange movie may face ban in Saudi Arabia due to LGBTQIA+ scenes

Ishita Srivastava
Ishita SrivastavaApr 26, 2022 | 16:40

New Doctor Strange movie may face ban in Saudi Arabia due to LGBTQIA+ scenes

Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness may be banned in Saudi Arabia for its LGBTQIA+ representation. Here is what is happening.

Seems like the China cut isn't the only 'cut' to bother movies. Saudi Arabia has asked Disney to cut out 12 seconds of showtime from its upcoming movie, Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness


Because the movie shows a lesbian character, America Chavez, potrayed by Xochitl Gomez, refer to her "two moms". Disney has declined to go forward with Saudi Arabia's request. 

While The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the rumours of a ban on the movie, Saudi Arabia’s general supervisor of cinema classification, Nawaf Alsabhan told Agence France-Presse that the movie will never be banned. 

dr_042622043927.jpgDoctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness. Photo: Instagram/Marvel

Alsabhan clarified, "It's never banned. It will never be banned. There's no reason to ban the film. It's a simple edit... so far they have refused. But we haven't closed the door. We're still trying."

Alsabhan also explained to AFP why Saudi Arabia wanted those 12 seconds cut. "It's just her talking about her moms, because she has two moms. And being in the Middle East, it's very tough to pass something like this," said the supervisor

The reason for Saudi Arabia's request to cut showtime is because homosexuality is illegal in Gulf countries and is classified under capital punishment. 

It is not confirmed whether the 12-second-cut includes any mention of America Chavez's sexuality, as she is known to be gay in the Doctor Strange comic books. 

The movie has been banned in Egypt for the same reasons as Saudi Arabia's demand. IMAX Egypt tweeted, "Doctor Strange and Wanda will not be here during their journey between universes! #DoctorStrangeInTheMultiverseOfMadness won't be released in Egypt."

Qatar has also banned the release of Multiverse of Madness in the country, over the same 12 seconds of LGBTQIA+ representation. 

Scheduled to release on May 6 in India, Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness is the second installment of Marvel Cinematic Universe's Dr Strange series. The movie features Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer. 

Check out the official trailer here: 

The movie was introduced in one of the end credit scenes in Spider Man: No Way Home, and continues to follow events from the same timeline.

Directed by Sam Raimi, Multiverse of Madness is expected to focus on the after-effects of Doctor Strange casting a forbidden spell, which opened up the multiverse in Spider Man: No Way Home

But Multiverse of Madness isn't the only MCU movie that could be banned in the Gulf region. Chinese director and Oscar winner Chloe Zhao's Eternals also faced the Gulf ban for its potrayal of a gay couple; Phastos and his partner. 

At the time of the release of Eternals, Saudi Arabia had requested Disney to cut out scenes of Phastos and his partner from the running time but Disney did not comply, resulting in the movie's ban. 

Last updated: April 26, 2022 | 16:40
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