Several countries ban Doctor Strange 2 over LGBTQ+ character

America Chavez's debut in Doctor Strange is the Multiverse of Madness is already affecting the upcoming MCU film's global box office numbers.

An overseas theatrical ban might prevent Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness from blowing up as big as it should.

Disney needs to plan the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters in future movies properly.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is no stranger to controversies. Despite Disney's best efforts to make sure that the superhero movies are inclusive, adding LGBTQ+ characters in recent outings hasn't been without consequence. For example, theaters in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar, banned Eternals for depicting a same-sex relationship on-screen.

Fast forward to May, and it appears that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will follow suit.

The Hollywood Reporter claims that Egypt, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia have banned the second Doctor Strange film from screening in theaters. It's not yet confirmed if the movie won't make it to box offices in Qatar well, but it is presumed that the ban extends to the said country as well.

While unfortunate, the ban is consistent with the laws in the Gulf region. It's worth noting that homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia, where the death penalty is a legally prescribed punishment for offenders.

The most interesting part about this is that the aforementioned countries issued the ban weeks before the film's launch on May 6. In comparison, the same countries only banned Eternals days before its premiere, and only because Disney refused to cut Phastos' scenes depicting a same-sex relationship. Not to mention, Marvel Studios hasn't confirmed that Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez is an LGBTQ+ character in the movie. Although the Latin-American superhero made waves as the first Latin-American gay character to star in an ongoing Marvel series, the MCU could take a different direction if only for her feature film debut.

Then again, Chavez's queerness and gender preference probably won't play a significant role in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

America Chavez was originally planned to appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home before the delays and rewrites.

Having said that, Benedict Cumberbatch's second Marvel solo outing might not do as well as hoped. Even if The Power of the Dog actor is confident that the movie will match Spider-Man: No Way Home, all these bans could affect the new Doctor Strange feature negatively. Then again, editing out LGBTQ+ content from upcoming projects isn't exactly in Disney's best interests either. We're definitely going to keep a close eye on how Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will do at the global box office in spite of the bans.

At the moment, Matt Reeves' The Batman holds the record for the highest-grossing movie of the year at $758.9 million.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.
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