Doctor Strange sequel banned in Saudi Arabia
LOS ANGELES - The next big Marvel Studios movie, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, has been banned in Saudi Arabia cinemas, reportedly due to its inclusion of an LGBTQ character.
Entertainment trade publication The Hollywood Reporter said on Friday (April 22) that the ban will also apply in Kuwait, though this has yet to be confirmed.
Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the ban was due to the Doctor Strange (2016) sequel incorporating the character of America Chavez.
Cable news network CNN had reported in 2017 that Chavez was "the first lesbian Latina superhero with her own Marvel Comics series".
In her debut Marvel Studios appearance, she will be played by Xochitl Gomez of The Baby-sitter's Club series on Netflix (2020).
Last year, Marvel's Eternals - directed by Oscar-winner Chloe Zhao - had been also pulled by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait; reportedly due to censorship conflicts over homosexual content.
The film had included a same-sex couple, played by actors Brian Tyree Henry and Haaz Sleiman, who share a kiss in one scene.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter at the time, local censors had requested specific edits to the film, which Marvel's parent company Disney had refused to carry out.
It is unclear what America Chavez's role in the Doctor Strange film will be - and if her sexuality will be more than a passing reference - as Marvel has been tight-lipped about the movie.
However, what is known is that actress Elizabeth Olsen will reprise her role as Wanda Maximoff to join Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange in a co-starring role. The movie is directed by Sam Raimi, the film-maker behind the popular Spider-Man trilogy of the early noughties (2002 to 2007).
Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness releases in Singapore on May 4.