Why is Doctor Strange 2’s LGBTQ+ scene a matter of concern? Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is about to make a lot of noise, even if it doesn’t appear that way right now. Due to the ongoing pandemic, creative changes have occurred behind the scenes for the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel, which has been in the works for several years at this point. It would be an understatement to say that this film’s journey to release has been bumpy at best.
However, despite the fact that the film is finished and ready for release in theaters, it appears that things will not be as simple as many had hoped. The multiverse of Madness’ inclusion of LGBTQ+ scene was reported to be banned in some countries last week.
It is America Chavez who finds herself at the center of this controversy, as she joins Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange and Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff. Many assumed that Marvel Comics’ openly gay character, Chavez, was the reason for this ban.
Though there appears to be no imminent ban, it is being requested that edits be made. And the specifics of those edits are now public knowledge.
According to The Guardian, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was the subject of edit requests, but it turns out that this wasn’t the case at all.
Saudi Arabia has requested that Disney remove 12 seconds of footage from the upcoming MCU epic. It was America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez, who spoke about her “two mothers.”
According to Saudi Arabia’s general supervisor of cinema classification, Nawaf Alsabhan, the sequence was deemed acceptable “Fewer than a dozen seconds” and “Chavez was just talking about her mothers:
“It’s just her talking about her moms, because she has two moms.”
Alsabhan noted that the film’s release in the “Middle East” makes it “very tough to pass something like this” because of the direct allusion to LGBTQ+ scene. However, Disney has “told us they are not willing” to make any changes, according to the Saudi official.
It was also made clear that the film had not been banned from the country, but that they were simply asking for the necessary edits to be made.
In the span of a mere 12 seconds, this incident has caused quite the stir. This isn’t Disney and MCU’s first brush with international governments, however.
In the months leading up to the release of Eternals, Marvel Studios found itself in a similar predicament. The film was banned in some countries after it was revealed that one of the main characters was in a gay relationship.
At the very least, it appears that the Saudi government is doing everything it can to obtain a trimmed version of the film rather than outright prohibiting it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an official ban issued within a few days.
That they’re only criticizing America Chavez’s gay parents, rather than her own sexual orientation, is noteworthy. Chavez, a beloved gay character in the comic book canon, has become a poster child for representation in the medium. Isn’t that what Multiverse of Madness is all about?
If a character like Chavez were to be gay in the film, would it not have been brought up here? In my opinion, that’s what would have happened. America Chavez is a complex character, and if this side of her isn’t explored in the film, it feels like an injustice.