The long-awaited sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,has been banned in Saudi Arabia ahead of its May 5 release date for its inclusion of an LGBTQ+ character. The first film introduced audiences to the MCU version of Dr. Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch), and since then Strange has continued down his path of mastering his skills and proving his worth as an asset to the Avengers. The sequel directed by Sam Raimi will see Strange deal with the fallout from his actions in Spider-Man: No Way Home, when, in trying to help Peter Parker (Tom Holland), he ended up cracking open the multiverse. The film will feature several notable MCU characters like Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Wong (Benedict Wong) and will introduce audiences to America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez).
Marvel parent company Disney and international countries have butted heads about what content they will and won’t edit for censorship purposes in the past. In November of 2021, Disney decided that they wouldn’t edit Eternals and censor the sexuality of Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) and the relationship with his human husband for international audiences. However, Disney has more recently been accused of self-censoring and stifling LGBTQ-inclusive content in a statement released by LGBTQ+ Pixar employees and their allies. It wasn’t until audiences pushed back against Disney’s initial response to the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” (Florida HB 1557) that Pixar restored a lesbian kiss in their upcoming film Lightyear that had already been edited out of the film.