Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now just days away from release in most territories. However, Saudi Arabian and Egyptian Marvel fans are going to be left exceptionally miserable. The governments in the respective countries banned the movie because Disney and Marvel Studios refused to cut 12 seconds of footage that depict MCU’s new hero, America Chavez’s LGBTQ status.
This stand marks something of a new development for Disney, who have previously been happy to kowtow to the similar demands in the past, releasing versions of Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker without even the briefest hint of same-sex romance.
Now it seems that Kevin Feige himself may have had a role to play in this. Speaking at the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness press conference (via The Direct), he said:
“It’s important, as we always say, that these films present the world as it is, and the world outside your window, as they used to say in publishing. That aspect of America’s character is from the comics. We always want to adapt them as well and as truthfully as we can.”
He then focused on why it’s important to get it right on this character in particular:
“I think when people see the movie, much like it is in life, it is not any one thing that defines any one character. As Xochitl said, she’s a 14-year-old girl figuring out this very traumatic element of her life, which is not the LGBTQ issue, it’s the fact that she keeps being tossed around the Multiverse multiple, multiple times. Being truthful to that and showcasing that, and that is not what the movie is about, but it is an important part of the character she becomes in the comics. We wanted to touch upon that.”
Disney recently landed itself in political hot water over Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, so sticking to its guns on decisions like this may indicate a sea change for the House of Mouse. It is now evident to the production house that its employees and the vast majority of their audience stand in solidarity with LGBTQ+ people and support their right to exist without discrimination or repression.
Whatever the case be, we’ll get to see Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez later this week. Though be warned, potential leaks about the film’s plot are on the rise and Twitter, in particular, is currently a hotbed of Doctor Strange 2 spoilers.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 6.