Doctor Strange 2 was ‘cancelled’ in Egypt over gay content. The most popular franchise in the world, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s upcoming entry Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness won’t be released in Egypt thanks to the fact that one of the main characters is queer. The homophobic decision was noted by IMAX Egypt’s official Twitter account on April 23rd, 2022, which said the sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange was “canceled.”
In an unprofessional Tweet, using the IMAX account the make light of the anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric that was used to justify the decision, IMAX Egypt wrote: “Doctor Strange and Wanda will not be here during their journey between universes! Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness won’t be released in Egypt.”
The Tweet did not mention America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), the queer character who has led the film to be censored in intolerant markets. In addition to Egypt, the film has also been banned in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar because Marvel Studios has made the decision not to cut “12 seconds” of footage.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is helmed by legendary director Sam Raimi, who was behind what many still consider to be the best Marvel Comics movie of all time: 2004’s Spider-Man 2. The influence of Spider-Man 2 on the MCU remains prominent, with composer Danny Elfman returning to reunite with Raimi on Multiverse of Madness. Spider-Man 2 also featured Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker and Alfred Molina as Doctor Otto Octavius, both of whom reprised their role for the most recent big-screen release from the franchise, 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Speaking of the box-office shattering No Way Home, the events of that movie are intimately tied to Multiverse of Madness, with the consequences of the actions Strange undertook in No Way Home forming the foundation of the narrative. However, that’s just bad news for fans of the MCU franchise who live in Egypt and just want to see the next chapter in the story: while Multiverse of Madness is sure to make theater owners money hand over fist – they’re bringing the freakin’ Illuminati into this, people – it turns out that there is one force in the multiverse that can trump avarice, even in the midst of late-stage capitalism: bigotry!
Not First Time Queer Representation in MCU Gets Pushback
This isn’t the first time that queer representation in the MCU has received pushback from those who are committed to expressing their hatred for those with different lifestyles than the ones they have chosen. In 2021’s Eternals, two gay characters shared an onscreen kiss, causing the “One Million Moms” organization to call for boycotts. However, it’s worth noting that the majority of the noise caused by the “One Million Moms” organization is actually just coming from a lone individual, as reported by GLAAD in 2019. Likewise, most of the audience in Egypt will be clamoring for the release of the next chapter in the MCU, but the actions of a minority of bigots in possession of a disproportionate amount of political power are ruining it for everyone.
In addition to being closely tied to the hugely successful No Way Home, there is another narrative connection for Multiverse of Madness: the Disney+ series WandaVision, which introduced Billy Kaplan (Julian Hilliard), a queer character who is poised to play an increasingly large role in the MCU’s overarching narrative moving forward. If fans in Egypt are going to be able to continue to enjoy the next decade of MCU fare, the decision to accept queer characters regardless of their romantic predilections should be made sooner rather than later.