Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is just a few days away from its worldwide release. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, the sequel of the Marvel movie would also introduce fans to new characters.

One character that’s been discussed a lot lately is that of America Chavez, a queer superhero. And for this very reason, the movie has been banned in Saudi Arabia and several other Middle Eastern countries. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was originally scheduled to release in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries on May 5. 

Saudia Arabia has requested Disney to cut any LGBTQ references in the film. As per a report in The Guardian, these cuts refer to ‘barely 12-seconds’ in the film where Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez, refers to her ‘two moms.’ Disney has not processed this request.

Benedict Cumberbatch has voiced his opinion on this decision, calling it ‘an expected disappointment.

During the London leg of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness press tour, Cumberbatch said, “It is, I’m afraid, an expected disappointment. We’ve come to know from those repressive regimes that their lack of tolerance is exclusionary to people who deserve to be, not only included, but celebrated for who they are and made to feel part of a society and a culture and not punished for their sexuality.

 It feels truly out of step with everything that we’ve experienced as a species, let alone where we’re at globally more as a culture, but frankly it’s just even more reason why this isn’t tokenism to include an LGBTQ+ community member.”

Talking about the character America Chavez, he added, “This character is that from the comics. It’s not something we’ve created for the sake of diversity. We’ve included her because of how awesome she is as a character. And that’s just one aspect of her character and that’s all it should be, but sadly, it’s also now, politically, very charged. And I wish it wasn’t.”

Cumberbatch concluded by praising Disney and Marvel and said, “I wish we could be having a normalized conversation about this where it wasn’t an issue but we’re not. So we still have to fight. We still have to push for inclusion and equality and I’m very glad in a small, but on a very big canvas, Marvel and Disney are doing that.”

Doctor Strange: Multiverse Of Madness is directed by Sam Raimi, who also helmed the original Spiderman trilogy. The film will release on May 6th, 2022. 

(Featured Image Credits: Twitter @marvel)