LOS ANGELES, USA – In a new Doctor Strange film, Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel Studios delves into horror terrain. The film will be released worldwide on May 4th.
Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is a sequel to the 2016 film that introduced the neurosurgeon-turned-sorcerer to the big screen.
Cumberbatch stated of the upcoming picture, “I would absolutely argue it’s the darkest and scariest that this bunch (Marvel) have done.”
Doctor Stephen Strange, represented by Benedict Cumberbatch, enters the multiverse, a place of endless parallel realities, each operating in its own reality.
The multiverse allows for “possibilities and combinations of characters in new ways, alternative versions of characters that we know and it’s opening the door for, I hope, a whole other series of Marvel films,” director Sam Raimi said.
In the film, Strange comes to the aid of America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) who is being pursued her ability to cross the multiverse. Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda, with her mystical powers, also appears.
The fact that Wanda and Doctor Strange use magic made the characters a good fit for venturing into horror, Raimi said.
“It has elements of the spooky and sometimes the fun and scary, but it never really intends to rock the audience to their core,” Raimi said. “It’s not really trying to terrify the audience.”
The movie has sparked objections in some parts of the Middle East, according to media reports.
An official in Saudi Arabia told The Guardian newspaper that Disney was asked to remove a brief clip that makes “LGBTQ references.” In the clip, Chavez refers to having two moms.
Disney declined to cut same-sex references in the film, and it will not be released in Saudi Arabia or a handful of other Middle Eastern countries, a source familiar with the matter said.
A representative for Saudi Arabia’s government did not respond to a request for comment.
Cumberbatch said it was “disappointing” to hear the scene had caused a backlash.
“It’s just mind-boggling that we’re still talking about it, but here we are and I hope somehow fans of the film in Saudi Arabia of every sexuality are able to see it at some point somehow,” he said.