Marvel Studios is continuing its multiversal storyline with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness next month. With the movie's release closely approaching, Marvel's heavy promotional cycle has started worldwide. However, promotional materials in some regions are proving trickier than others.
Doctor Strange and the Cuckold Sign
Via The Direct, one of the major posters for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has been heavily altered in Italy. While the majority of promotional materials are the same as usual in the region, one poster had to be censored.
On the movie’s theatrical poster — the one that will be used by all cinemas — the titular Strange has been changed. In the original version, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange is posing with a specific hand sign. However, this hand sign is an offensive display in Italy.
The “Horns of the Bull” sign displayed by Strange isn't offensive for satanic connotations, but instead sexual ones. In Italy, doing this hand sign towards a person is the equivalent of calling them a “cuckold” or “cuck”. This means that they're someone with an adulterous partner, or someone who enjoys the idea of an adulterous partner.
In most regions, this hand sign remains unchanged. However, in Italy, the hand sign has been altered so that Doctor Strange is no longer insulting everyone in the country. Instead, the sorcerer now has a more vague hand sign.
Nothing new for Marvel
Altering pieces of content for other regions is nothing new for movie studios, especially for Marvel Studios. Marvel's dedication to a family friendly worldwide audience has led to the company using VFX to alter even minor scenes to make others feel included.
For example, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers has a notebook of cultural moments to catch up on. In almost every region, this notebook is altered with VFX to show different pieces of iconic media for everyone.
Some would say it's a needless change. However, Marvel is one of the biggest brands right now, and it prides itself on being loved everywhere. This is why the franchise is aiming to be even better with character diversity, moving away from the almost exclusively-white main cast of Phase One.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is for everyone, and that does mean that Marvel doesn't want to be insulting an entire region. Nevertheless, it is pretty hilarious that this happened in the first place. Bravo, Marvel.