Marvel Just Edited Doctor Strange 2's Poster to Avoid Upsetting Italians

By Jennifer McDonough Updated:
Doctor Strange Poster

Marvel Studios' next film release, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is almost ready to open a sling ring portal and land in theaters across the globe. With less than a month to go for the hotly anticipated MCU sequel, the hype meter is at a fever pitch as fans continue to theorize, speculate, and patch themselves up for what is sure to be a blockbuster of gargantuan proportions. 

And as such, the marketing blitz for the film has well and truly begun. Marvel has been rolling out TV spots, merchandise and posters for Multiverse of Madness and will, of course, continue to do so until it has arrived in cinemas.

Sometimes, Marvel Studios will need to adjust certain aspects of their releases for different regions. In many cases, it's to update the film's references to appeal to the more local crowd. This was most notable in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, with Steve Rogers' journal containing varying lists of pop culture items, depending on which country one was watching it in.

However, sometimes aspects will also need to be modified to avoid offending moviegoers across the world.

You Gotta Hand It To Marvel

The recently-released official theatrical poster for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness features a noticeable alteration on the version which was released in Italian markets. Benedict Cumberbatch's Master of the Mystic Arts has had his left hand photoshopped so as to not brandish a hand gesture that is seen as offensive in Italy.

Have a look at the change below:

Doctor Strange posters
Marvel Studios

"The Sign of the Horns" hand gesture has been swapped out with a more innocuous hand positioning on Italy's version of the theatrical poster:

Doctor Strange 2 poster comparison

In Italy and other select regions of the world, gesturing this hand signal to an individual implies that the targeted person is a cuckold (a man whose wife is sexually unfaithful). This obviously is not the case in all countries; since the 1980s, this hand signal has become synonymous with heavy metal in the United States and other English-speaking nations.

A Not-So-Strange Switch

It's good to see Marvel and Disney being sensitive to different cultures with Doctor Strange 2's marketing, as this particular instance seems like it would be an easy mistake to make if one weren't paying attention.

It's worth noting that the hand position on display in the American version of the poster is one that Doctor Strange is typically known for, particularly in the comics. It's also quite similar to the gesture that Spider-Man uses to activate his web-shooters, which appears to be largely a coincidence.

Regarding the finished film, it will be very interesting to see if the poster change gets carried over to the movie itself. Will Marvel Studios use computer-generated effects to digitally modify Strange's (or another sorcerer's) hand gestures to avoid ruffling any feathers?

That question, plus many more (Such as, “What's up with Professor X?") will be likely be answered when Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 6.

- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.