Spider-Verse Faces Censorship in Two Countries Over Trans Imagery

The presence of a trans flag in Gwen Stacy’s scene has resulted in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse being prohibited in two countries.

The animated superhero sequel depicts Miles Morales’s reunion with Gwen and his discovery of a large group of Spider-People led by Miguel O’Hara, who have different opinions on how to deal with The Spot and his father’s imminent demise by his hands. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has received the same high praise as its Oscar-winning predecessor.

Spider-Verse Faces Censorship in Two Countries Over Trans Imagery
Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy

According to Esquire Middle East , Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has been prohibited in two countries, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, after two weeks of its theatrical release in most regions.

The report did not specify the reason, but it implied that the superhero sequel did not comply with the censorship guidelines of The Media Regulatory Office, which require that “international and local content must adhere to local customs and values.” The movie’s display of trans imagery with Gwen Stacy’s room might have been the cause of the ban.

Spider-Verse Faces Censorship in Two Countries Over Trans Imagery
Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

The prohibition of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse follows the online speculation of many viewers that Gwen is trans. One of the main clues in the movie is the recurrent presence of the trans flag in Gwen’s home universe, such as one displayed above her bedroom doorway with the message “Protect Trans Kids” and pins on her jacket and her father’s police uniform.

This imagery is also reflected in the color scheme and palette for Gwen’s world, a feature that varies according to the emotional state of Hailee Steinfeld’s young hero as she copes with the death of her Peter Parker, estrangement from her dad and disclosure of her identity to him.

It reaches its peak with the moving Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse finale in which she reconciles with her dad and the background shifts to a white, pastel blue and pink color scheme as he chooses to embrace her being Spider-Woman.

Although some have questioned the appropriateness of a cisgender actor playing a trans character, the absence of confirmation of Gwen being such in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has left these as conjectures so far.

However, with viewers positively responding to the idea of Gwen being trans and the creators behind both movies often considering fan feedback, it will be intriguing to see if next year’s Beyond the Spider-Verse officially confirms this as canon.

About Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is an upcoming computer-animated superhero film focusing on the Marvel comics character Miles Morales/Spider-Man, serving as a sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018).

Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac will reprise their roles as Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy, and Miguel O’Hara/Spider-Man 2099, respectively. The sequel will have Miles exploring other universes, adding to his team of Spider-people, and facing new threats. 

The film is directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson with a screenplay by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and David Callaham. Across the Spiderverse will release on June 2, 2023. 

Epic Dope Staff

Epic Dope Staff

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