The war between #Marvel and #DC for comic book and cinematic supremacy is one that fans of both have been waging for decades, but with Wonder Woman's arrival, a new war is coming to the forefront of the superhero genre. And that war is an old one, between Israel and Lebanon.
Why Does The Israel-Lebanon War Matter To Wonder Woman?
Although Wonder Woman looks to be the relaunching point for the #DCEU and a worldwide success — at least, based on early reviews — it appears Lebanon wants nothing to do with the film. According to local newspaper The Daily Star, via Arab News, the Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade will "take the necessary measures" to ban the film from being screened in the Middle East country. The ban was requested because Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot is an Israeli actress who has served in the Israeli army, even speaking out in support of her country's military offensive.
Dr. Abdel Malik Sukria of Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions — a movement that, according to its website, aims to end "international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians" — has been a vocal supporter of the Wonder Woman prohibition. In support of the ban, Sukria sent a letter to the Lebanese Ministry of Economy, writing, “This actress served in the (Israel Defense Forces) and was crowned the beauty queen of Israel. She also revealed her support for the IDF during the last war in Gaza.”
What Does This Wonder Woman Boycott Mean?
This ban may seem strange if you haven't been paying attention to Israel-Lebanon relations for the past 70 years, when the nation of Israel was founded in 1948. Lebanon has long had laws in place boycotting Israeli products, even going so far as to ban its citizens from traveling to Israel or having contact with Israeli citizens.
Officially to the rest of the world, this is a drop in the bucket, but in the political realm it's new territory that Warner Bros. will have to navigate. Any sort of countrywide ban can be a big deal if it gets out of hand, and with the ban officially dropping roughly two hours before the film was scheduled to screen in Lebanon, it looks as though it's reached the "big deal" point for WB and DC.
Ultimately, this could hurt Lebanon more than anything else, considering how anticipated this film is. The ban required a recommendation from a government six-member committee before it could be enacted, and this is after having gone through the typical censorship procedures of Lebanon.
It's also worth noting that Wonder Woman is the first #GalGadot film to be banned in Lebanon, with her The Fast and the Furious franchise movies and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice all having been screened in that country. While Gadot appeared in all of the aforementioned films, she was not the lead actress and that is perhaps the driving force behind the Wonder Woman ban.
A Knock-On Effect?
It's easy to imagine that nearly anyone who considers themselves a superhero fan is itching to see the first female-led hero film, regardless of their affiliation with Marvel or DC.
The film, already in full swing for the upcoming premieres around the world, looks to take DC to the next phase of its cinematic universe, with or without support in the Middle East. It comes as a major surprise that Lebanon would officially ban the film, but it brings to light how much real-world events can impact feature films, so this could possibly be the beginning of more film bans moving forward, given the instability in certain regions.
With #WonderWoman a beacon of peace and hope in the comics, it's ironic that she would be at the center of this war between Israel and Lebanon.
Wonder Woman officially launches in cinemas on June 2. Is the ongoing conflict between Israel and Lebanon a legitimate enough reason to ban a film because of the lead actress? Sound off in the comments below.