Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will continue to bring new faces into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Following in the footsteps of Hailee Steinfeld’s Kate Bishop and Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi is Xochitl Gomez’s America Chavez, a teenager with the unique ability to open star-portal doorways through the alternate dimensions. Gomez’s inclusion in the film as America Chavez has been confirmed since December 2020, and the rookie character has become a prominent player in Multiverse of Madness marketing since.
While Chavez has had little dialogue in trailers, merchandise for Doctor Strange 2 has confirmed that the on-screen character will retain her LGBTQ status from the comics.
Some international markets have requested the removal of a “barely 12 second” reference to Chavez’s “two moms,” to which Disney refused. This decision has since been strongly backed by leading man Benedict Cumberbatch, who called countries that ban Doctor Strange 2 from theaters because of the LGBTQ themes “out of step” with where humanity is at, as well as the man behind the MCU machine.
Kevin Feige Addresses America Chavez’s Sexuality
The Phase 4 rookie class gains another player this Friday.
Speaking at the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness press conference, Marvel President Kevin Feige detailed the creative process behind adapting Xochitl Gomez’s America Chavez. Answering a question from Tania Lamb that asked how important is was for Marvel Studios to address Chavez’s LGBTQ+ status in a meaningful way, Feige noted his team wanted to bring the character to the screen “as truthfully as we can.”
“It’s important, as we always say, that these films present the world as it is, and the world outside your window, as they used to say in publishing. That aspect of America’s character is from the comics. We always want to adapt them as well and as truthfully as we can.”
While her sexuality is integral to who she is, Feige emphasized that there’s “not any one thing” that defines America Chavez.
“I think when people see the movie, much like it is in life, it is not any one thing that defines any one character. As Xochitl said, she’s a 14-year-old girl figuring out this very traumatic element of her life, which is not the LGBTQ issue, it’s the fact that she keeps being tossed around the Multiverse multiple, multiple times. Being truthful to that and showcasing that, and that is not what the movie is about, but it is an important part of the character she becomes in the comics. We wanted to touch upon that.”
Marvel Studios’ World Outside Your Window
Love is a recurring theme in all Marvel Cinematic Universe projects. Tony Stark and Pepper Potts’ relationship is pervasive from 2008’s Iron Man to 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter’s long-awaited kitchen dance concludes the Infinity Saga’s culminating picture. Scarlet Witch’s grief following the loss of her husband is what breeds WandaVision‘s narrative.
That said, the MCU is much more than one theme, one tone, or one trait.
As Feige mentions, America Chavez is actively dealing with the “traumatic element” of being “tossed around the Multiverse” while simultaneously trying to navigate life as a “14-year-old girl.” These qualities, among others not yet known, are what make the future Young Avenger who she is.
Staying true to her portrayal from the page will only be beneficial for the creative direction of Chavez moving forward. Every Marvel character is bigger than their sexuality, but their future relationships do help define them down the line. Keeping Chavez’s LGBTQ status true to the comics sets her on a path that will allow her to blossom into the Miss America fans know and love from the page.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on Friday, May 6.