Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness isn’t just about Stephen Strange and his personal problems — the Sam Raimi movie also introduces a brand new superheroine to the Marvel Cinematic Universe: The star-spangled America Chavez.
Who is America Chavez? How did she come to be? Read on for the Marvel Comics story behind the girl who can kick holes in the universe.
[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.]
Played by young actress Xochitl Gomez, America Chavez comes to the attention of Doctor Strange because of her ability to create portals between the dimensions of the multiverse, manifesting huge star shapes in the air that she can kick or punch in order to shatter them into an open door.
For a film adaptation working with a high-concept superpower and a high-concept origin story, Multiverse of Madness’s version of America is surprisingly accurate to her Marvel Comics incarnation — minus some confidence and experience. But according to Gomez, that was deliberate.
“You can definitely see the beginning stages of what future America might become,” the actress told Marvel.com. “I took stuff that was in the comics, and kind of lightened it up since she’s less experienced. She’s younger than any of her known appearances in the comics, and I think you can see that. It was a fun challenge exploring what a younger and less experienced America might be, but also hinting towards the serious leader she would soon become. I wanted to keep that kid energy and a little bit of that fake-it-till-you-make-it confidence.”
Multiverse of Madness gives only a glimpse of America’s home dimension, and her moms, before her powers manifested for the first time and she accidentally threw herself and her family to different universes. But for hints on where America has been and where she’s going, we can look no further than the comics.
Who is America Chavez in Marvel Comics?
Though she was created by Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta for 2011’s Vengeance #1, America’s backstory, her iconic star-kicking power, and her lesbian identity wouldn’t be enumerated until 2013’s Young Avengers, created by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie.
In an issue drawn by Christian Ward, Ward and Gillen established that America hailed from a dimension called the Utopian Parallel, where her parents were a lesbian-couple-slash-co-rulers of a utopian paradise universe. Chafing that there were no problems to solve or heroic deeds to be performed, America used her multiverse powers to light out for a place in which her super strength and flight abilities were actually needed. Because great power comes with multiversal responsibility.
America has appeared in numerous comics over the years, some better than others. But a list of her greatest hits would probably be her team books: Young Avengers (2013), Ultimates (2015), and West Coast Avengers (2018). Most recently, America’s whole backstory was retconned to be much more mundane, but with Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness taking the Utopian Parallel route, it’s a decently safe bet that her comics will trend back in that direction eventually as well.
And anyway it sucked and was dumb.
Oh, also! America does have a superhero codename — Ms. America — but she hardly ever uses it.
Does Marvel have more plans for America Chavez?
At the moment, Marvel Studios have not announced any further plans to use America Chavez in an upcoming Disney Plus series or movie. But in classic MCU style, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness neatly situates America in place for her next adventure: She’s learning how to control her portal powers in Kamar-Taj, and she’s got a couple of moms to find and rescue somewhere in the multiverse.