Actress Xochitl Gomez will be seen in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as America Chavez along with Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen. But apart from her confirmation in the film as the Latina hero, details about her exact role in the story are not known yet. A leaked audition tape revealed Stephen Strange and Wanda Maximoff looking for Chavez who was almost abducted by a giant demon.
The teenage hero then explained the multiverse to Wanda and Strange. She mentioned her own “home reality” suggesting that the one in the Marvel Cinematic Universe fans have watched all these years is not her own. According to the comics, Chavez originated from a dimension outside the universe known as the Utopian Parallel. But her origin has been changed in the latest comic book run, “America Chavez: Made In The USA”. This also reflects her origin in the MCU.
The Latest Retcon of America Chavez
According to “America Chavez: Made In The USA”, Chavez was found floating on the shore by a Puerto Rican family. She was adopted and raised by them till her adolescence and the superhero lifestyle started to create a rift between them. The new issue revealed that Chavez did not originate from another dimension and neither her mother sacrificed themselves to save it. They were both human medical researchers searching for a cure to a disease afflicting their daughter, America.
Utopian Parallel was no more another dimension filled with women. It was instead an island that conducted experimental research on other young girls. The experiments were conducted with the use of dimensional energy flowing through the island that could end up being the Utopian Parallel itself. The story is ongoing but the new story can be a bait-and-switch. But it looks like Marvel Comics is pushing to make America’s origin more grounded.
The Utopian Parallel
America Chavez was actually raised in the Utopian Parallel. It was created by the unbending of the magic by the Demiurge, a powerful cosmic being also known as Wiccan a.k.a. Billy Maximoff. It was a home for women only. The dimension was almost destroyed when America was six years old till her mothers heroically sacrificed themselves to save it. Shortly after the sacrifice, Chavez jumped through a portal to Earth and became her own hero. This also meant that she can never return to the Utopian Parallel. The initial years of America on Earth were left vague for years in the comics till her latest comic book established a completely new origin for the heroine.
Why America Chavez’s origin has been changed?
America Chavez was not actually Puerto Rican. She was not even human. She was merely coded as Latina without addressing it directly. But writer Gabby Rivera decided to have that aspect of her character be more blatant to the point that Rivera had written America importantly appropriating Puerto Rican culture. Her book acknowledged this by America calling herself a tourist and how she was lifting language and culture.
The recent retcon can be an overcorrection by Marvel Comics and so, America is now human as well as Puerto Rican. This causes a lot of problems for the fans because it blatantly contradicts various key parts of the character like her relationship with Billy. In terms of MCU, this is not a big problem. But for the fans of the comics, this is a victim of corporate synergy that might not end up matching what Marvel Studios has planned for the character.
Marvel Comics: Reactive or Informed
Synergy is a word hated by the fans of Marvel Comics. The company has tried to replicate the MCU in different aspects. Some of them have been more drastic like altering characters and their personalities for matching film adaptations. The most blatant example is the Guardians of the Galaxy that changed from a largely serious group of heroes into the goofy-a-holes seen in MCU’s Guardians of the Galaxy. In the last few years, Marvel Comics has reacted to what is done by Marvel Studios or what they believe they will do.
For example, War Machine was killed during the comic event “Civil War II”. It was mostly because the trailer of Captain America: Civil War showed his apparent death. Another example is the origin of Carol Danvers. The choice was because of the early belief that Annette Bening would play Carol’s mother and Marvel Studios would drastically change the origin of her powers that no longer came from an explosion but her being part-Kree on her mother’s side. So, it is not definitive that because Marvel Comics decided to rewrite the origin of America Chavez to be more grounded, it would match her film adaptation.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the 28th film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange. The film is scheduled to release on March 25, 2022. It features Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Xochiti Gomez in the lead roles. In the film, Strange unleashes an unspeakable evil as he faces a friend-turned-enemy.
Source: The Direct