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Marvel Cinematic Universe fans took an unexpected trip across the multiverse Sunday evening with the official trailer for Sam Raimi's hotly-anticipated Doctor Strange sequel: in the Multiverse of Madness. In addition to confirming appearances from characters like Rintrah and heavily hinting at the introduction of an Illuminati council led by Patrick Stewart's Charles Xavier, the fresh round of footage also gave us a better look at the character of America Chavez (played by relative newcomer Xochitl Gomez).
Having made her comics debut in 2011's Vengeance #1, Miss America is practically a baby compared to Marvel's other established heroes. With that said, her origin story as a citizen of the Utopian Parallel — a plane of existence that resides of outside of regular space-time due to the “unbinding of magic” — makes her perfect for a team-up with an extra-dimensional adventurer like Stephen Strange.
"For me, it's crazy to think that I came up with the idea for this character in 2010 — a time when we were already well into what eventually became known as 'Phase One' of the MCU — and I never even considered she would actually end up in one of these movies," writer Joe Casey, who co-created America Chavez with Nick Dragotta, tells SYFY WIRE. "On the other hand, this is just the next in a long line of America Chavez appearances in other media — from animation, to video games, to action figures, to bed sheets, and other weird apparel where she's already made an impression outside of the comics. So I guess this latest thing is more gratifying than surprising."
At the age of six, the Utopian Parallel was nearly torn apart before America's two mothers gave up their lives to stabilize the dimensional fracturing. While her world and people were saved, America could no longer stand the thought of continuing on without her parents. Wanting to follow in their brave footsteps, she traversed the multiverse, protecting other realities with her superhuman abilities.
In particular, it looks as though the new trailer features her powers of flight, super-strength, and bioluminescence. "I have little doubt that they'll look appropriately iconic," Casey adds. "I'm sure the depiction of her powers were pre-vised to perfection, as they often are in these types of movies."
He continues: "Given the nature of her powers and the fact that the title of the film contains the word 'Multiverse' in it, the reason for her inclusion seems obvious to me. She's had a strange journey in the comics in terms of her characterization. I suppose — as with anything that's being adapted — her introduction into the MCU is a chance to distill the character down to her basic essence and strip away some of the creative detritus that might've accumulated in the comics over the last decade."
While we don't know much about the plot specifics of Multiverse of Madness, we'd wager a guess that Strange's magical tampering in Spider-Man: No Way Home is what forces Chavez to leave her home for the MCU.
"Bring on the weird purple space veins," says Casey (a member of the Man of Action creative collective) when asked about what he hopes to see from this onscreen depiction of the multiverse. "But I gotta tell you, as a writer, I have mixed feelings about the entire multiverse concept. It's obviously fertile ground for telling certain types of stories. But as an actual plot device... you have to be really careful that it doesn't become some sort of a narrative crutch. I do find it hysterical that the very idea of a multiverse is so ubiquitous these days... at both Marvel and DC and beyond. It's the kind of 'inside baseball'-type of comic book concept that, just 10 years ago, you would never have thought the general public would be able to wrap their heads around. Shows how far we've come, I guess."
Despite creating the character, Casey wasn't shown any early concept art or footage. "You'd think they'd have shared something, right...? But nah, nothing whatsoever," he admits. "So far, I've only seen the same trailer that everyone else has, which did look very cool. Honestly, I doubt that Marvel Studios has much of a sense of who we are in terms of actually creating the character. Par for the course, it seems. It's a well-worn path for many a creator. As a matter of fact, it's one I've already traveled down with my partners in Man of Action Entertainment and Big Hero 6."
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits the big screen on Friday, May 6.