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When Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits the big screen next month, it will feature the arrival of the MCU's first Latina superhero in the form of America Chavez (played by Xochitl Gomez). Known by the official moniker of "Miss America" in the comics, the character has the ability to hop between different realities — a power that should come in handy for the beleaguered Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) who finds himself in serious trouble after messing with the fabric of the universe during Spider-Man: No Way Home.
More critical than America's powers, however, is what her blockbuster debut means for diversity and representation at Marvel Studios, now starting to make good on a promise to deliver more shows and films centered around heroes of different genders, skin colors, and cultural backgrounds. The goal, according to Marvel Cinematic Universe architect Kevin Feige, is to reach a point where more diversity in front and behind the camera is no longer headline news.
"It's extremely important, mainly in the sense that our fictions should — in very significant and fundamental ways — reflect our reality," Joe Casey, who co-created Miss America with Nick Dragotta, tells SYFY WIRE over email. "And unlike the Marvel Universe depicted in the early 1960s comics, reality is obviously multicultural. Our superheroes should be, too. Marvel characters like America Chavez and Miles Morales and Kamala Khan have become vitally important to a large section of fandom that sees a lot of themselves in them. With America Chavez, in particular, there's a real connection there that really seems to transcend the comics. Hopefully, the moviegoing audience will make that same kind of connection when they see America Chavez in the Doctor Strange flick."
Turning 16 later this month, Gomez is a relative newcomer to the world of acting, having appeared in a slew of TV projects like Raven's Home (Disney Channel), You're The Worst (FX), and The Baby-Sitters Club (HBO Max). The Doctor Strange sequel is her biggest break yet and despite a limited resume up to this point, Casey has no doubt the young actress will do justice by his creation.
"If there's one thing that Marvel Studios particularly excels at, it's casting the right actor for the right role," the writer, who was not consulted on the film in any way, explains. "From what little I've seen so far, she seems really enthusiastic to have landed the role and to be part of the MCU. Personally, I'm rooting for her to knock it out of the park."
Per a feature article on Multiverse of Madness published in the most recent issue of Empire Magazine, America is pursued into the MCU "by mysterious creatures intent on siphoning off her power and using it for their own nefarious ends." Her appearance in Strange's reality coincides with the appearance of a one-eyed tentacle creature known as Gargantos (in the comics, this entity goes by "Shuma-Gorath").
"Just to see her alongside an iconic character like Doctor Strange is extremely cool," Casey finishes. "That's one of the main reasons why I created her in the first place, so she could stand next to the other Marvel heroes — the heavy hitters like Iron Man and Captain America — and for it to feel like she belonged there. To me, that's what gives any new character a degree of legitimacy that's often very necessary when you've already got a long-running continuity."
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness portals into theaters everywhere Friday, May 6.