Actress Xochitl Gomez will be starring in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as America Chavez alongside Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen. However, aside from her confirmation in the film as the Latina hero, not much is known about her exact role in the story.
In a leaked audition tape, Stephen Strange and Wanda Maximoff were looking for Chavez, who was almost abducted by a giant demon. The teenage hero then explained the multiverse to the two magical heroes and mentioned her own “home reality,” suggesting that the one in the Marvel Cinematic Universe fans have watched all these years is not her own.
In the comics, America Chavez originated from a dimension outside the multiverse called the Utopian Parallel. However, in her latest comic book run, “America Chavez: Made In The USA,” this origin has been changed, which could reflect her origin in the MCU.
THE UTOPIAN PARALLEL
Originally, America Chavez was raised in the Utopian Parallel, created by the unbending of magic by the Demiurge, a powerful cosmic being now known as Wiccan, a.k.a. Billy Maximoff. Home to only women, this dimension was almost destroyed when America was six years old until her mothers heroically sacrificed themselves to save it.
Shortly after their sacrifice, Chavez leaped through a portal to Earth and became her own hero, even though it meant that she could never return to the Utopian Parallel. The early years of America on Earth were left vague for years in the comics until her latest comic book run established a whole new origin for the heroine.
THE LATEST COMIC BOOK RETCON
A term most popular in comic books, “retroactive continuity” is when information or backstory for a fictional character or world is changed, regardless of whether it contradicts what was already established. Obviously, this is something that Marvel Comics has done constantly with its characters over the decades, with America Chavez being the latest example.
In “America Chavez: Made In The USA,” it was revealed that Chavez was found floating on the shore by a Puerto Rican family. She was adopted and raised by them until her adolescence and superhero lifestyle began to create a rift between them.
The biggest bombshell within the newest issue revealed that Chavez did not originate from another dimension or that her mothers sacrificed themselves to save it. Instead, they were both human medical researchers looking to cure a disease afflicting their daughter, America. It turns out that America had imagined her origin story.
The Utopian Parallel was no longer another dimension filled only with women but an island conducting experimental research on other young girls. Although, the experiments were conducted using dimensional energy flowing through the island, which could end up being the Utopian Parallel itself.
The story is still ongoing, so this new twist could be a bait-and-switch, but it seems like Marvel Comics is pushing to make America's origin more grounded. This could arguably be in anticipation of her appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
MARVEL COMICS: REACTIVE OR INFORMED
Synergy is a dirty word for fans of Marvel Comics, as the company has attempted to replicate the Marvel Cinematic Universe in multiple aspects. Oftentimes, synergy in the comics is simply certain characters or groups getting a new comic book run like Eternals being relaunched.
Some synergy has been far more drastic such as altering characters and their personalities to match film adaptations. The most blatant example of this is the Guardians of the Galaxy changing from a largely serious group of heroes into the goofy a-holes seen in the MCU's Guardians of the Galaxy.
Over the years, it has been apparent that, more often than not, Marvel Comics reacts to what Marvel Studios doea or what they believe they will do. For example, War Machine was killed off during the comic event “Civil War II,” seemingly due to the trailer for Captain America: Civil War showing his apparent death.
Another example was the company retconning the origin of another hero: Carol Danvers. That choice was likely due to the early belief that Annette Bening would be playing Carol's mother, and that Marvel Studios would drastically change the origin of her powers, no longer coming from an explosion but her being part-Kree on her mother's side.
So, it isn't definitive that just because Marvel Comics decided to rewrite the origin of America Chavez to be more grounded that it will match her film adaptation.
WHY CHANGE AMERICA CHAVEZ'S ORIGIN
Aside from synergy, one other reason that Marvel Comics may have decided to retcon America being from another dimension was due to her race. Technically speaking, before this, America wasn't actually Puerto Rican, since that isn't an actual ethnicity on the Utopian Parallel. This is not to mention that America wasn't even human.
For a time, America was merely coded as Latina without directly addressing it. However, writer Gabby Rivera decided to have that aspect of her character be more blatant to the point that Rivera had written America essentially appropriating Puerto Rican culture.
Her book acknowledges this by America calling herself a tourist and how she was “lifting language and culture” from the people she met. Regardless, the run itself wasn't well-received due to a multitude of other issues that plagued it, such as the dialogue, plot, and even the representation itself.
This recent retcon may be an overcorrection by Marvel Comics, resulting in America now being human and Puerto Rican. So, that's nice, but now it causes a whole slew of problems for fans of the comics since it blatantly contradicts several key parts of the character such as her relationship with Billy.
As an origin for the MCU, it isn't a huge problem, but for fans of the comics, it's another victim of corporate synergy that might not even end up matching what Marvel Studios has planned for the character.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is currently scheduled to release in theaters on March 5, 2022.