One fan-favorite character making their Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is America Chavez. Of course, the character's introduction is not without backlash from toxic fans.
In a press conference attended by CBR, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was asked about making it clear in the film that America has queer parents. Feige felt that the inclusion of an openly LGBTQ+ couple not only better reflected the MCU lining up with the real world but matched the background of the comic book character created by Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta. Feige clarified that, just as with any character, America is not defined entirely by her or her parents' sexual orientation in the film.
"We always say that these films represent the world as it is and the world outside your window, as they used to say in publishing," Feige explained. "That aspect of America's character is from the comics, so we always want to adapt them as well and as truthfully as we can. I think when people see the movie, much like in life, it is not any one thing that defines any one character."
The inclusion of an openly queer character in The Multiverse of Madness led the film to be banned from receiving a wide theatrical release in several countries. In response, actor Xochitl Gomez endured online harassment from toxic fans, with vitriolic comments left on her social media posts.
According to Feige, America's main struggle in the Doctor Strange sequel isn't reconciling with her sexual identity but her journey through the multiverse. However, Feige is clear that America being a queer character is a crucial part of the character's identity, making its inclusion in the MCU a no-brainer.
"She's a 14-year-old girl figuring out this very traumatic element of her life, which is not the LGBT issue. It is the fact that she keeps being tossed around the multiverse multiple times and being truthful to that and showcasing that," Feige continued. "[America and her parents being LGBTQ+ characters are] not what the movie is about, but it is an important part of the character she becomes in the comics, so we wanted to touch up on that."
Directed by Sam Raimi, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens in theaters May 6.