When this year’s Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness hit cinemas, it introduced a bewildering amount of novelties to the MCU canon. America Chavez, a protagonist with a very unusual comedic status quo that had many people wondering how it would be artfully adapted to film, made her debut live-action appearance in the film.
America’s association with the LGBTQ+ community was implicitly acknowledged using a Pride flag lapel badge and the words ‘el Amor es Amor’ (“Love is Love” in Spanish).
Speaking to Inverse, Graham Churchyard, who designed America Chavez’s outfit for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, explained why she wore a Progress pin on her jacket.
In the interview, Churchyard said that Richie Palmer, a production assistant at the time, had suggested adding the brooch to her outfit, calling it a subtle start to America Chavez’s queer in subsequent films and television shows:
“In the first script, there was no comment about where she’s going in the MCU. I think we did a kind of subtle start to it, [production assistant] Richie Palmer said to me, ‘Yeah, do it put it on.’ It allows enough to be shown where the character is going in the MCU.”
Other understated aspects of America’s getup that Churchyard drew attention to include:
“I was tempted to give her a different personality like she’d have a heavy metal t-shirt of a band she’d seen in the multiverse. But Sam [Raimi] found that distracting. So I took the detail to a very subtle level. The jacket’s covered in Spanish poetry and some Portuguese witchcraft.”
Sure enough, if Marvel Studios wants to do America Chavez justice in the MCU, they’ll have to come out and say she’s a lesbian. Despite efforts behind the scenes, LGBTQIA+ characters are still underrepresented in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This circumstance reminds me of another recent Marvel Cinematic Universe case in which a protagonist’s sexual preference was glossed over in favor of moving the story forward. In the film, Tessa Thompson plays Valkyrie, a character who identifies as bisexual.
However, the lack of strong queer characters in the MCU raises the question of whether or not the studio should be more outspoken and forceful on this issue. As of this writing, Xochitl Gomez’s America Chavez has only appeared in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is now available on Disney+. It is only a matter of time before America Chavez’s queer path is further explored in the MCU.