Xochitl Gomez is shaking up the Marvel Cinematic Universe with her debut as LGBTQ+ Latina superhero America Chavez in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, bringing with her the representation someone like Marvel’s Victoria Alonso would’ve relished seeing while growing up.
“What it would’ve meant is to have had a tad more understanding of the person that I was and that I was growing into being was not invisible,” Marvel exec and Doctor Strange 2 EP Alonso, who shares a 9-year-old daughter with designer wife Imelda Corcoran, told Deadline at the film’s premiere Monday night in Hollywood.
“I think visibility at any age is incredibly important whether you’re 10, 20, 30 or 80,” she continued. “To have your people and to have someone who says, ‘I am, and it’s OK. I am, and I am powerful. I am, and I belong.’ I think any young adult could have that today, [specifically] the 42 percent of LGBTQIA adults that consider suicide or those that do it, would probably think twice that maybe they’re OK [as they are]. My hope today is that—as a small gift from a bunch of filmmakers that want to tell great stories—if there are any kids out there thinking even minimally that their lives are not worth it, I can honestly tell you their lives are worth it and we will celebrate it with them.”
Alonso also addressed the recently announced ban of Doctor Strange 2 in Saudi Arabia due to a scene in the film that shows America’s two moms.
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“I understand that certain lands have certain rules and I live in a land where our rules are that of inclusion,” she shared. “And we will continue to fight for inclusion in every place, city, and state so that every kid that doesn’t see themselves can at least see a tiny little bit of who they can become.”
Gomez said she is proud of what America will mean to Latinas, who are often depicted in media stereotypically. In this case, she becomes the first LGBTQ+ Latina superhero in the MCU.
“It’s huge that I get to represent these communities that maybe haven’t felt seen before,” she said. “And you really do see her—I mean, how do you miss her? She’s on the poster! How crazy is that?”
She called America “a positive representation of Latinas in particular because, in the past, there hasn’t been much of that. America is positive, charismatic, and she’s resilient.”
Also joining the MCU in Doctor Strange 2 is Sheila Atim, who brings to life the character of Sara, an associate of Wong’s (Benedict Wong) at Kamar-Taj.
“I love seeing all the diversity and I hope to see even more of it,” said Atim, a Uganda-born British actress. “The importance of representation can’t be underestimated. I think sometimes as adults we forget what it was like as children seeing people who resembled us. We can still feel the same thing as adults. And we’re talking particularly about universes and multiverses. If there’s ever a time to get as broad as you can, it’s now.”
“I think about my childhood and my experience with cinema and I was always drawn to people who looked like me,” she added. “It’s just a very natural thing and it can inform you on who and what you can be or want to be. It would’ve meant a lot to me to have seen someone like Sara on screen, so now I can channel all those feelings into being that for other people.”
Marvel casting director Sarah Finn walked the red carpet Monday with her diverse team of associates celebrating the hard work they’ve invested behind the scenes to bring true representation to projects like Doctor Strange 2, which hits theaters beginning Thursday night.
“It’s been an exciting couple of years. We’ve seen the MCU change dramatically and changes are only starting to come out now,” she said. “Representation is very important, we take it very seriously. And think you’re going to see a huge expansion.”
And as the universe continues to expand, could America fans expect a stand-alone film one day? Never say never.
“I’m not only hoping [for that] but I’m cheering,” Alonso said. “All in due time. The MCU is this phenomenal tapestry of stories. So whenever the MCU finds its way, she will be there.”
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