Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which will be released later this year, is a sequel that includes both second steps and fresh starts. The film will pick up where Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange and Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff left off, while also introducing fan favourites like Xochitl Gomez’s America Chavez.
America Chavez has been at the forefront of the Doctor Strange 2 advertising campaign since it began in December 2021, with the film’s principal cast. While Chavez is a newcomer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, she has appeared often in Marvel Comics over the last decade. Chavez has the unique ability to travel around the Multiverse with her star portals in the comics. Strange will have to “learn from a youngster” how to traverse the topic he knows terrifyingly little about, as director Sam Raimi previously said.
Marvel Studios is adapting more than just her superpowers directly from the page. The film will also include Chavez’s LGBTQIA+ lineage from the comics, which has caused controversy internationally. Despite worldwide pressure, Disney declined to delete sequences honouring Chavez’s “two mommies,” a choice that the movie’s main actor supports wholeheartedly.
Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, supported Disney’s decision to preserve an LGBTQIA+ sequence in the next Marvel Studios film. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia demanded that a “barely 12 second” scene in Doctor Strange 2 featuring Xochitl Gomez’s America Chavez “talking about her moms” be removed earlier this week.
Cumberbatch, speaking at the Multiverse of Madness press tour (via Reddit), termed Saudi Arabia’s request for an edit a “expected disappointment” that is also “out of step” with where the human species is now: “It is, I’m afraid, an expected disappointment. We’ve come to know from those repressive regimes that their lack of tolerance is exclusionary to people who deserve to be, not only included, but celebrated for who they are and made to feel part of a society and a culture and not punished for their sexuality. It feels truly out of step with everything that we’ve experienced as a species, let alone where we’re at globally more as a culture, but frankly it’s just even more reason why this isn’t tokenism to include an LGBTQ+ community member.”