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Why Some Fans Are Disappointed With the Absence of America Chavez’s Lesbian Identity In ‘Dr. Strange 2’

America Chavez in Marvel Comics.

This post contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Now that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is out in theaters, we’ve finally met the MCU’s version of America Chavez! But how does the onscreen America compare to her original counterpart from the comics? More specifically, does the movie do justice to her identity as a lesbian?

In the movie, America is a young girl who’s being hunted across the multiverse for her power to punch portals into other realities. She teams up with Stephen, who takes her under his wing as a mentee in the mystic arts, while they try to stop Wanda Maximoff from getting to America—and destroying everything in her path. America starts off as brave and capable, but unable to control her powers. By the film’s climax, she learns how to wield her strength, and create portals at will, but in terms of the superhero life, she’s still very much a beginner.

In the original comics, America Chavez (A.K.A. Ms. America) is much different. She’s a confident badass with super strength and the ability to fly (in addition to her trademark star-shaped multiversal portals). Also, she’s explicitly written as a lesbian woman.

The Young Avengers

The first time America’s queer identity is confirmed is in Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Young Avengers. In the final scene of the final issue, the team is spending New Year’s musing about their relationships and sexual identities. When asked about her relationship with Ultimate Nullifier, America says that she doesn’t want to be a stereotype, but she was just experimenting by going out with a boy. Kate Bishop, realizing that all the other Young Avengers are queer, asks if she’s the only one on the team who’s straight. America smiles at her and says, “Princess. I’ve seen the way you look at me. You’re not that straight.” Although America isn’t one of the characters who gets a love interest on the page, Young Avengers is unapologetic in its celebration of queer relationships, and America’s comments in the New Year’s scene leave no room for doubt about her identity.

America Volume 1: The Life and Times of America Chavez

America’s identity is cemented even further in America Volume 1: The Life and Times of America Chavez by Gabby Rivera and Joe Quinones. In this story, America is dating a paramedic named Lisa Halloran. They go through a messy breakup when America goes off to college at Sotomayor University, and Lisa realizes that they’re on different paths in life. However, throughout the story, America is plagued by anger and grief over the way things ended. Eventually, she finds out that Lisa has been kidnapped and goes to rescue her. The story isn’t coy about America and Lisa’s relationship. It’s presented as straightforwardly as any straight relationship would be. Just to make absolutely sure the reader isn’t confused about what’s going on, there’s even a big rainbow flag outside of Lisa’s door. It’s clear that Rivera and Quinones want America’s queer representation to be as clear as possible.

America Chavez running Dr. Strange 2

America in Doctor Strange 2

So is America queer in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?

The short answer is that we have no idea. There’s no romantic arc for America like there is for Stephen, and the subject doesn’t come up in conversation at any point in the story, so there’s no evidence either way. This was startling for a lot of viewers because interviews before the movie came out made it sound as if America’s queer identity was going to be explicit in the movie.

It’s worth noting, of course, that the movie does preserve the core of America’s backstory. In the comics, America is raised by two moms in an interdimensional plane called the Utopian Parallel. When the Utopian Parallel is endangered by black holes threatening to pull it into the multiverse, America’s moms sacrifice themselves to save it. (America’s history is actually a little more complicated than that, but that’s all you need to know for now.) In the movie, America’s moms are sucked through a portal that America accidentally creates when she’s startled by a bee, but the movie still makes it clear that America is raised in a queer family. (If you heard about the movie being banned in Egypt and Saudi Arabia because of twelve seconds of footage, those twelve seconds are America’s flashback to her moms’ disappearance.) Seeing America’s moms is gratifying—and knowing that they’re most likely alive somewhere out in the multiverse is really exciting—but we don’t get any clues about her own sexuality. Why?

One possibility is the movie’s reduced runtime. Doctor Strange 2 was originally supposed to be around two hours and forty minutes long, but its length was eventually cut to a little over two hours. It’s possible that within that thirty-five-ish minutes of cut footage, America’s sexuality came up somehow. Or maybe it’s a half hour of jump scares and reanimated corpses. Who knows? We’ll likely see at least a couple of deleted scenes when the movie comes out on streaming later this year.

Another possibility is that more of America’s character will come out in later projects. It seems pretty clear at this point that Marvel is assembling a Young Avengers team for the MCU, with America, Wiccan, Speed, Kid Loki, and Kate Bishop already having made their MCU debuts. Since America is still very young in Doctor Strange 2, she has plenty of time to grow into her comics counterpart. Remember that when America dates Lisa in the comics, she’s in college. Also, Loki didn’t come out as bisexual until after he’d been in six movies—which, yes, was way too long to wait, but it did eventually happen. We’ll also hopefully get to see Valkyrie choose her queen in Thor 4 when it comes out this July.

This is all speculation, of course. I hope that Marvel brings America’s lesbian identity to the forefront sooner rather than later—since it’s frustrating to see such an integral part of America’s character erased from the screen. Leaving that aspect of her character out of the MCU wouldn’t just be a missed opportunity for representation on screen—it would be a slap in the face to the America that comics fans love.

(featured image: Marvel)

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Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at