A brand new character just joined the MCU, and America Chavez is here to stay.
Played by 16-year-old Xochitl Gomez, America is presented as a fresh-faced 14-year-old hero who is still in the process of discovering her powers. Her age in the MCU, which puts her several years younger than her comic book counterpart, leaves plenty of room for the on-screen version of America to change and grow. She seems poised to be a mainstay in future Marvel releases, utilizing her patriotic powers for the good of the multiverse.
Many of America’s comic book powers have yet to make an appearance in the MCU, leaving longtime fans of the character confused. Will the MCU’s America share a power profile with her comic book version, or will Marvel change up her powers like they did with Kamala Khan’s?
Who is America Chavez?
As has become expected of the MCU, America’s on-screen backstory differs somewhat from what fans know from comics. In the MCU, she’s a bit younger — as noted above — but she wears a similar costume and seems to have a similar power array. Her backstory was only hinted at in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and will likely be fleshed out in a future film or Disney Plus series, but viewers did get a taste of where America came from.
In Marvel comics, America hails from the Utopian Parallel, a space that exists outside of time. The entire dimension is inhabited by women and was created by the Demiurge — a version of one of the most important characters in Multiverse of Madness. America seems to hail from the same place in the MCU, with a Marvel.com article noting that she is from “the Utopian Parallel, a singular dimension unlike anything we’ve ever known.”
The remainder of America’s backstory — the bits we got in Multiverse of Madness, at least — all seem to deviate from her comics background. In comics, America’s mothers sacrificed themselves to keep the Utopian Parallel safe, losing their lives in the process. In the MCU, her mothers were lost in the multiverse after a spooked America accidentally sucked them through a portal. It’s hinted that they may still be alive, though their location is currently unknown.
America spent the time between that fateful day and her introduction in Multiverse of Madness traversing the multiverse and seeking to gain control of her abilities. She notes that she has traveled through 72 universes by the time she meets Earth-616’s Doctor Strange.
Some of these details may have been fabricated by America, however, if her character shares much in common with its comic book counterpart. In the comics, America concocts much of the Utopian Parallel story, at least according to a character she faces off against in later issues. If the character isn’t lying — which they very well may be — America never hailed from the Utopian Parallel at all, instead gaining her powers through experimentation in a high-tech medical facility.
How did America get her powers?
Like many of Marvel’s young heroes, America’s powers just sort of manifested one day. Maybe. The recent storyline throwing America’s origin story into question muddies the issue and requires two different possibilities to be examined.
If America’s established origin story is true, her powers appeared when she was young and manifested naturally. Similar to characters like the X-Men, her powers were always a part of America, and simply appeared when she reached a certain age — or a certain level of stress.
If America is lying about her backstory, however, her powers may be the result of experimentation at a specialized medical facility. If this story is the real one, then her powers may not last forever and her little sister may appear at some point to blow a hole in America’s story about where she comes from.
In the MCU, it’s hard to say which version of events the creators are leaning into. The Marvel interview from late April claims that America comes from the Utopian Parallel, however, so — for now, at least — we’ll assume that America’s OG story is being embraced by the MCU.
With this in mind, it seems fair to assume that America’s powers manifested naturally when she was a young girl. The scene from Multiverse of Madness in which America is spooked by a bee and accidentally opens a portal likely presents the emergence of her powers as well. She has yet to discover all of them, with the MCU’s America relying almost exclusively on her portal-punching abilities in Multiverse of Madness, but the future will almost certainly see her gradually discover just how powerful she truly is.