Marvel Studios’ Victoria Alonso on Superheroes, Multiverses and Movies
Xochitl Gomez, left, and Marvel Studios president of production Victoria Alonso appear at the premiere of ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ in Los Angeles on December 13, 2021. Alonso began co-producing ‘Iron Man”. His 25 Marvel movies have grossed $23 billion. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
For more than 20 years, acclaimed Argentine filmmaker Victoria Alonso has helped steer Marvel’s cinematic juggernaut to ever-increasing heights of success. With the recent release of the “Doctor Strange” sequel, she has another hit and is fulfilling a dream of debuting a superhero she’s wanted to see on screen since she started at Marvel Studios.
Alonso got his start at Marvel in 2006 co-producing “Iron Man,” the studio’s first film, which was released two years later. Since then, she’s become one of Hollywood’s most powerful executives, and her 25 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, including the recent blockbuster “Spider-Man,” have grossed $23 billion at the global box office.
Adding to the list is ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ with Benedict Cumberbatch – which continues to explore the notion of multiple realities and interconnected histories, in this case from ‘WandaVision’ and ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home”. The film also introduced moviegoers for the first time to a young Latino superhero, America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez.
Alonso, who was promoted to president of physical and post-production, visual effects and animation production at Marvel Studios last year, recently spoke to The Associated Press in Miami about multiverses, super- hero, his work and the future of cinema.
Notes have been edited for brevity and clarity.
AP: If the possibilities for superhero movies seemed endless, the multiverse takes that to another level. How far do you think the Marvel Cinematic Universe can go?
ALONSO: For me, there are no limits. We have I think 6,000 characters in our library, so now that we’ve opened the gate to the multiverse and the gate to madness (laughs), no one can stop us!
AP: The mix of universes in the latest “Spider-Man” was thrilling to audiences, especially the inclusion of several actors who played the hero (Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire). What can you tell us about the “Doctor Strange” multiverse?
ALONSO: Well, I think it’s a different movie in that regard. Spider-Man is Spider-Man, and the meeting was very exciting because the generations of people who have seen one, the other and the third (actors), being able to see them together seems to have been a great dream for many. Having Doctor Strange as part of this film also seemed like a great addition. To be able to have her in her own film again, with the characters from her original story and also with Wanda Maximoff and the introduction of America Chavez, it’s a great opportunity to be able to take them to another place, a place where we didn’t go there.
AP: Speaking of America Chavez, what does it mean to you to have a Latinx superhero?
ALONSO: America Chavez is one of the characters I’ve been waiting for since I started working at Marvel Studios, and I’ve been waiting for her with great desire and impatience to start telling her story. As you know, sometimes these characters have a minor role in a movie, and then they grow up, have their own movie or streaming show, like we did with Moon Knight. To be able to have him in our MCU is an honor.
AP: In terms of the multiverse and connecting the stories, what was the hardest part of the new “Doctor Strange”?
ALONSO: The most complicated part is to tell you about a character that you have already seen in the last decade, that you know; to be able to tell another side of who Doctor Strange is and what we can learn from him. It’s like when you meet a person and you’re captivated by that person, you want to know more about that person, that’s how friendship grows. In this case, it seems to me that the fans want to know something else about our characters, and I can assure that this film has something different.
AP: Some media have called you “the most powerful woman in Hollywood.” Do you feel like the most powerful woman in Hollywood?
ALONSO: Honestly, no. What I feel is that I have to keep working, that there is a lot to do. I appreciate titles, I think that’s important to young women around the world who feel connected in some way, who look at my career or look at me and say, “Well, if that happened to her , it could happen tome.” But besides that, for me, it continues to be a question of daily work, of strength, of dedication.
AP: What do you like the most about your job right now?
ALONSO: Everything! Absolutely everything. I like difficult things, stressful things. Discovering a character, being able to stage a story that didn’t exist, seeing how we grow as a group of people, being able to see that our characters can maybe help people in some way or other. another, whether a little or a lot. The fact that the world, on a global level, has opened its arms, its homes, its theaters to us. It is a privilege for me, and as long as they let me do this work, I will be very grateful to them.
AP: Superhero movies are among the few productions that have managed to bring audiences back to theaters since the pandemic shutdowns. With the increased consumption of streaming, how do you see the future of cinema?
ALONSO: I hope cinema is alive and well. For us, it is very important to be able to see our stories in community. We’ve been supporting cinema through all of this, and while we’re producing a lot for Disney+, we’ll continue to produce our three or four films a year COVID permitting, and we can take care of the logistics. We continue to fight every day, and we hope that, little by little, with the protocols established and the fears dissipating a little more, people will return to the rooms and we can support art in community.
Marvel Studios President of Production Victoria Alonso, left, and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, right, winners of the Hollywood Blockbuster Award for ‘Avengers: Endgame,’ pose with presenter Mark Ruffalo in Hollywood 2019 Film Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. ( Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange in a scene from “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”. (Marvel Studios via AP)
Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, Benedict Wong as Wong, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange in a scene from “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” (Marvel Studios via AP)
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in a scene from “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”. (Marvel Studios via AP)