In Ms. Marvel, Middle Eastern culture and religion are the superpowers
When Ms. Marvel hits Disney+ screens, it will be another one of Marvel Studios’ shows that focus on broadening their horizons with more diverse characters. In the case of lead character Kamala Khan aka Ms. Marvel herself, it will be her Pakistani culture and Muslim religion that take center stage.
“I wanted to greenlight it immediately,” said Marvel Studios leader Kevin Feige, who responded to a few reporters’ questions during the show’s virtual global press conference. “Every so often we come across a Marvel comic that introduces a new character that deserves to be on the screen. Kamala is one of them.”
Ms. Marvel began as a published Marvel comic eight years ago and featured Khan, a Pakistani American teen girl who ends up getting the powers of Captain Marvel. In the six-episode limited series for Disney+, Khan’s upbringing and teenage years are what showrunners wanted to carry the show.
“Kamala is pretty much me, without the superpowers of Captain Marvel,” said Iman Vellani who was casted the day she graduated high school. “However, I think it’s super to see her and her way of life as an Avengers fan make her who she is. Knowing that elevates the storytelling even more,” Vellani said.
Other actors on the show echoed Vellani and applauded showrunners Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah and head writer Bisha K. Ali, who worked with Feige to develop an authentic voice for Khan and the Pakistani world showcased in the show. “I think by doing this we’re making South Asian culture cooler so that anyone watching beyond a Muslim world can see themselves as well,” said Ali.
Added Saagar Shaikh who plays Kamala’s father Aamir, “I don’t think this series is shouting “watch me!” either. This is a Marvel story about Muslim culture and living and it fits perfectly since most if not all Marvel stories are about showing a new way of living in this world.”
Feige tagged on to that by saying that this is the new Marvel Studios that you’ll see in future projects moving forward. “When you see a Marvel Studios logo now, I hope it doesn’t promise a particular set of characters and worlds. Instead, I hope it brings up the promise of style, spirit, and emotion that can come from anywhere and anyone, including Kamala Khan.”