Marvel Star Says New Series Is ‘Just The Start’ For Muslim Representation
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Featured Image Credit: Alamy/ Disney+
The star of the upcoming Disney+ series Ms. Marvel is making history by portraying the MCU’s first Muslim superhero – a Pakistani-American teen called Kamala Khan – and she says the show is ‘just the start’ for representation within the genre.
Marvel’s superhero empire shows no signs of slowing as Phase Four continues to produce audience hits, from movies such as Spider-Man: No Way Home to TV shows like WandaVision.
But what’s exciting about Ms. Marvel is that we get to meet an entirely new character, one who will be instantly adored by the Marvel fandom. Why? Because she’s a member herself. You can watch the trailer below:
The series centres on Kamala - a New Jersey-based Marvel lover who feels like she doesn’t fit in at school and sometimes even at home. But this all changes when she discovers her own superpowers similar to the heroes she’s looked up to, and soon enough we’re introduced to her shapeshifting alter-ego Ms. Marvel.
And if that weren’t meta enough, the actor taking on the lead role is 19-year-old Pakistan-born Canadian Iman Vellani, who herself is a big supporter of the superhero universe.
The MCU newcomer sat down with Tyla ahead of Ms. Marvel’s release to talk about what it’s like to step into such a significant role for the MCU and what the show means for the superhero genre moving forward.
Speaking on the portrayal of Kamala’s Muslim and Pakistani heritage in the show, Iman tells Tyla: “This is definitely just the start.
“This one TV show can not possibly represent the two billion Muslims and South Asians that there are in the world, and so I hope that the show opens doors for more South Asian voices in the industry and inspires them to tell their stories.”
Describing this as ‘such an important job’, she adds: “People need to feel represented because they feel less lonely and I know the comics did that for me, so I just hope the show can do that in some capacity.”
As for what makes Ms. Marvel standout from other MCU properties, Iman highlights the smart use of fan culture integrated into the storyline.
“We really used that to elevate our storytelling in a really unique way and Kamala herself, yes she’s this teenager with problems and she has superpowers, but she’s also a fan of all the other superheroes within the Marvel canon,” she says.
“That excitement and love for the Avengers is so shared with real life Marvel fans.
“Speaking as a fan myself, I definitely relate to Kamala on a very spiritual level almost. You know, the way she spends all night making her cosplays and fanart and fanfic, it’s so much work to be part of this fandom and we really encourage it and appreciate all the fans.”
Ms. Marvel will be available to stream on Disney+ from June 8.