With theatrical projects delayed, Marvel Studios is pushing ahead with original programming, and has cast newcoming actress Iman Vellani in the title role of Ms. Marvel, one of several upcoming Disney+ series.
Deadline Hollywood reports that Vellani, a Markham native, was chosen to play the teenaged superhero after a long search for the right actress. Vellani will play Kamala Khan, a sixteen-year-old Muslim American from New Jersey, with the Inhuman power of polymorphism. This will make her Marvel Studios’ first Muslim superhero on-screen.
The streaming series is created by Bisha K. Ali, whose previous writing credits include Sex Education and Hulu’s Four Weddings and a Funeral. Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys For Life), Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, and Meera Menon (The Walking Dead, Titans) have been named as directors.
Already, Marvel is staying close to the character’s roots by naming an Asian cast and creative team, which should bode well for Kamala’s authenticity and heart. (Mindy Kaling, Riz Ahmed, and Kumail Nanjiani were previously suggested to be in talks with Marvel regarding the screenplay, but no official word has been made regarding their involvement.)
The news will big implications for the future of the multimedia franchise, as well as Vellani’s budding career. Speaking at D23 Expo last August, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige mentioned that Ms. Marvel would cross into MCU feature films down the line as well.
Kamala Khan was introduced to Marvel Comics in 2014, when Carol Danvers abandoned the title to become Captain Marvel. Khan is inspired by Danvers to use her Inhuman powers and goes on to serve on various Avengers teams. She has since appeared in a variety of media, most recently including Square-Enix’s Avengers video game, where she was voiced by Sandra Saad.
Ms. Marvel will likely arrive in 2022, following WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki. Vellani will be the third Canadian to headline a Phase 4 MCU property, following Tatiana Maslany in She-Hulk (also on Disney+) and Simu Liu in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, due for theatres in 2021.