With Kamala’s stories leaping from the comic book page to the screen, Disney +’s Ms. Marvel is set to introduce the Marvel Cinematic Universe to its first Muslim superhero. The Pakistani-American hero, Ms. Marvel, is a 16-year-old New Jersey girl doing her best to balance high school, family, and emerging superpowers. Marvel Studios recently released the first trailer for Ms. Marvel on Disney +, giving fans the most comprehensive look at the character’s live-action powers yet.
Kamala Khan is the second person to use the Ms. Marvel moniker in the comics, with her idol, Carol Danvers, formerly using the name (hence her obsession with the hero in the trailer). Kamala first appeared in the background of a scene in 2013’s Captain Marvel # 14with a more prominent unnamed cameo in Captain Marvel # 17. Soon, the character broke barriers by becoming Marvel Comics’ first Muslim hero to star in a solo title, Ms. Marvel # 1. Kamala copes with everyday struggles in the comics using fan fiction to create parasocial connections to the heroes she idolizes.
With Marvel and Disney + ramping up their advertising campaigns for Ms. Marvel recently, debuting the first full trailer in March 2022, and another recent TV spot titled “Fantasy” that included some new footagenow seemed like the perfect time to go over what we know about the upcoming Disney + series about the girl from New Jersey who goes cosmic: Ms. Marvel.
Plot: All We Know
Ms. Marvel introduces Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American teen from New Jersey. An avid gamer, great student, aspiring artist, and ferocious fan fictionist, the Disney + synopsis describes Kamala as a “superhero mega-fan with an oversized imagination – particularly when it comes to Captain Marvel.” But despite these achievements, she “feels invisible both at home and at school.” Speaking about the Marvel Comics’ Ms. Marvel series, editor Sana Amanat told CBS News in 2016, “We wanted to tell a story about a young individual coming into their own and dealing with all of the obstacles that come with that journey to adulthood.”
Unlike Earth-1218’s population, Kamala’s fan fiction becomes a reality, and she gains superpowers similar to her heroes. Still struggling to find a place in the world, the synopsis also asks, “Life gets better with superpowers, right?” Judging from the comics and the casting of two major stars as Kamala’s parents, the young hero will likely face conflicts with her family and their expectations of her while also being unable to reveal her identity to them. Additionally, Zoe Zimmer’s appearance in the series indicates Kamala will have to deal with the stress of other students making offensive comments about her background.
The highly anticipated Disney + series serves as Ms. Marvel’s MCU origin story, which seems to end in Kamala donning her familiar superhero suit. The onscreen Ms. Marvel superhero outfit appears to be a homage to the comic book version of the young hero’s super suit – consider the variant cover for 2014’s Ms. Marvel # 1 by Jamie Mckelvie that looks very similar to Vellani’s blue-and-red metallic outfit spotted during Ms. Marvel’s reshoots. Kamala is wearing a long, navy blue torso pullover (an overblouse that fits snugly through the waist and extends to the hips) with the hero’s signature golden lightning bolt logo across the front of the garment. Paired with Khan’s torso is a matching mask to hide her identity, a red scarf tied around her neck (in the comics, it’s a nod to the original Captain Marvel design), and golden wristbands!
Marvel Studios has decided to make a significant change to Ms. Marvel’s powers for the Disney + series, although the origin of her powers will still be based on Kree technology. In the comics, Ms. Marvel gains her powers from her Inhuman genes (remember, these genes are related to the Kree, even in the MCU), giving her the ability to “embiggen,” which manifests as shape-shifting and mass manipulation to increase strength. However, in the Disney + series, Kamala’s powers come from Nega-Bands, ancient Kree relics with the ability to convert psychic energy into physical energy. The Nega-Bands are Omega Class Weapons, putting them on par with Thor’s hammer Mjolnir and possibly the Cosmic Cube. They grant the wearer powers of energy manipulation and super strength. In the comics, Captain Mar-Vell was the first to wear them but chose to get rid of them, and eventually, one of the bands was re-purposed into wedding bands by Hulkling for him and his husband Wiccan.
Did the MCU’s Captain Mar-Vell (Annette Bening) also choose to give away the Nega-Bands? Who did she give them to? Could it be Kamala’s parents if they worked with Mar-Vell at the Air Force Base? Finding this particular Omega Class Weapon in a New Jersey attic presents many questions. Still, it also offers several potential storylines for Marvel Studios to pursue after Kamala discovers them: plus, when she puts the Nega-Bands on, she gets similar powers to Captain Marvel, connecting her to her hero and role model.
Ms. Marvel’s Entire Cast
Cast in the title role of Ms. Marvel is Iman Vellani. “The fact that the show is being made, and they’re including this character in the MCU is [what’s important]”Vellani told Variety in August 2021. “I do not really have to go out of my way and talk about being a Muslim and being Pakistani – it all comes out in the show. People seeing a person like me involved in a project as big as this is “I think, inspiring enough.”
Kamala’s best friend is Bruno Carrelli and is played by Matt Lintz. Bruno is one of the few people to know Khan’s secret identity in the comics. Yasmeen Fletcher is playing Kamala’s other best friend, Nakia Bahadir. The actress has confirmed the studio is sticking to the comic book and having Nakia wear a hijab in the series. Laurel Marsden is probably playing mean girl Zoe Zimmer, introduced in 2014’s Ms. Marvel # 1 by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, Ian Herring, Joe Caramagna, Sara Pichelli, and Justin Ponsor, who has a tenuous relationship with Kamala. In that first issue, Zoe is presented as the “cool kid” that Kamala seems to look up to, but that does not stop Zoe from saying offensive things before reevaluating her life. Zoe is also a lesbian (at least in the comics).
Rounding out the large Ms. Marvel cast is Rish Shah as Kamran, an apparent love interest, and Aramis Knight as Kareem, a character who may adopt the moniker of Red Dagger, a crime-fighting character with familial connections to the Khans. Speaking of Kamala’s family, Mohan Kapur plays Yusuf Khan, Kamala’s father, and Zenobia Shroff stars as Muneeba Khan, Kamala’s mom. Playing her older brother Aamir Khan is Saagar Shaikh, and her sister-in-law Tyesha Hillman is Travina Springer. Appearing as Kamala’s religious mentor is Laith Nakli.
As late as only a few weeks ago, on March 14th, Deadline announced another new cast member had joined the series, Anjali Bhimani (Marvel’s Runaways), in a recurring role. The cast also includes Azhar Usman and Nimra Bucha in undisclosed roles.
The Release Date
Ms. Marvel is scheduled to premiere exclusively on Disney + on June 8, 2022, and will consist of six episodes.
Everything Else We Know
Bisha K. Ali is the head writer and a veteran of Sex Education and Loki. Directing Ms. Marvel are Bad Boys for Life’s Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who reportedly worked on the first and last episodes, and The Walking Dead‘s Meera Menon. However, the two-time Oscar documentary short-winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy directs most of Ms. Marvel ‘s episodes. Ms. Marvel is the first MCU project to receive a TV-PG rating.
Marvel hopes to duplicate the success of Ms. Marvel’s debut comic series’ unprecedented seven printings with the Disney + series. Marvel Studios and Disney are eager to court mega fans like Kamala, and Marvel boss Kevin Feige has already said the character will return for 2023’s The Marvelsalongside Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris).
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