Marvel has cast its first ever on-screen Muslim superhero for an upcoming Disney+ series. Iman Vellani, 18, will play Kamala Khan, who goes by the pseudonym Ms. Marvel, in the groundbreaking TV show, and Marvel bosses are reportedly planning to feature her in future films.
The character is a 16-year-old Pakistani American from New Jersey with shapeshifting powers and was Marvel’s first Muslim character to headline her own comic book.
What a joy in these trying times to see that #MsMarvel (a Pakistani American teen superhero!) has cast its lead role, a young actress named Iman Vellani! Congrats to you! I can’t wait to see the show! ❤️❤️❤️❤️#RepresentationMatters
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) September 30, 2020
Marvel and the streamer recently named Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Meera Menon as directors on the project.
Read More: Oscar-winning Pakistani director Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy to helm Marvel project
The Ms. Marvel team
Ms. Marvel hails from writer Bisha K. Ali and centers on Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American teen based in New Jersey. Ms. Marvel first appeared in 2014 as Marvel’s first Muslim character to star in her own title, and she will become Marvel Studios’ first onscreen Muslim hero. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige has said that in addition to appearing on the small screen, Kamala Khan will be included in future Marvel films.
Marvel and Disney+ have been hard at work setting up their development slate in recent weeks by not only setting Tatiana Maslany to lead its She-Hulk but also giving Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury character his own series. The studio also announced that WandaVision would be the first show to premiere on the streamer later this year.
Although this marks Vellani’s first major Hollywood production, she already has made tries to help diversify the industry. At the 2019 Toronto Film Festival, she was part of the Next Wave Committee, which was tasked with adding a special tag to films — already programmed into other categories — which they believed would resonate with their peers.
Brie Larson has expressed interest in starring alongside Iman Vellani
There’s no word on plot details though the show will likely draw from the work of her creators: editors Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker, writer G. Willow Wilson, and artists Adrian Alphona and Jamie McKelvie. Kamala first appeared in a Captain Marvel comic book in 2013 before taking over the mantle of Ms. Marvel in early 2014.
Captain Marvel star Brie Larson has previously expressed her interest in starring alongside Kamala Khan in a potential film sequel. That could very well happen as Captain Marvel 2 is slated for a July 2022 release date.
The Disney+ series will be the first live-action appearance for Kamala Khan. She was most recently part of the Marvel’s Avengers game, where she was voiced by Sandra Saad.