This Wednesday brings the small-screen debut of one of Marvel’s most hotly anticipated characters, Kamala Khan. The debut of Ms. Marvel will see the MCU’s first Muslim superhero take centre stage in a six-episode season that promises to impress fans old and new.
Over the Platinum Jubilee weekend we got the chance to join in a global press conference with the cast, writers and directors from the show. We heard how star Iman Vellani agonised over decisions between acting and school, how Matt Lintz was welcomed in to the series’ Muslim community and how Marvel allowed the series’ directors to craft its unique visual style.
In part one of our coverage we look ahead to the series and hear how all the pieces fell in to place to bring Ms. Marvel to the screen…
Ms. Marvel creator Sana Amanat on bringing the comic book to life
This is all very, very trippy. I mean, when [G. Willow Wilson] and I were crafting a comic about eight years ago we joked about how we were not going to get past issue nine. But lo and behold, Kevin Feige cared, which is amazing. And of course, the rest of the world. The comic did really well. We had incredible runs. I think what I love about it the most is that it had people from different backgrounds, people who never really read comics before showing up in comic shops for the first time because of what this meant, and and what it stood for. And I think that is really sort of the merits of the success of this series. A few years later Kevin let us know that he wanted to make this into a show. I was thrilled. I also feel like it’s kind of perfect for a live action series.
Iman Vellani on landing the role of Kamala Khan
February 2020. I get the WhatsApp [casting call] from my aunt. I thought it was a scam. I don’t know what casting calls look like. But they are not white pages that say Ms. Marvel. I sent in a very academic resume, the one photo I had of myself and they sent back the sides for the self tape. I knew exactly which comic books they pulled them from. I was like “okay, this is real. I can’t do it.” I was making excuses for myself out of fear of failure. Two days later, I get a call, they’re like “do you have a lawyer, we want to fly you to LA” and I have a math test! The next wee, I’m in LA with my dad. It was like, the greatest trip of my life and I was fangirling. I wanted to take full advantage of being in that room because I didn’t know if it was gonna happen again. Then pandemic hit and they sent me one email and they’re like, “look you’re very much in the running. We just got to figure some stuff out on our side.” Then in June 2020 I sent in my last self tape and then we did a screen test over Zoom. Then I got casted.
Bisha K. Ali on the differences between comics and the series
I think it was an incredible process. [It felt like] such a gift that Sana was involved in this project. Having someone around that really felt like, okay, there are borderlines, and how can we stay true to the character that’s in the comic book and still add something new. Every single person involved in this project loves [the character] deeply from their hearts. And I think we’re all committed to that love. I didn’t rock up and say, “Hey Kevin, I know, let’s throw out the powers”. That was not my first pitch by any means and that was really a great decision talking through how she’s going to exist in the MCU. How she’s going to fit into this web of storytelling that Marvel Studios has done through live action over the last decade. Putting all those pieces together while staying true to that beautiful, incredible character was fun.
Come back tomorrow for even more coverage from the press conference as well as our review of the series’ first two episodes.
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