Ms. Marvel Character's Casting Complete

Image Credit: TIFF, Marvel Studios

Marvel has finally found their Ms. Marvel! Fresh face Iman Vellani is set to star as Kamala Khan in the upcoming Ms. Marvel Disney+ series.

The live-action series was announced via The Hollywood Reporter August 2019. The Ms. Marvel series was featured in an announcement of superhero shows for the then-upcoming Disney+ streaming platform. Other shows announced included She-Hulk and Moon Knight.

At the time of the original announcement, Disney+ had not started. The only thing confirmed was that British comedian and writer Bisha K. Ali was hired to write and function as a showrunner. At the time of the announcement, she worked as a staff writer on Hulu’s remake of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

To give an idea of just how long and arduous the casting of Ms. Marvel has been for Marvel and Disney, the casting of Tatiana Maslany as She-Hulk/Jennifer Walters was confirmed last month. There has not been any announcement yet for who will portray Moon Knight/Marc Spector.

Kevin Feige has previously stated that all three will be integrated into the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe. He has also said that there are plans to integrate Ms. Marvel into the film segment of the franchise as well. Ms. Marvel is not the first lead Asian to be cast by Marvel Studios; Simu Liu was announced as Shang-Chi at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. Ms. Marvel is, however, the first Muslim character to be showcased.

About Iman Vellani

Iman Vellani was tapped by Marvel Studios to star in the series featuring Ms. Marvel. Marvel Studios named Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, and Meera Menon as directors for the series.

Kamela Khan made her debut in August 2013's Captain Marvel #14. This version of Ms. Marvel is a Pakistani-American teenager. Sixteen-year-old Kamala and her family live in present-day New Jersey. Kamala is Marvel’s first Muslim American character to have their own title series. With this show, she will now become the studio’s first Muslim hero onscreen as well.

Have you never heard of Iman Vellani? Neither have I, though I would venture a guess that most have not. That is what Marvel does best. They have done well with discovering new talent. With the announcement of Vellani as the choice, Marvel Studios has corrected some earlier missteps in casting choices. They went so far as to ensure that the right person was picked for the part, even if they were not yet well known to the public.

This is Vellani’s first Hollywood production. She is the eighteen-year-old daughter of Pakistani Muslim immigrants in Canada. Before this, she was already doing her part to increase diversity in the industry. As part of the New Wave Committee at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), she was part of a team that tagged films in other categories, which they believed would resonate with committee peers. This helped raise the visibility of that year’s independent movies. It also highlighted changes needed in how films are described and categorized.

Image Credit: Marvel Comics

About Ms. Marvel and Me

When I read that they finally cast the role, I was finally crying tears of joy in a year when those kinds of tears were few and far between. It’s no secret; I adore this character. Though ethnically ambiguous in appearance, I am South Asian.

I read Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal a few years back and loved it. I immediately related to Ms. Marvel’s struggles with the multiple identities she had to juggle to fit in with her family members and school friends. Of course, she had the added challenges with mortal enemies in the mix. This resonated with me, someone comfortably into their mid-forties. I wish I could have read about someone like her when I was a kid.

Those that know me also know that I have been cosplaying her for a few years now. This did not happen only because I liked her comic books and animated portrayals. My friend’s daughter found out about my cosplay. She requested that I create a version of her. Her simple observation: Ms. Marvel was the most like us in so many ways. I couldn’t agree more. Now, I look forward to everyone else finding out about how special she is.


Image Credit: Selfie as Ms. Marvel

Now that the pandemic is in a controlled phase everywhere except here in the US, Marvel and Disney+ have resumed production overseas. With the announcements of Tatiana Maslany and Iman Vellani cast to portray She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel respectively, they are clearly moving forward. Bonus: We recently learned that Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury will indeed have his own series, too. It’s about damn time.