In a landscape dominated by white men and their high-tech toys, a new kind of superhero is debuting in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Kamala Khan has entered the chat. Ms. Marvel is the latest Disney+ series to expand upon the enormous superhero franchise and tells the story of Khan, a 16-year-old Pakistani-American Muslim who lives in Jersey City.
Khan made her first appearance in the comics in 2014, and an onscreen adaptation has reportedly long been in the works. (Carol Danvers used her moniker in the '70s, prior to becoming the Captain Marvel we know now). Last year, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed the release of Ms. Marvel, which will be written by Bisha K. Ali (Hulu's Four Weddings and a Funeral). Deadline reported in the fall that the show has officially found its lead. Here's what we know about the high-profile project so far, including its release date.
Ms. Marvel is inspired by a popular comic series.
This series will center around Khan, a teenager who loves gaming and fanfiction, and idolizes the Avengers before obtaining her own shape-shifting powers. The character was created by G. Willow Wilson, drawn by Adrian Alphona, and edited by Sana Amanat and Steve Wacker.
One of Khan's most distinguishable abilities is her "embiggened fist," a trait Wilson told Polygon will pose challenges onscreen. "She’s got very comic book-y powers," he told the outlet. "God bless them trying to bring that to live-action—I don’t know how that’s going to work out in a way that doesn’t look really creepy."
Tasked with making those powers come to life is showrunner Ali and a team of directors including Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Bad Boys for Life), Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (Saving Face), and Meera Menon (The Magicians, Outlander).
The show has found its cast.
Deadline was the first to report that newcomer Iman Vellani will play the titular role after "a long and hard search." This will be Vellani's onscreen debut.
Marvel announced in December 2020 that Vellani will be joined by cast members including Aramis Knight, Saagar Shaikh, Rish Shah, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Matt Lintz, Yasmeen Fletcher, Laith Naki, Azher Usman, Travina Springer and Nimra Bucha. Their roles have yet to be confirmed.
Expect a premiere date in late 2021.
Ms. Marvel is one of several superhero shows that will premiere exclusively on Disney+. It joins a lineup of series that will be connected to the Marvel films, including WandaVision, Hawkeye, Loki, and Falcon and the Winter Soldier. It's also one of several female-fronted superhero projects scheduled for release, in addition to the delayed Black Widow, She-Hulk starring Tatiana Maslany, and Natalie Portman as Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder.
Reports circulated last year that Ms. Marvel would begin filming in spring 2020, although the pandemic has delayed virtually every production. However, Disney announced on Investor Day that the show will be released in late 2021 and shared footage from Ms. Marvel in a new sizzle reel.
Filming has officially wrapped.
After filming several segments in Georgia, Ms. Marvel moved to Thailand for the completion of episodes four and five. Despite a coronavirus resurgence in the area and "severe" city and provincial restrictions, the show obtained a waiver to continue filming, per Variety. Using safety measures including masks and face shields, testing twice a week, and controlled air systems, the cast and crew of Ms. Marvel were able to wrap production in early May.
Several celeb fans have already expressed their enthusiasm for the series.
As work on Ms. Marvel gets underway, several A-list fans have voiced their support for the show. Kumail Nanjiani, who will play the first Pakistani superhero for a Marvel movie in The Eternals, tweeted, "I just saw they cast Ms. Marvel and legit got teary eyed. Congratulations Iman Vellani! Your work is going to mean so much to so many people, myself included. I can’t wait."
Mindy Kaling, who previously declared she read every Ms. Marvel comic, wrote, "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"
Ms. Marvel will appear in future MCU films.
During a 2019 press conference for Captain Marvel, Larson expressed a desire to welcome Ms. Marvel to a potential sequel. “My dream would be that Ms. Marvel gets to come into play in the sequel,” she told reporters, per Inverse. “That’s the goal.”
Marvel president Feige confirmed the character would show up in both the Captain Marvel sequel, as well as other films. "You will meet her in her Disney+ series and then you will see her in our films," he said. "It is incredibly exciting for us."
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