Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 1 December 2020

Sandra Saad on voicing Ms Marvel: 'I landed a role that inspired me'

With the release of the 'Marvel’s Avengers' video game, we got to see the elastic-limbed superhero in action at last

With the September 4 release of the 'Marvel’s Avengers' video game, we got to see Ms Marvel in action outside of the comic books at last. BenjiSales / Twitter
With the September 4 release of the 'Marvel’s Avengers' video game, we got to see Ms Marvel in action outside of the comic books at last. BenjiSales / Twitter

“With great honour and strength, I am proud to finally announce: I am Kamala Khan,” Sandra Saad tweeted almost a year ago.

Since then, fans have been eagerly waiting to see the American-Egyptian actor bring the character of Ms Marvel to life outside of the comic books for the first time.

With the Friday, September 4, release of the Marvel’s Avengers video game, we got to see the elastic-limbed superhero in action at last. Despite sharing a storyline with some of Marvel’s better-known characters such as Iron Man, Thor and Black Widow, Saad not only managed to ensure that the character gets her dues, but her performance pretty much steals the show.

A large part of what makes Saad's portrayal of the optimistic and confident Ms Marvel so memorable is that the actress was careful to ensure she is presented as three-dimensional and “not a token”.

“She’s a real person,” Saad told The Independent. “I feel like, all too often, when you do see Muslim characters – or specific characters that have something about them that’s different – they focus really heavily on that and that’s all that becomes of the character.”

This incarnation of Ms Marvel, also known as Pakistani-American teenager Kamala Khan, made her first appearance in an August 2013 edition of Captain Marvel, and landed her own comic book series in February 2014.

“The great thing about Kamala Khan is she’s not just Muslim. She’s not just Pakistani. She’s not just hopeful. She’s a fully actualised, three-dimensional character with a life, a background and a family. She’s a first-generation American – she’s a lot.”

This is not Saad’s first foray into voicing a video game character. She’s previously lent her voice to a number of characters in Fallout 76 as well as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but her role as Khan/Ms Marvel marks the first time she’s taken a lead role.

“I’ve always wanted to be in a role that inspired somebody,” she said. “I landed a role that inspired me.”

Saad told The Independent that she shares a number of personality traits with her character, including her cheerful optimism. “All of us actors are very similar to the characters,” she said of her co-stars in the game, which includes Nolan North (Iron Man), Troy Baker (Bruce Banner) and Laura Bailey (Black Widow).

“So it’s easy to just keep it rolling with our own input. Working with Troy and Nolan, and all those guys, you definitely get a lot of improvisation between the lines – just kind of like: ‘Do what you feel.’”

Speaking about the necessity of having more diverse representation within the entertainment industry, Saad said: “I feel like, why not? If we can make an effort to look for actors of colour, you can find them.

"I know that this is a really big thing with casting offices. You might like to play it safe and stick with the same people that they’re used to, whatever their background is from.

"But just taking that extra step to look for a new talent can be very important for those people watching who are that same race.”

Updated: September 9, 2020 05:14 PM

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