'Ms Marvel': first photos on set of Iman Vellani as Marvel's on-screen Muslim superhero
Vellani, 16, will make her acting debut in the coming Disney+ TV series
The first pictures of Iman Vellani in character as Kamala Khan, Marvel’s Muslim superhero, have been revealed from the set of Ms Marvel.
The images show Vellani, 16, in her Ms Marvel superhero costume for the first time, as she films scenes for the upcoming Disney+ television series, which is slated for release later in 2021.
The Canadian teenager was announced for the role in October 2020, months after Disney announced it would be turning the popular comic book into a live-action television series. It will be Vellani's first acting credit.
Following the announcement, famous faces in Hollywood sent their congratulations, including Mindy Kaling and Kumail Nanjiani.
Comic book author and Ms Marvel co-creator Gwendolyn Willow Wilson also shared praise for Vellani on Twitter, writing: "She is the real deal."
Marvel studio chief Kevin Feige has said that the character of Kamala Khan/Ms Marvel will also appear in future films in the franchise, but they may cast a different actor for the big screen.
Kamala Khan, aged 16, is Marvel's first Muslim on-screen character. She first appeared in an August 2013 edition of Captain Marvel, and landed her own comic book series in February 2014.
She was in part created by comic book artist Sana Amanat, who previously told The National that the character was sparked by a conversation she had with her senior editor, Stephen Wacker, about her own experiences growing up in New Jersey as a Pakistani-American Muslim.
“I was talking about the fact it was really hard to be a young Muslim in America and the different struggles I had, like trying to go to the prom, making my own dress that was fully covered, fasting and playing lacrosse, wearing tights underneath my shorts in 90-degree weather and not being able to go on dates,” Amanat said.
“For me, it was so common and everyday, but my senior editor said: ‘Not a lot of people know those kinds of stories.’ That was the first spark of an idea of creating a character that maybe could resonate with young Sanas out there.”
In the comic book, Khan develops polymorphous powers owing to "inhuman" genes and takes over the former identity of her hero Carol Danvers (Danvers drops the Ms Marvel moniker in the Marvel comics after taking on the mantle of Captain Marvel in 2012). She has the ability to shape shift and has powers of elasticity.
As for the TV show, directors announced that the project will include Bad Boys for Life directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, as well as Oscar-winning Pakistani-American director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and American-Indian Farah Goes Bang director Meera Menon.
The showrunner and writer on the show is Bisha K Ali, who was a writer on the Four Weddings and a Funeral TV series and appears on The Guilty Feminist podcast.
Updated: May 12, 2021 02:43 PM