By Tori Hunt
On Thursday, the cast and crew of the new Disney+ limited series Ms. Marvel from Marvel Studios walked the red carpet for the premiere at the historic El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. The series introduces viewers to Ms. Marvel, aka Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), the first Muslim Super Hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In this new Marvel Studios series, Kamala Khan is your average Muslim American teenager from New Jersey with a love for comics and Marvel Super Heroes, especially Captain Marvel, until she discovers powers of her own. It’s not every day that we see a young heroine of color take center stage.
Ms. Marvel became the first of its kind when it was adapted from the 2014 Marvel comics, written by Sana Amanat, for Disney+. Featuring an Muslim American girl, Ms. Marvel is not only a symbol of strength and perseverance but stands as a beacon of the South-Asian experience on mainstream television, inspired by Kamala’s Muslim American upbringing.
Vellani, the star of the series, dazzled on the carpet, and seemed still in shock that she is now a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “I feel like I’ve infiltrated it,” she told D23. “I feel like someone’s going to kick me out real soon when they figure out there is a bug in the system.”
Vellani shared she relates to Kamala Khan in almost all aspects of her life. “How don’t I relate to her? I think we’re generally the same person,” she said. Executive producer Brad Winderbaum couldn’t agree more, saying, “Iman is Kamala Khan.”
Kamala’s best friend on the show is Nakia, played by Upside Down Magic’s Yasmeen Fletcher. “Kamala and Nakia take comfort in each other and are there for each other in the most genuine friendship way possible,” Fletcher said. “Iman and I have that exact same friendship in real life.”
The show boasts several well-seasoned directors, including the unstoppable duo Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi. While they have worked on many blockbuster films together, directing a Marvel Studios series was their ultimate dream. “The cool thing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that you can tell the small story of her [Kamala Khan’s] family and friends—something very grounded—then at the same time put her into this larger MC Universe,” El Arbi said.
Being of Moroccan descent and being born in Belgium, Fallah and El Arbi related to Kamala Khan immediately upon reading the script. “It was the struggling with her parents, with her Pakistani culture, her American culture and not knowing what her place is. That is how it really related to our lives,” El Arbi said.
The first episode of Ms. Marvel will be available to stream on Disney+ starting on Wednesday, June 8.