Kamala Khan- otherwise known by her superhero mantle of Ms Marvel that she inherits from Carol Danvers- is one of the most revolutionary superheroes in the history of Marvel comics. She was the first Muslim character to headline her own comic book series, paving the way for more diversity throughout the superhero genre in all of its media forms. Hailing from New Jersey, Kamala Khan is an American-Pakistani teenager brought up in a Muslim household. She idolises superheroes and eventually becomes one when she is found to have Inhuman genes which allow her to shapeshift. Back at the Disney D23 expo in 2019, a series for Disney Plus focused on Khan was announced and we now have confirmation of who will be taking on the role: 18 year old newcomer Iman Vellani.
Vellani is a Canadian actress whose parents are Muslim Pakistani immigrants, exactly like Kamala herself. Whilst this will be her first on-screen debut and her first involvement in a Hollywood production (what a way to start though), she has already began trying to make a difference when it comes to diversifying the entertainment industry. Despite her young age, in 2019 she was chosen to be a member of the Next Wave Committee for the Toronto International Film Festival where her duties included picking suitable films for younger audiences. Her choice was the film Hala, a film by Minhal Baig which focuses on an American Muslim teenager trying to deal with various cultural differences in her life. Vellani’s chosen film suggests she has an interest in young people learning about the varying cultures within our society. This feels even more necessary at the moment with the current state of the world. Vellani will be able to portray this message globally when she takes on such an important and pivotal superhero role.
Ms Marvel is a really fun character as well as being culturally important. She is usually portrayed as a bit of a geek and a fangirl when it comes to the other Marvel superheroes and she is very much still a teenager despite her powers. In one of her most recent iterations- the Marvel’s Avengers game- her character won praise from critics despite the game itself getting average reviews. She is already gaining popularity and her jump to the screen will only elevate her even more so. With Kevin Feige confirming that Ms Marvel will also be appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as the on her own Disney Plus show, we are sure to be seeing a lot of Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan. No pressure or anything, Iman. You got this.