After a long and hard search, Marvel Studios has found its Ms. Marvel. The studio is tapping newcomer Iman Vellani to star in its Disney+ series based on the comic-book character. Marvel and the streamer recently named Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Meera Menon as directors on the project.
This will be the first live-action Ms. Marvel series. Kathreen Khavari (“Big Little Lies”) voiced Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel in the animated TV movie “Marvel Rising Secret Warriors,” which aired on the Disney Channel and Disney XD in 2018.
Ms. Marvel also appears in the new “Marvel’s Avengers” video game. Sandra Saad plays the character through motion capture.
The show will center on Marvel’s first Muslim superhero to star in her own comic book title. Ms. Marvel as a comic and heroine has existed since 1976, with the character Carol Danvers using the name for her crime-fighting escapades. The latest incarnation, and the one the show will be focusing on, is a teenager named Kamala Khan. Khan broke ground by becoming Marvel’s first Muslim character to be lead her own comics title. Her identity as a Pakistani American, living in a religious family in New Jersey whilst trying to find her own way, have been a major focus of the stories. Her powers have been described as polymorphous, meaning she has the ability to stretch and change her shape.
The plan always was to stay true to the character in finding the right actress to play the role, even if it meant offering a person that was not well known to the public.
Marvel and Disney+ have been hard at work setting up their development slate in recent weeks by not only setting Tatiana Maslany to lead its She-Hulk but also probably giving Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury character his own series. The studio also announced that WandaVision would be the first show to premiere on the streamer later this year.
Although this marks Vellani’s first major Hollywood production, she already has made tries to help diversify the industry. At the 2019 Toronto Film Festival, she was part of the Next Wave Committee, which was tasked with adding a special tag to films — already programmed into other categories — which they believed would resonate with their peers.