It’s only been a few weeks since Moon Knight ended but Disney+ are throwing us straight back into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Ms. Marvel which begins streaming on Disney+ on June 8th with new episodes arriving weekly.
Ms. Marvel is a new, original series that introduces Kamala Khan, a Muslim American teenager growing up in Jersey City. An avid gamer and a voracious fan-fiction scribe, Kamala is a Super Hero megafan with an oversized imagination— particularly when it comes to Captain Marvel. Yet Kamala feels like she doesn’t fit in at school and sometimes even at home—that is, until she gets superpowers like the heroes she’s always looked up to.
We attended the global press conference with the cast and crew where we were joined by cast members Iman Vellani, Rish Shah, Matt Lintz, Yasmeen Fletcher, Saagar Shaikh, Zenobia Shroff and Mohan Kapur along with producers Kevin Feige, Sana Amanat, Bisha K. Ali and directors Meera Menom, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Bilall Fallah and Adil El Arbi. It was a packed Zoom call but we learnt a lot about Marvel’s latest show. Here’s what we learned from the event!
The conference begun with Kevin Feige talking about why the show got greenlit in the first place with him answering “why not, I say”. Feige called it a “privilege” that with Marvel every once in a while, there’s a new character that comes along and really captures the audience’s imagination and Ms. Marvelreally did that.
People would always ask Feige when Ms. Marvel is coming and so “it always seemed inevitable” that they would get around to it and Disney+ gave the perfect opportunity to tell her full story in six episodes. Before then transitioning into a feature film. Kevin Feige wants to bring new characters to the screen so that people who’ve never considered watching a Marvel Studios production before want to watch the show and they then want to go back and watch all the other ones too.
Iman Vellani on getting a WhatsApp casting call from her aunt to getting the role:
February 2022, I get the WhatsApp forward. I thought it was a scam. I don’t know what casting calls look like. But they are not white pages that say, Ms. Marvel Disney+ and headshot and resume here. So, it turned out to be real. And I sent in a very academic resume, the one photo I had of myself. And they sent back the sides for the self-tape. I was like, I knew exactly which comic books they pulled them from. And I was like, okay this is real. I can’t do it. I was like making excuses for myself out of fear of failure. And at, like, 3:00 a.m. the night it was due, I sent in my self-tape. I was like, my 10-year-old self is gonna hate me if I don’t even try. And two days later I get a call.
They’re like, do you have a lawyer? We wanna fly you to LA. And I was like, I have a math test, but okay. And next thing, I’m in LA with my dad. It was like the greatest trip of my life. And I was fan-girling over Sarah Finn and Louis D’Esposito. And I wanted to take full advantage of being in that room, because I didn’t know if it was gonna happen again. And then pandemic hit, and they sent me one email. And they were like, “Look, you’re very much in the running. We just gotta figure some stuff out on our side.” And I was like, “I gotta figure out university on my side.” And then June 2020, sent in last self-tape. And then we did a screen test over Zoom. And I got casted on the last day of high school.
Getting cast in Ms. Marvel was definitely more exciting than graduating from school for Vellani.
Mohan Kapur on the representation in the show:
I don’t think this series is shouting from the rooftops saying “Watch me.” We’re talking about representation. It’s a wonderful story of a community that’s so ethnically diverse and culturally rich. And for me coming from that region, I think it’s a fabulous opportunity, because we certainly say this is the Marvel Universe telling a story about our milieu.
You know, a small scene like you go to the mosque, you put your shoes over there, you come back and the shoes are gone. That’s a real thing. The process of entering a mosque, the festivals, the wedding ceremonies they’re just so beautiful. This is not a political statement. This is a story of one family, one girl. But it’s so beautiful. It’s the story of a family in a land that’s not their own, but they’ve called it their home. And that’s beautiful.
The show has an incredible diverse cast and crew of Muslim and South Asian people, but even Matt Lintz who Iman Vellani has now dubbed an “honorary Muslim” was still excited and curious about the culture and religion. Going into the show he was “excited” because of certain scenes and learning about how diverse and rich the culture is from things like clothing.
For Yasmeen Fletcher who had been a huge fan of the MCU for the majority of her life, going from watching these incredible characters on screen to getting the “insane opportunity” to play was “literally the biggest honour” of her life. Fletcher says that she’s practically been on joyous autopilot since getting the call and just living in every single moment and enjoying it to the max.
And the same goes for Rish Shah who plays Kamran in the show. When he got the call he was surrounded by all of his Funko pops that he’d been collecting and arranging in various battle sequences in his mum’s kitchen.
For Shah, being in a Marvel show was really something special because the first toy he ever received from his dad was an Incredible Hulk action figure. And then when he was at university, he would frequently go to Forbidden Planet in London and see all the comics and Shah said that he was basically “crying with tears” when he found out that he’d got the role.
The first episode of Ms. Marvel showcases the incredible Avengers Con, but will this ever be a reality?
Kevin Feige on if Avengers Con can ever become a reality:
We were definitely talking about that on the set. We shot that right in the middle of COVID protocol, so there hadn’t been a convention for a very long time. And it was very cathartic for all of us to see that. And we were shooting Spider-man: No Way Home on the stage right next door, believe it or not. Actually, the scene with the three Spideys. And a lot of that crew kept sneaking over to see, and attend Avenger Con, walking around. So, I think that might be fun to do some time, yes.
Ms. Marvel is streaming now on Disney+ with new episodes arriving weekly.