EXCLUSIVE: After a long and hard search, Marvel 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.
Marvel had no comment.
Ms. Marvel hails from writer Bisha K. Ali and centers on Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American teen based in New Jersey. Ms. Marvel first appeared in 2014 as Marvel’s first Muslim character to star in her own title, and she will become Marvel Studios’ first onscreen Muslim hero. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige has said that in addition to appearing on the small screen, Kamala Khan will be included in future Marvel films.
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 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.
I just saw they cast Ms. Marvel and legit got teary eyed.
Congratulations Iman Vellani! Your work is going to mean so much to so many people, myself included. I can’t wait.
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) September 30, 2020