Ms Marvel Star Says ‘This Is Us’ and Why Producers Faced No Resistance or Pushback From Marvel Regarding Cultural Cues
- Category: Interviews
- Created: Thursday, 09 June 2022 22:32
- Published: Thursday, 09 June 2022 22:58
- Written by Lupe R Haas
A new superhero has entered the MCU fray with Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) making her Disney+ debut as Ms. Marvel. As the first Muslim American superhero in the Marvel Universe, you’d expect a more generic version of the character or to be blunt a whitewashing of the cultural implications, but the cast and producers reveal they faced no resistance from Marvel to show an accurate portrayal of the Muslim and South East Asian community.
In the new, original series, New Jersey native Kamala Khan fantasizes about her hero, Captain Marvel that is until this Avenger megafan comes into her own powers as Ms. Marvel. However teenage life doesn’t get better just because you have superpowers.
Iman Vellani stars as the young wannabe Avenger. Vellani’s Kamala is surrounded by family and school friends, represented mostly by actors within the community. While the first episode introduces us to Kamala and her family, the second episode expands that rich cultural backdrop with scenes at a mosque or a religious festival.
Actor Mohan Kapur who portrays Kamala’s father summed up the experience of seeing his culture play out on screen for the first time on a major mainstream platform.
“It’s a wonderful story of a community that’s so ethnically diverse and culturally rich,” says Kapur. “We are suddenly saying this is the Marvel Universe. A story about our milieu. And it’s so beautiful and subliminally translated over scenes.” Later he proclaims, “This is us. This is us.”
However, the actor emphasizes Ms. Marvel isn’t “shouting representation from the rooftops.”
“This is not a political statement. This is a story of one family. One girl. It’s so beautiful about a family in a land that’s not their own but they’ve called it their home. And that’s beautiful.”
One of the Ms. Marvel directors Bilall Fallah was pleasantly surprised that Marvel didn’t push back on their choices or references. The creative team all hail from the Muslim or South East Asian community so “it made it easy for everyone to do their jobs,” says Fallah. Everyone was on the same page about including cultural and religious references without having to stop to translate to the general audience.
There are many unfamiliar terms uttered by the characters which may not be familiar to anyone outside that community. Fallah believes “it’s not our job to teach you” what a certain word or words mean. A simple Google search would take care of that issue, says the director.
Ms. Marvel is now streaming on Disney+ with new episodes dropping every Wednesday.