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Interview: The Cast and Crew of Ms. Marvel

A coming-of-age superhero miniseries, Ms. Marvel tells the story of Kamala and her obsession with Captain Marvel. Before mysteriously gaining superpowers, Kamala felt like she couldn’t quite fit in when it came to school and oftentimes at home. Created by Bisha K. Ali and composed by Laura Karpman, Ms. Marvel beautifully blends superheroes and Muslim culture.

Here’s the scoop on the cast and crew of Ms. Marvel!

Ms. Marvel Poster
©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

The Crew and Cast

Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah are the directors and executive producers behind the latest television series, Ms. Marvel set in the MCU. Adil is a directing duo with Bilall. Adil and Bilall are known for writing and directing films like Bad Boys for Life, Black, and Gangsta.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is also a director for a few episodes of Ms. Marvel. Sharmeen is known as a filmmaker who showcases women’s inequality in her work. Her most known movies are Saving Face and Song of Lahore.

Meera Menon is a director for episodes 102 and 103. Meera also participates in projects like Talking Dead and Farah Goes Bang.

Kevin Feige is an executive director for Ms. Marvel as well as the primary producer for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Sana Amanat is also an executive producer of the latest superhero series. Her job as a comic book editor has helped her become familiar with the Marvel Universe, especially Captain Marvel.

Mohan Kapur plays Yusuf Khan, Kamala’s dad in Ms. Marvel. Mohan is most well known for being a host of a game show. But he is often voicing characters in foreign media.

Zenobia Shroff plays the overprotective mom, Muneeba Khan. Zenobia has participated in many projects such as The Big Sick and Soul.

Rish Shah is Kamran in Ms. Marvel. His roles in Years and Years and To All the Boys: Always and Forever have showcased his acting abilities.

Iman Vellani plays the main character, Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel). Her role in the Marvel series is her on-screen debut.

Matt Lintz becomes Bruno, Kamala’s close friend. His background as an actor in popular movies and shows like The Walking Dead and A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song has led him to amass quite the fortune. He was even in the running to play Spider-Man.

Yasmeen Fletcher plays Nakia in Ms. Marvel. Her most known role is Chandra in Upside-Down Magic.

Saagar Shaikh is Aamir Khan (Kamala’s brother) in the superhero series. Saagar is a new actor to join the MCU.

Bisha K. Ali is the head writer and executive director of the series. She is a British stand-up comedian and screenwriter.

First Muslim and South Asian Superhero in the MCU

Iman as Ms. Marvel
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Sana talks about her feelings when creating the comic for Ms. Marvel a while back. “We joked about how we’re like, ‘Mm, this is not gonna get past issue nine.’ And, lo and behold Kevin Feige cared which is amazing and, of course, the rest of the world.” Sana further mentions the success of the comic. “The comic did really well. We had incredible runs. And I think what I love about it the most is that it had people from different backgrounds, people that never really read comics before showing up in comic shops for the first time because of what this meant and what it stood for. I think that is really sort of the merits of the success of this series. And a few years later when Kevin let us know that he wanted to make this into a show, I was thrilled.”

Kamala in Ms. Marvel

kamala khan
Photo by Daniel McFadden. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Kevin reveals his thoughts about Kamala and other new characters that enter the MCU. “I mean, honestly Marvel it’s such a privilege because not only are the re-interpretations every few years of existing wonderful characters, but every once in a while, and it does seem like every decade or so, there’s a new character that comes around that catches the audience’s imagination. And this character clearly did that.”

Kevin continues by saying, “some people on the red carpet last night, almost from the first few issues people started asking us in environments like this when we were promoting other things, when is Kamala Khan coming? When is Ms. Marvel coming? So, it always seemed inevitable in a gray way that we would be able to do it. When Disney+ came around, it really gave us the opportunity to do what we really wanted to do which was to tell her full story in six episodes.”  

Casting Call

Kamala and her friends at school
Photo by Daniel McFadden. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Iman talks about what happened when she received a casting call to play Ms. Marvel. “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.'”

Iman further reveals that “it turned out to be real. And sent in a very academic resume, the one photo I had of myself. And they sent back the sides for the self-tape. I knew exactly which comic books they pulled them from. I was making excuses for myself out of fear of failure. And at 3:00 a.m. the night it was due, I sent in my self-tape. My 10-year-old self is gonna hate me if I don’t even try. And two days later I get a call.”

Character Development

Bruno and Kamala in Ms. Marvel
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Bisha mentions how Ms. Marvel is different than in the comics. “She’s live-action in the first instance. And I think it was an incredible process in the scene that felt like such a gift or the fact that Sana was involved in this project from the go.”

Bisha further reveals that “having Sana around really felt that there are like border lines of how we can do this and stay true to the character that’s in the comic books and that’s on the pages and still add something new, add a freshness. Add vitality and a contemporary edge to what we’re gonna see on screen. And I would say that everything… I can’t speak for anybody else, but I will attempt in this one moment. Every single person involved in this project loves those comics deeply, personally, from their full hearts. And I think we’re all committed to that love. So, it wasn’t a case of throwing… I didn’t wake up and say, hey Kevin I know, let’s throw out the powers. That was not my first pitch by any means.” 

Bisha talks more about the behind-the-scenes of crafting the character. “That was really a group decision talking through how she’s gonna exist in the MCU. How’s she’s gonna fit into this web of storytelling that Marvel Studios has done in live-action for the last decade, and putting all those pieces together while staying true to this beautiful incredible character that Sana and her team crafted over in their publishing side.”

Muslim Community Representation

Kamala and her family eating breakfast
Photo by Daniel McFadden. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Mohan talks about Ms. Marvel diving into Muslim and South Asian cultural backgrounds. “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. And it’s so beautifully and so subliminally translated over scenes.”

Mohan continues to express his thoughts about his culture being represented in the series. “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. And I’m sure that… I know this for a fact from whatever little social media that I’m into, that side of the world, they just can’t wait to see this happen. This is us.”

Arabic Translation

Saagar reveals his thoughts on translating things in Ms. Marvel. “It was weird, only because it’s not what I feel like any of us are used to. We’re used to having to explain a lot of things or fight to change a word or say something that’s a little deeper of a cut just to get that reference out there. But with this show, it was like everybody was on the same page, everybody got it. And you’re right, it’s not our job to teach you what betah or bethe means. You just type it up, and the answer’s all there. Yeah, it was really, pleasant. It made it really easy for everybody to do their jobs because everybody working on this show is like Muslim or South Asian, and we all got the references.”  

Unfamiliar Culture and Religion

Ms. Marvel
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Litz mentions his thoughts when receiving the script for the series. “Going onto the show, I was just excited. I don’t wanna spoil anything, but there are certain scenes where I was able to see the culture and how diverse and rich it is. And even the clothes, and just there are so many things I’ve learned. I feel like coming off of season one I’ve learned so much from all these beautiful people. And just to call them, my friends and castmates is something that I will be forever grateful for.”

Directing Duo’s Next Steps

Ms. Marvel
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Adil and Bilall talk about their goals as directors. Adil says that “after we were editing Bad Boys for Life, we were saying, ‘What’s the next step?’ And the next step had to be Marvel. We were kind of joking around and saying, ‘If you’re gonna do a Marvel show, it’s gonna have to be a Muslim character.'”

Adil further mentions their connection to the Muslim character by saying that “We fell in love with Kamala Khan, with her world, her character. We are Moroccan Belgians, so when we were 15, 16, we were also still looking for our identity, our place in the world.”

What Audiences Should Know

Kamala in Captain Marvel costume
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Ms. Marvel carefully balances the life of a normal teenage girl with superpowers and makes it relatable. Sharmeen comments and says, “I think it was about letting the world into the secret that the South Asian culture is pretty freaking cool. Our food, our music, the way the parents’ relationship with the kids is. I wanted to make it cool so that anybody watching it would be like, that was my argument with my mom when I wanted to go out and she’s like, ‘There are going to be boys there. Stay home.'”  

Sharmeen continues by revealing that the movie goes beyond the Muslim community. “South Asian immigrant families watching could see a reflection of themselves on screen. And the superhero bit was just that I always believe that everyone has a superhero in them; they just have to activate it. Telling this story is going to change so much for so many people because I know I have two young girls who when they see Kamala Khan, they too will know that they can also be a superhero.”

Hope you found this interview of the cast and crew from Ms. Marvel to be cool and inspiring!

Watch Ms. Marvel exclusively on Disney+ now!

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Ms. Marvel interview

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