Ms. Marvel, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's (MCU) latest show, will be streaming on Disney+ Hotstar from June 8. A pathbreaking title for Marvel Comics, the character has since made her way to the top tier of heroes in this universe, including a featuring role in Square Enix's "Marvel's Avengers" game. Kamala's appeal lies beyond just South Asian representation — her infectious love of superheroes, her hyperactive imagination, and her unwavering quest for good are in many ways a reflection of comic-book fandom, and the joy of reading comics.
Ahead of the release of Ms. Marvel, starring Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan, co-creator Sana Amanat and directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah speak about bringing the character to life and what Bollywood cameos we can expect.
What was it like bringing Kamala Khan's unique corner of the MCU to life – from her powers and her heritage to her equation with her family?
Adil: We were inspired by the comic books, of course, and there was already so much source material for us to adapt faithfully. Then, there was our own experience growing up as Muslims in Belgium and searching for our identity as teenagers in that context. Things like struggling with the world, school and even family – these personal aspects and experiences made us connect so strongly with Kamala Khan. So we wanted to make the show, and her, as cool and relatable as possible. Obviously, we had great help from Sana, who co-created the character, and was with us every step of the way, helping us translate that authenticity to the screen.
Sana, you've been to India before, the 2014 Bangalore Comic Con. Those were the early days of Ms. Marvel trailblazing the comic book world. What was the response of the fans like then, and what should they expect now?
Sana: Oh yes, I was. It was amazing to be in Bangalore. In fact, that was my first hint of – 'Oh wait, this character is going global, that's amazing'. Obviously, we didn't expect it to have the following it did, which was great to see. And now, it's on a bigger scale than I could have ever imagined. That's why I'm really excited for our global audience to see Ms. Marvel. There are so many different kinds of Marvel fans out there, but this show is very much for the fans in the Eastern world, given the cultural identity, the background – and without giving spoilers – how it opens up the Marvel universe in a way that has never happened before. It brings us to South Asia in a really beautiful and big way. Indian viewers and fans will be very, very excited.
Speaking of spoilers, should we expect some more Bollywood cameos apart from Farhan Akhtar?
Sana: Well, Farhan Akhtar is in the show. I feel like that's a pretty good Bollywood cameo already. What more are you guys asking for? It's hard to get those Bollywood actors!
Kamala joins a growing young roster of superheroes including Kate Bishop from Hawkeye, America Chavez from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Yelena Belova from Black Widow. How do Kamala and the show impact Phase 4 of the MCU, and what comes next?
Adil: Ask Kevin Feige! Well, honestly, we don't know what the future is, but the future is bright. And Ms. Marvel is a true coming-of-age story. Ideally, we hope it evolves like Peter Parker's Spiderman has in No Way Home and in the MCU. That's the bar and we are aiming for it. So hopefully, Kamala has a great future.
Sana: Well, she's got a movie coming up. So that's there.
Adil and Bilal: We don't know anything about the movie, but it's going to be next-level.
Do you have a message for the MCU fans in India?
Adil and Bilal: We love the audience in India! Do check out Ms. Marvel. It's going to make you laugh, cry and fall in love again. It's going to take you to these high points, keep you at the edge of the seat in every episode, and then BOOM – cut you in the heart.
Sana: Well, I don't know how to follow up 'BOOM' (laughs). But India, this show is for you. I love that part of the world and it is so exciting and meaningful to be able to share the show with you. I genuinely hope that you love it.