Superheroes are supposed to protect innocent citizens, capture dangerous criminals, and in a nutshell, save the world. Unlike villains, they use their magical or “superhuman” powers for the greater good. Yet, all the popular superheroes are somehow always overwhelmingly white cis men. And despite their charms and impressive skill-set, not everyone can relate to or idolize them.
In recent years, there’s been a lot of calls for more diversity, inclusion, and fair pay sweeping across Hollywood. Marvel’s mostly-white superhero pantheon now has more female characters as well as people of color in lead roles, although the MCU still has a long way to go to becoming “truly diverse.”
But that’s also what makes the upcoming Disney+ miniseries, Ms. Marvel, something to be excited about. It’s comic-favorite Kamala Khan’s first appearance on screen, and the first time a female superhero of color in the Marvel universe is getting her very own introductory show!
Image via Marvel Studios
Kamala Khan or Ms. Marvel is your average nerdy teenager who struggles to fit in school, loves playing games, and writes a lot of fanfiction about Captain Marvel, her favorite superhero. That, in fact, is something a lot of fangirls and fanboys will relate to, and Kamala Khan’s coming-of-age story is bound to feel personal to Marvel fans and nerds who grew up watching the films since they were teens. Moreover, as a Muslim Pakistani-American teen growing up in New Jersey, her struggles and lived experience are markedly different from the average white superhero, or even teenage Avengers like Spiderman, who are far more privileged.
Created by Bisha K. Ali (who was also involved with Loki), the show’s titular character will be played by Iman Vellani, a young Canadian actress. From what we know so far, the miniseries will stay true to its source material and won’t shy away from exploring the character’s Muslim faith and cultural background, as she learns to balance her superhero duties with a normal life. As a long-time Marvel fangirl myself and a woman of color, this is the first time my demographic is finally being represented on screen. I really hope Marvel and other studios continue to prioritize diversity and inclusion in their big-budget storytelling ventures.
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