I think it's safe to say the we have an affinity for superhero movies, and that fondness probably won’t dissipate anytime soon seeing as superhero-themed movies serve up some family-friendly content (except for Deadpool, for obvious reasons). As more families go to the movies to see their favorite masked friends and fiends, Marvel Studios needs to adopt the modern mold of what a superhero looks and acts like. Thankfully, Tessa Thompson might do just that with her potential women-centric movie. And as Carol Danvers (i.e. Captain Marvel, portrayed by Brie Larson) gets ready to take center stage in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige says that Ms. Marvel could be the next comic book character to make her on-screen debut.
According to Teen Vogue, Feige hinted to fans that there are “plans” to bring Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel to the MCU. If you don’t know who Kamala Khan is, then make some popcorn and get ready to go on an abridged history of Khan. Although Khan didn’t make her superhero entrance until 2013, it was a noteworthy entrance—seeing as Kamala Khan is Marvel Comics’s first Muslim super character to have her own titular comic book series.
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) May 16, 2018
When Khan isn’t striving to fulfill and improve Carol Danver’s, the previous Ms. Marvel, do-gooder legacy, Khan is a Pakistani-American from New Jersey, who is constantly discovering her personal and superhuman identity throughout the pages of her comic. Because Kamala Khan is associated with Danver’s, Feige could easily incorporate Khan’s story arc after the Captain Marvel film. Global News reports that Feige also alluded to the fact that Khan could appear in the MCU shortly after the Captain Marvel film.
Conversely, Khan could also appear in Tessa Thompson’s potential women-lead movie, which could be a possibility given ~those~ women-lead fights scenes in Avengers: Infinity War. Regardless, Ms. Marvel’s potential titular film has fans drafting their fandom-induced casting call.
Metro reports that one fan in particular is rooting for Stranger Things star Linnea Berthelsen to portray Khan. Based on Berthelsen’s resume and the fan’s photo manipulation, we’d have to agree that Berthelsen would make a powerful Kamala Khan.
Today I had some fun creating Ms. Marvel (kamala khan) I spent a while looking for the perfect cast for her atm I have yet to find but I do love the look of @linnea_bert so I did a piece on her for some fun #msmarvel@Kevfeige@MarvelStudiospic.twitter.com/S00gHyz6AK
— BossLogic (@Bosslogic) May 17, 2018
Plus, actors Mindy Kaling and Riz Ahmed are also on-board for this vital film.
— Riz Ahmed (@rizmc) May 16, 2018
Riz! I am obsessed with this comic book, I’ve read them all. I love Kamala Khan. https://t.co/f3PevhfUzv
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) May 16, 2018
Nevertheless, fans are excited about Feige’s comments because Khan is more than a super-powered character—she’s a role model to many young people. In the comics, Khan is one of the youngest superheroes to join the Avengers. Seeing an empowering, young Muslim superhero on-screen can easily influence young people to become their own definition of a superhero. As Khan’s role in the MCU could divulge into a titular film franchise and multiple cameos in the Avengers and Captain Marvel movies, Ms. Marvel’s presence in the MCU can also annihilate the problematic tropes that Hollywood often places people of color in, especially people from the Middle East.
Middle Eastern actors and Muslim actors are still typecast in the entertainment industry, and these actors are often discouraged from lead roles. Actress Kathreen Khavari, who voiced Ms. Marvel herself in the Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors animated film, tells the San Francisco Chronicle about her experiences with discrimination in Hollywood. Khan's role in the MCU can help establish an era of necessary, healthy representation of Muslim people and Middle Eastern people in films.
While Ms. Marvel’s comic book run and (hopefully) soon-to-be film time is meant to inspire young people who are Muslim or immigrants, one of the co-creators of Ms. Marvel urges that we shouldn’t gatekeep who write’s Ms. Marvel’s on-screen presence. In a tweet thread on May 21, G. Willow Wilson notes that a Muslim writer doesn’t need to write Ms. Marvel for Khan to be a meaningful on-screen character.
Wilson adds that conceptualizing a superhero, whether it’s for a comic book, animated series or a live-action production, is a team effort and Ms. Marvel isn’t solely represented by who writes her. “Ms Marvel is not me. I am not Ms Marvel. Team Ms Marvel has had editors who are Pakistani-American, editors who are Black, artists who are Japanese, artists who are Spanish…all those people are, collectively Team Ms Marvel,” Wilson tweeted.
Ms Marvel is not me. I am not Ms Marvel. Team Ms Marvel has had editors who are Pakistani-American, editors who are Black, artists who are Japanese, artists who are Spanish...all those people are, collectively, Team Ms Marvel. And they all bring their A game to this series.
— G. (@GWillowWilson) May 21, 2018
Wilson continued, “A non-Muslim writer from the desi diaspora, or a Muslim writer from Britain, or a Muslim New Jersey-ite who is also a guy, all could bring things to this character that I could not and do not. And I would be thrilled to read or watch what they created.”
After all, Kamala Khan is a highly versatile character—even beyond her polymorphic abilities—and we shouldn’t gatekeep who can write her cinematic character.
Let’s face it: Khan is an extremely relatable character. While it might be difficult to identify with Khan’s superhuman abilities because the only superpowers we have are the ability to cry during any animal adoption video, Khan is also a fangirl herself and often geeks out whenever she meets one of her superhero idols in the comic books. (After all, who wouldn’t mention their intergalactic-themed Wolverine fanfiction to Wolverine’s face?)
As a multifaceted character, Ms. Marvel (aka Kamala Khan), will naturally require a team of superhuman writers, creators and producers (who relate to Khan's experiences with racism, xenophobia and newfound empowerment) to depict and evolve her character in the MCU.