Fans of the teenage, Pakastani-American superhero Ms. Marvel of Marvel Comics gave a collective sigh of relief this weekend. A recent photo leak revealed actor Iman Vellani in her official costume in the upcoming Disney Plus series of the same name, and she is a dead ringer for Kamala Khan, Marvel’s first Muslim hero to have her own title.
Collider is reporting that Just Jared posted leaked photos from the set of Ms. Marvel. This is the first time fans have seen the character in the thunderbolt dress and scarf outfit commonly associated with the character in the Marvel comics. The same website had leaked photos last year of the character on set in what appeared to be a Halloween costume of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel.
The two characters are fairly entangled. In the comics, Kahn begins as a fan of Danvers. The teenage girl inherits the title of “Ms. Marvel” from Danvers, who had gone on to become Captain Marvel, a title several characters have had throughout the years. The two have had their ups and downs since Kahn’s introduction in 2013, including finding themselves in conflict during the 2016 crossover event “Civil War II.” Kahn, played by Vellani, is slated to appear in the upcoming 2022 Captain Marvel sequel after her character is introduced in her own series.
The character was a hit with critics and readers, both for her recurring eponymous Marvel title (which won a Hugo award) and a series of graphic novels. In 2015 street art activist groups used the character to obscure Anti-Islamic advertisements on buses in San Francisco, along with anti-racist messages. In 2018, Newsweek reported the character had inspired Merriam-Webster dictionary to add the word “embiggen,” which the character uses to describe her powers – the ability to grow parts of her body large. The character often appears with oversized fists.
Kahn has also been featured in “Marvel Rising.” That non-MCU animated franchise features a diverse group of young characters from the comics in a series and several films. Kahn appears alongside Squirrel Girl, Shuri, Spider-Gwen, America Chavez, Ironheart, and Patriot. Chavez and Ironheart are both slated to enter the MCU soon, with Chavez appearing in “Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” and Ironheart appearing in her own Disney Plus series.
It is not apparent whether the version of the character in the MCU will be tied to the Inhumans, as her comics counterpart is. The unique superhero family of the comics were featured in their own series “Marvel’s Inhumans” produced by Marvel Television and ABC Studios in 2017. That series remains among the least popular components of the ever-expanding MCU – it scores an 11% from critics and 44% from the audience currently on Rotten Tomatoes. If the Kahn character is not associated with the franchise she will have to be given a completely new origin story.
Kahn is being played by Vellani, who in real life is a teenager of Pakistani descent. This will be Vellani’s first role.
Ms. Marvel is set to be released next year and will be followed by Captain Marvel in 2022. Both will be part of the MCU’s current “Phase Four.”