Nineteen-year-old Pakistani-Canadian actress Iman Vellani plays a superhero fan who finds she has her own powers like the heroes she looks up to in Disney+’s “Ms. Marvel” comic spinoff.
Vellani plays Marvel Comics’ Kamala Khan, a 16-year-old high school student and superhero fangirl who discovers she has powers of her own.
Like her character, Vellani is also a huge superhero fan, who made her own Ms. Marvel costume when she was 15.
“It’s so infectious. Her fascination and excitement about the Avengers are so shared with real-life Marvel fans and speaking as one, I just felt like I could slip into Kamala’s shoes very easily,” Vellani told Reuters. “That’s really all we were channeling throughout the filming of the show, just how I would react in real life.”
Ms. Marvel is seen as the biggest breakout star in Marvel Comics in the last decade and is also the first Muslim character to have her own comic book series.
“I really do hope that the show kind of inspires more Muslim and South Asian creatives to tell their stories because this is just one story about one girl,” Vellani said.
“We cannot represent all two billion Muslims and south Asians in the world… but hopefully this is a start and hopefully people do find some part of Kamala’s story that they relate to.”
As well as playing Khan in the television show, Vellani is set to team up with Brie Larson, who plays Captain Marvel, in the 2023 film “The Marvels.”
“Brie was the first person to reach out to me and kind of just share her own experiences of how this role has kind of changed her, her own career,” Vellani said.
“Marvel gives actors just an insane amount of, you know, attention and a huge fandom so it can be really overwhelming at times and I’m just so glad that she was there to kind of hold my hand and answer all my questions,” she added.