Ms. Marvel will not only introduce a new hero into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it will also set the stage for the debut of newcomer Iman Vellani into the franchise. The upcoming Disney+ series is the actress' first major acting role, but Vellani seems not to be intimidated by that fact. Instead, the young actress has been vocal about her excitement about her acting gig, with her pointing out her love for the Marvel franchise as a whole.
A good chunk of Ms. Marvel's marketing was mainly focused on Vellani's love for the Marvel universe, with its first teaser actually showing the actress' reaction to being cast for the role. Kamala Khan's creator Sana Amanat also pointed out that Vellani's giddy energy and teenage enthusiasm are ideal for a character like Kamala Khan who "isn't your traditional Avenger."
Aside from being an outspoken Marvel fan, Vellani is also a self-proclaimed Iron Man advocate. Now, the actress has opened up about how her love for the Armored Avenger translated to her MCU role.
Ms. Marvel Actress Reveals Iron Man 'Restrictions'
Ms. Marvel lead star Iman Vellani sat down with SFX Magazine to talk about the upcoming Disney+ series and how Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige limited the referential role of Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man.
Vellani first admitted that she's a "huge, huge Iron Man fan," pointing out that she was asking "for more Iron Man references" in the series. However, it came to a point that Feige needed to step in to say that there were too many Easter eggs related to the Armored Avenger:
"I’m a huge, huge Iron Man fan. I know Kamala is more Captain Marvel, but I was very much asking for more Iron Man references in there. Like, 'I think she needs an Iron Man action figure, more Iron Man.' There was a point where we got to too much Iron Man, that was the note from Kevin!"
This isn't the first time that Vellani has been vocal about her love for Iron Man. In September 2021, the MCU newcomer shared an adorable short film featuring Iron Man, with a description expressing Vellani's love for Robert Downey Jr.: "Rdj if u see this ily."
When asked if she revisited 2008's Iron Man to prepare for Kamala's origin story, Vellani revealed that the first thing that she did when she was cast was to watch the movie, saying that she does that whenever "any big milestone" happens in the series:
"The first thing I did when I got cast was watch Iron Man again. It’s like my comfort movie. Any big milestone we would hit in the show, whether it was filming the scene where Kamala gets her costume or her powers, I would watch Iron Man. "It was my reminder that this character exists in the same universe as Tony Stark, which was just the coolest thing in the world for me."
The up-and-coming star also shared that it is "very fun" to create Kamala's story, teasing that "this is something new for the MCU:"
"Honestly, it is very fun to just create this story. This is something new for the MCU and it’s also a side of the MCU we haven’t seen before, the perspective of a teenage kid who’s obsessed with these Avengers."
Vellani also discussed Kamala's "imposter syndrome," admitting that she had a similar path "from high school to the Marvel universe:"
"Kamala has a lot of self-doubt and imposter syndrome. It’s a really fun thing to play because I was on a very similar path. I came from high school to the Marvel Universe. It’s like I was given the ultimate key, so I was dealing with a lot of imposter syndrome."
The Ms. Marvel actress also unveiled the fact that "the MCU hasn't seen a character like this before" while also discussing Kamala's "wonderful support system" in the series:
"Being the first of anything is very scary. The MCU hasn’t seen a character like this before. With Kamala and me, we have a wonderful support system. Her family is her rock and her friends in Bruno (Matt Lintz) and Nakia (Yasmeen Fletcher) in the show are the people that she goes to where she can be herself and where she can get her confidence from. For me, it’s also my family and my friends. I think it’s really awesome. Ultimately, we just see her become a badass superhero."
Where Iron Man Fits in Ms. Marvel: AvengerCon
Although Iman Vellani is a passionate Iron Man fan, it wouldn't make sense for the series to showcase tons of references to Robert Downey Jr.'s Marvel hero.
Still, given that the show is set within the larger MCU, there could still be Easter eggs related to the founding Avenger member, but they could just be sprinkled throughout the series. For example, She-Hulk already has a reference to Stark Industries in its official trailer footage, meaning that there's a strong chance that Ms. Marvel will earn a similar treatment.
The most plausible way for Ms. Marvel to pay tribute to Iron Man is in the show's AvengerCon plot thread. The series' official merchandise already featured tons of references to other MCU heroes like the Hulk and Thor, and given Tony Stark's popularity, it's reasonable to assume that the Armored Avenger will be showcased as well.
Meanwhile, Vellani's remark about her stark similarities with her Kamala Khan character is significant, mainly because it could very well translate on screen. Ms. Marvel's marketing already showed fans a glimpse of the actress' portrayal, and the high praise that she is getting from the executives solidifies the claim that she is indeed the perfect star to give life to the Pakistani-American hero.
Ms. Marvel is set to premiere on Disney+ on June 8.