More so than ever before, the MCU is adding more content for its younger demographic with younger actors filling some of the most important roles as Phase 4 moves along. Tom Holland leads the way in this effort on the movie side with Spider-Man: No Way Home and Marvel's next Disney+ series will continue that trend with Iman Vellani's Ms. Marvel.
Taking inspiration straight from her comic counterpart, Ms. Marvel will show Kamala Khan's place in the MCU as a die-hard Avengers fangirl before gaining her own set of powers. The show will also give fans the best look yet into the life of an everyday high school kid living in a world with Earth's Mightiest Heroes in a coming-of-age Disney+ series.
Taking on the first role of her career as an actor, Iman Vellani has already embraced the character in every aspect as viewers learn just how big of an MCU fan she's been since long before she got the part in the MCU. Now, her Marvel Studios bosses are even comparing her to some of the top names to lead the franchise over the past few years.
Feige Compares Ms. Marvel Star to Spidey Actor
In the latest issue of Empire Magazine, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige compared Ms. Marvel actress Iman Vellani to Tom Holland, who's played the MCU's Spider-Man for the past six years.
Feige called Vellani "a much bigger Marvel fan than we realized" as he noted how she always writes down ideas and thoughts in a notebook that she carries around with her on set. He made it clear that he and the team worked with Vellani to bring her ideas into the show since she's the kind of fan that would share her thoughts on Marvel's decisions after the fact anyway:
“Much like Tom Holland and and Peter Parker, Iman is a much bigger Marvel fan than we realized. “(On set) she carries this Unabomber notebook with her everywhere, with her scribbles and ideas. And why wouldn’t we want to hear them? Not just because she’s playing the lead, she’d be commenting on the show online. So better comment before the show’s done, and try to incorporate some of those ideas.”
Sana Amanat, the character's co-creator, noted how Vellani showed her "literally a closet full" of Iron Man merchandise after she was cast in the role. She even showed Feige a list that she wrote featuring close to 50 questions concerning the MCU, said to be "really granular stuff," which Feige now keeps in his home office.
Amanat heaped heavy praise upon Vellani for the skills she showed during her screen test for the role beyond the "passion and...neediness" that Kamala Khan puts on display:
“She really encompasses the character, not just in her passion and her neediness. She has this sense of soulfulness and maturity that is beyond her years. In one screen-test she flipped in maybe a minute from very awkward and teenager-like to very sad and wanting, and that’s hard to do for someone with no experience acting.”
Ms. Marvel head writer Bisha K. Ali added to that commentary by saying how Vellani truly embodied the role perfectly after working on the story for the previous year:
“The day I met her I was like ‘Oh, I’m talking to the character that we’ve been agonizing over for the past year.’ Draft after draft, I could hear my dialogue in her mouth.”
Ms. Marvel Star Earning High Praise
Almost nobody in the MCU has proven to be a bigger fan of the franchise than Tom Holland, whose enthusiasm for his own character and others always shines. Now, it's becoming evident that Iman Vellani boasts that same kind of enthusiasm for the MCU as she brings her own input and style to the role of Kamala Khan for the first time.
Last fall, fans got a glimpse into how big of an MCU fan Vellani is thanks to a short film focused on Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man, showing just how long she's supported the long-standing franchise. Now, even with her character in the MCU being that same kind of Avengers fan, Feige and the show's staff see another young star who's fully dedicated to pushing the story forward and helping it evolve.
While it remains to be seen if Vellani will hit the same peaks that Holland has over the last few years, she's off to an impressive start in that regard already.
Ms. Marvel will debut on Disney+ on June 8.