Ms. Marvel has landed on Disney+, and audiences seem to be enjoying it far more than early discourse would have suggested. Despite some dramatic shifts in the character’s power set and origins, Kamala Khan’s debut project has been a hit amongst both critics and fans alike. While the character will go on to team up with Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel in next year's The Marvels, Iman Vellani’s show introduced a different ally in the most recent installment.
Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers for Episode 4 of Ms. Marvel.
In the most recent outing from Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan ran into Aramis Knight’s Kareem, also known as Red Dagger. He is a local vigilante in Karachi and also happens to hold a very important mantle that has persisted for hundreds of years.
What was his journey getting to the place he was in for this fourth installment? And what might the future hold for the character? Thankfully, The Direct was able to sit down with the actor bringing the Karachi vigilante to life, where he discussed making Kareem a reality.
Ms. Marvel Meets Red Dagger
In an exclusive interview with The Direct’s Russ Milheim, Ms. Marvel actor Aramis Knight, who plays Kareem in the series, opened up about his character’s debut in Episode 4, the mysterious organization he represents, and what his future might look like in the MCU.
So how long have the Red Daggers been around? Knight noted how they’ve been going “for hundreds of years,” and have always “been fighting for a safer Karachi:”
“I think the Red Daggers as a society have been around for hundreds of years. And I think the mantle has been passed down quite a few times. I think after Waleed, comes Kareem, I think after Kareem comes someone else. I don't think that our cause has changed a lot over the years. I think that we've always been fighting for a safer Karachi. Not only with, you know, stopping crime, but [also], the [Clandestine’s] realm is something that has existed forever, for sure. And it's something that we've studied for hundreds of years. So I think this is a society that has been around for much longer than what you're seeing and will be around for hundreds of years, even after that. It's a very important cause that we fight for. So I definitely think that there was many before us and will be many after.”
While the organization likely focuses on other threats as well, the actor mentioned how he believes “the Clandestines are one of their number one things… [to] study… [and] want to know about:”
“I would say that the Clandestines are one of their number one things that they study that they [and] want to know about. And I also think that Kamala coming to the red daggers is kind of perfect timing, because she's also learning so much about herself from us, you know, we know way more about her powers more about her heritage, her background than even she does. So when she comes to us, we're able to, I think, really, like shed some light on some things that are seemingly impossible to understand for her.”
He continued, revealing that he believes “Kareem grew up as a Red Dagger,” and that they're “years and years of training” that goes into taking on the mantle.
“I think that Kareem grew up as a Red Dagger. I think he became the Red Dagger. Probably within you know, a few years that you need him. Waleed is definitely his mentor. He's definitely his point and his greatest ally. But I think it's years and years and years of training that goes into being a Red Dagger and Kareem being kind of the head Red Dagger, I think he's been around for some time.”
In the comics, Kareem does, at one point, head off to Jersey City in order to help watch over Kamala’s turf while she’s out and about. What are the odds that viewers will see that play out?
Knight “think[s] that there’s a possibility that Kareem makes it into the states,” but that “first [they] need a green light for season two:”
“I definitely think that there's a possibility that Kareem makes it into the states. That's obviously not my call… but I personally would love to be involved with, you know, everyone... and I think it's certainly a possibility, but we'll have to wait and see. First, we need a green light for season two and then yeah, then we can start to speculate.”
As for what he did in preparation for the role, a big part of it was “lots of dialect training,” as he “wanted to make people have to google whether I was American or not:”
“So, lots of dialect training, obviously, because it's a completely new dialect for me... born and raised in California. So not only did I have to learn a new dialect, I also had to, you know, really put myself in the shoes of someone who's born in Karachi. And I wanted it to feel super authentic. I wanted to make people have to google whether I was American or not. That's really what I was going for. Luckily, for me, you know, Karachi [accents are] all very different. There's lots of different types of Karachi accents. So, for me, it was like figuring out a very realistic one. And Kareem is someone who's, you know, probably highly educated, probably educated and an English schooling system. So there's a lot of English influence with the accent. But more than that, just understanding the culture of Karachi, I think really [helped me] set into the character.”
By the end of the episode, Kareem was able to take part in a massive chase through the streets of Karachi. The actor behind the red scarf revealed that the whole sequence “took [them] a week to shoot all of it,” and that the entire process “definitely made [him] feel like an action star:”
“Ah, that whole week was just amazing. It took us a week to shoot all of that. And a lot of it was practical, you know that truck was all practical, the flip was all practical, some of the crashes. I just felt like a total action star. We had Gary Powell directing our action unit. He’s a legendary action guy. He did Jason Bourne and James Bond. So he knew what he was doing. And he definitely made me feel like an action star that day, that week, I should say.”
Does Red Dagger Have an MCU Future?
It’s great to hear how up for a return Aramis Knight is. He seemed to be pretty confident that there could be a future where his Red Dagger could adopt the comics and end up sending him to New Jersey to protect Kamala’s territory while she’s away.
After all, there is the upcoming The Marvels movie, where the young hero will likely be in space for some time. Sure seems like she might want someone covering her turf. Maybe a potential Ms. Marvel season 2 could see Kamala returning to her home, where Kareem has gotten quite comfortable with being the city's protector.
There will also inevitably be a Young Avengers team-up that Kamala Khan will almost certainly be a part of. This could easily help keep Red Dagger busy in the states, though he'll more than likely want to return to Karachi eventually.
Outside of wherever he happens to be placed, since both he and his organization watch over various dimensions and such, it could be organic for them to start interacting with Doctor Strange's side of the world—especially once the Multiverse itself starts to break down for the rumored Secret Wars project. After all, if Kareem finds himself in New Jersey, that's only a train ride away from the Sanctum Santorum.
Fans will have to wait and see how everything unfolds in the final two episodes and then see how that might set up a second-season adventure for Kalama Khan.
Ms. Marvel is now streaming on Disney+, with new episodes every Wednesday.