Ms. Marvel is about to make its Disney+ debut, and fans of the character cannot wait. In recent years, Kamala Kahn has become beloved amongst the comic community, bringing her youthful super-fan energy and diverse heritage to a medium that had been so absent of such elements up to that point. In her MCU streaming series, Kamala will be played by Iman Vellani, a Marvel Studios mega enthusiast in her own right.
The Ms. Marvel comic was such a breath of fresh air for many when it hit store shelves back in 2014. The book offered fans a chance to see themselves in this super-powered universe, while also showcasing what it is like to grow up as a first-generation immigrant.
The upcoming Kamala-centered MCU series will incorporate all these elements in its six-episode run. Something that is wholly new for the show, though, is an effort to incorporate animated elements and splashes akin to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse. Early reviews of the project have praised these small flourishes, and Ms. Marvel's directors have spoken out on these specific elements in advance of its first episode's debut.
A Pop of Color for Ms. Marvel
In a recent press conference for the upcoming Ms. Marvel series, directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah addressed the show's distinct style.
El Arbi said that the animated flourishes were them trying to "find a way to translate her imagination and her fantasy worlds in a cool way." He expressed that the team was nervous to go to Kevin Feige and Marvel with this idea as "it's different from the other shows in the MCU," but after some explaining of the Into the Spider-Verse-connected concept, Feige said "it's true to the story and the character, [so] let's do it:"
"Well, I guess it's about the animation. For us, we always wanted to find a way to translate her imagination and her fantasy worlds in a cool way. That's where we came up with the idea of injecting that animation aspect to it. But we were a bit afraid that Kevin and the rest of Marvel would say no because it's different from the other shows in the MCU. So we made a whole presentation with videos and all that explaining why it was important to have those sequences. And, surprisingly, he said yes! He said, 'Don't go overboard, don't do it every five seconds, but it's true to the story and the character, let's go for it.' That's how we had that style. It's also very inspired by Into the Spider-Verse, so, thank you Kevin for allowing us to do that."
Looking deeper into why exactly these Spider-Verse-esque elements were introduced, El Arbi told Deadline that they "wanted to have an endearing and charming character" who "Muslim girls all over the world can relate to:"
"We needed to set her up right. That’s why we wanted to add animation to it. It was not in the script, we wanted to get into her head, into her fantasy. We wanted to have an endearing and charming character. And have someone that Muslim girls all over the world can relate to, but also tell that universal story everybody can feel a connection with."
A Much-Needed Inspiration for the MCU
When it comes to these younger superheroes (i.e. Peter Parker, America Chavez, and Kamala Khan), that blissfully youthful imagination is one of the most endearing parts of the character. While other names in the MCU have not personified this active imagination on-screen as of yet, Ms. Marvel will change that. And what better character to debut something like this with.
At this point in the MCU, it is getting harder and harder to make something that feels distinct, yet also part of the greater universe. Staying true to the character from which each project is drawing is where the differences start to pop up. With The Falcon and the Winter Soldier fans got an international spy thriller, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness offered a peek at an MCU horror movie, and Ms. Marvel is going to be a 'cheesy' high school coming of age comedy. Each of these titles delivers different experiences based on what makes each character special.
And that is where the unique style of Ms. Marvel comes into play. Since its titular hero is a young Avengers super-fan with an overly active imagination, audiences are going to get to be brought right into her brain, seeing the world for how she sees it. It's a style that worked so well in a similarly youthful project in Into the Spider-Verse, and it seems to be working just as swimmingly here.
Ms. Marvel debuts on Disney+ on June 8.