Iman Vellani, 19, took on the role of Ms. Marvel in the latest Marvel series on Disney+. She says she will never forget the day she was told she got the job
Image: Getty Images)
Iman Vellani’s last day of school was good training for her role as Marvel’s first Muslim superhero.
She hadn’t told her pals she had auditioned for Disney Plus’ six-part TV series Ms. Marvel – so when they found out, there was a lot of drama.
Iman, 19, said: “I will never forget him. It was the last day of high school and my friends didn’t know I had auditioned.
“I was in my friend’s car and I get a text from our casting directors saying to follow this link.
“I got out of the car, opened the link, and it was Marvel president Kevin Feige who said I got the job.
“I was freaking out with my friends looking at me in complete confusion because I hadn’t told them.
“They thought I had won the lottery or something.
“I told them everything and then we had burritos. It was a good day.”
Pakistani-born Iman plays Kamala Khan on the show – part of the new generation of female-led superheroes and ethnically diverse characters.
Kamala is 16, from Jersey City, and obsessed with The Avengers, especially Captain Marvel. She loves the way superheroes fight crime and look cool while they do it.
Like her character, Iman, who moved to Canada when she was one, is also a huge comic book fan.
And she says reading Ms. Marvel comics has helped her through some tough times.
“I identify with her a lot,” Iman said. “I think we can identify with that feeling of not fitting in. I also totally relate to the fact that she is a giant nerd.
“That fascination and excitement for The Avengers is so real… something every fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will get.
“Ms. Marvel is a story about identity and reconnecting with your past and your culture.
“Kamala is so many different things, but we really decided to subvert all of these labels and expectations thrown at her.
“She’s not just Muslim, she’s not just Pakistani, she’s this amalgamation of a hundred different things that make her who she is.
“If we don’t have the same effect on people that the comics had on me, I’ll be really disappointed.”
The first episode of Ms. Marvel was released on Wednesday in the UK on Disney+.
The show’s executive producer, Sana Amanat, who co-created the comic, said, “It’s a coming-of-age story…it’s a young woman discovering the world.
“I like that we have a lot more Muslim representation – but so far there haven’t been any women.”