Marvel’s New Muslim, Pakistani-American Heroine Brings Representation to MCU

Sarah Fidahussain, Student Life Editor

If you had told my younger self that there would be a Marvel superhero who is Muslim and a Pakistani-American I would never have believed it.

On Sept. 30, Screenrant released who Marvel cast as Kamala Khan AKA Ms. Marvel and they did not disappoint; casting newcomer Iman Vellani, a Pakistani-Canadian girl, has made history as Marvel’s first Muslim Pakistani-American heroine for the Disney+ series, “Ms. Marvel.”

Ms. Marvel is about a Muslim Pakistani-American girl from NJ who is a Marvel fanatic. She obtains shapeshifting powers from exposure to a mysterious mist.

When I first found out the show was being made, it felt surreal. As an avid Marvel fan who is also a Muslim Pakistani-American, I always felt disconnected from the standard “American” hero.

I was not the only one who was excited.

Pakistani-American actor Kumail Nanjiani who plays Kingo on Marvel’s “The Eternals” shared a tweet about the announcement: “I just saw they cast Ms. Marvel and legit got teary eyed. Congratulations Iman Vellani! Your work is going to mean so much to so many people, myself included. I can’t wait.”

Marvel has been taking steps to disassociate from the classic American hero stereotype with heroes like T’Challa from “The Black Panther,” Miles Morales from “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse,” and now Kamala Khan from “Ms. Marvel.”

For many Muslims and/or Pakistanis, having this type of representation from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a huge step and could give people a more broad and normalized view of what it means to be a Muslim teenager in America.

In today’s world where Islamophobia is present and certain races get zero representation in media, it is important that “Ms. Marvel” is represented authentically and free of harmful stereotypes.

No show has captured what it is like to grow up Pakistani-American. Eating traditional foods like lentils and rice, speaking Urdu and the importance we put on family is a foreign concept to so many.

I hope Ms. Marvel will show what it is like to grow up in an Americanized Pakistani household and deal with the struggles of being different from peers in a way that is entertaining for everyone.

I can’t wait to see Marvel “embiggen” their horizons with “Ms. Marvel.”