Ms. Marvel: Stretching the Limits

Sage Suddleson, Staff Writer (they/them)

On March 15, the Marvel Entertainment YouTube channel posted the first full trailer for the upcoming series Ms. Marvel, which is set to release on Disney+ on June 8. This isn’t the first look that viewers have had – a couple of teaser trailers have been released – but this trailer showed more than the other teasers and gave us a complete look at what we can expect from the upcoming series.

The trailer opens with sketched details and a remix of “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd and proceeds to highlight Kamala’s (Iman Vellani) struggles as she navigates life with superpowers, her Pakistani-American and Muslim identity, boys, and other hallmarks of teenage life.

Ms. Marvel is the superhero identity of the Muslim and Pakistani-American teenager Kamala Khan, who was first introduced in Captain Marvel #14 (released in August 2013). Kamala lives in Jersey City, and her powers include elongation of her limbs and body, size altering, super strength when in her altered enlarged form, an advanced healing factor, and shapeshifting, (which she uses very rarely compared to her other powers).

Kamala has been lauded by critics and fans alike as a compelling character who resonates with many people all across the world.

With the new series, many fans are excited to see a great character like Kamala and her world come to the big screen. However, many of the casting choices made by Marvel have left fans angry, disappointed, and wary of how the show will turn out. For example, Yasmeen Fletcher, a half-white, Christian actress has been cast as Nakia Bahadir, a Turkish Muslim character who wears a hijab. This is concerning to many fans, who have expressed concerns about a non-Muslim playing a character who wears a hijab. Some think that they cast a Christian actress because the role might involve her taking off the hijab or it falling off, a problematic trope that often happens to hijabi characters.

The casting of actress Zenobia Shroff as Kamala’s mother, Muneeba Khan, was also met with criticism, as Zenobia Shroff is Indian, not Pakistani, and she is not Muslim. Shroff and Fletcher have a past in Disney productions. Twitter user @MsMarvelNews represents the views of many in saying “Finally, Zenobia Shroff as well as Yasmeen Fletcher both have had roles at Disney, so it gives me the impression that they hired the nearest brown people for these roles and didn’t put time and effort into these castings.” (as quoted in Farid-ul-Haq’s article for The Geekiary, “Understanding the #FixMsMarvel Movement About Disney’s ‘Ms. Marvel’ Series”)

One actor in the series has been accused of supporting Donald Trump, and another likely to be in the series has been accused of multiple Title IX violations. It remains to be seen whether the Ms. Marvel show will be able to save itself and its reputation from the controversies it has generated.