Disney Plus "Ms Marvel" TV Show Who's Who
Updated: Jan 2
Disney Plus has revealed its initial cast for the upcoming Ms Marvel series. This will be the MCU's first Muslim lead superhero series and first South Asian lead too. We have covered our own say in who we thought could be considered for the lead role and the supporting cast. We also wrote about other Muslim characters that Marvel could develop for future projects that could tie into Ms Marvel or be independent from her. They are all worth a read. But right now for this, we will cover a Who's Who on the upcoming series. Looking at the cast and compare them to their characters.
Family: Parents are Immigrants from Pakistan to Canada
Trivia: Ms Marvel is her first acting role
Role: Kamala Khan/Ms Marvel
So after all the fans suggesting their favourite choices for Kamala, from actresses like Maariah Hussain from Ackley Bridge to Duaa Karim from Man like Mobeen. Marvel had opted to cast a complete newcomer Canadian Pakistani Iman Vellani. Theres not much we can say or find about Iman. She is from a Pakistani Muslim background much like the character and fits the look perfectly so we can trust that marvel knows they've found a hidden gem with her. Interestingly she was a member of the TIFF Next Wave committee at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. She also is a fan of Ironman and Captain Marvel giving reviews on their films too. As part of this, Vellani spoke with CBC about her pick for best film at TIFF, choosing the film Hala. The film follows Muslim teenager Hala as she straddles between two cultures. Hala has to walk the line between her Muslim faith and Western values that live outside of this culture, which sounds eerily similar to themes tackled in the Ms. Marvel comics. On Hala, Vellani mentioned that she "was really able to relate" to the film: "I think the one that actually just spoke to me the most was this little film called Hala, and it was just beautiful the way that Minhal Baig, the director, projected her entire life story into this charming character of Hala who is this Pakistani-American-Muslim teenager with immigrant parents, actually just like myself, so I was really able to relate a lot to this film."
Vellani summarized some of the struggles that Hala undergoes in the film, which could influence how the actress will portray Kamala: "It basically just follows Hala just trying to live her life separate from her school life and her home life because they're so different with her parents just enforcing rules on her and trying to make her live life with their values and their beliefs that were mainly just present from their country, and now that she's in this Westernised society it's so hard for her to try to obey her parents while also keeping friendships and relationships."
Iman Vellani has a clear love for film, particularly toward those that are pertinent to social issues that affect audiences today: "I think [it]'s a really important film to see when you want to take a good look at a young member of society who's just trying to fit in to the best of both worlds." From reading this we can say Iman will definitely understand the cultural side of Kamala Khan's character. We look forward to seeing her in the show and reprise her role in the upcoming Captain Marvel film.
Ethnicity: Half Pakistani, Indian Half English, Irish and German
Skills: Wushu, Basketball
Family: His Father is of Pakistani and Indian heritage. His Mother Rhonda Knight is of German, Irish and English heritage
Trivia: Is a fan of Basketball and DC's Teen Titans
Role: Kareem/Red Dagger
Next in the cast is Aramis Knight. Eurasian American actor best known for his role as M.K in the Irish-American martial arts series Into The Badlands. For the role, he trained extensively in wushu with his co-star Daniel Wu. As a result it makes sense that Aramis would play a Pakistani martial arts teenage hero. Aramis has Pakistani and Indian heritage on his father's side so ethnically he will fit the role and this will be one of the rare times he can represent his Asian heritage. It's likely he will also do his own stunts for the role of Red Dagger as he did for M.K. Kareem aka Red Dagger is a Pakistani exchange student whose family is close friends with Khan Family. But he is also secretly a knife wielding vigilante by night. He and Kamala end up working together and share a romantic attraction, but it doesn't go anywhere as a far as we know. Red Dagger would be a favourite for young Asian Muslim men to see onscreen as it is rare to see that represented on TV or Films, bonus point for any Muslim men who are martial arts fans too like ourselves here at TheCsNetwork. What we can gladly say is that we predicted that Aramis would be one of the top contenders for Red Dagger in one of our previous articles and it turns out he actually a fan of DC's Teen Titans so... if DC is looking for a half Brown Asian actor to play Damian Wayne. You see Aramis would be perfect for the role.
Skills: Improv, Comedy, Host
Family: Happily married to Wahija Ibrahim
Trivia: Media Manager for Smuggler
Role: Amir Khan
Next up is another Pakistani American. This time we got actor and comedian Saagar Shaikh who is cast as Kamala's older brother Amir Khan. Saagar Shaikh is best known for his role as Harris Shaikh in the TV show Unfair and Ugly. The Comedy Drama series is about a South Asian Muslim family in America which feature Saagar's character as a somewhat Slacker with a "Goodie Two Shoes" Sister. This perfectly parallels Amir Khan's role in his family. He is known for being a fundamentalist and pious Muslim believing himself to be better devoted to God, despite his parents urging to get a job and integrate into society. Amir ends up married an African American revert Muslim named Tyesha Hillman and fathers a son with her named Malik. He ends up as a stay at home dad. While we don't know if this will be the same case for the MCU Amir, but we do look forward to seeing him gain his powers from Kamran trying to expose him to Terrigenesis (Or what Kamran though was terrigenesis). Amir develops the ability to conjure forcefields and shockwaves, defending his little sister from Kamran though he declares he doesn't want powers and is quite happy as a normal human. We would be interested to see where that would lead in the books and the MCU will Amir become a superhero or not?
Ethnicity: British Asian (Likely Pakistani, Indian or Bangladeshi)
Trivia: Has Tattoos on his back and arms
British Asian actor Rish Shah has been cast in the Ms Marvel series as one of her first unique villains. Rish Shah is best known in the UK as Asif in the TV series PrankMe and his role in the British Soap Opera Emmerdale where he plays bad boy Kirin Kotecha taking over the role from Adam Fielding. While Kirin is currently imprisoned it does give Rish Shah plenty of time to portray Kamran in the Ms Marvel series. Shah was also featured in Riaz Ahmed's shocking short film called "The Long Goodbye" as ironically a relative in the house named Karim. He will also appear in the upcoming American film To All The Boys: Always and Forever, Lara Jean as Ravi. Kamran in the Ms Marvel comics has a striking similar storyline to an minor Eastenders character actually. We may have mentioned it before but in the comics, Kamala's parents want Kamala to make friends with the son of a family friend named Kamran. Kamala is not keen remembering him to be a nerd but low and behold when she meets the teenage Kamran, he is much better looking and Kamala is smitten. Even better Kamran is interested in the same geeky stuff she is and is also an inhuman too. He can change his skin to a blow glowing crystal look and can manipulate energy to make object explode or hit with excessive force much like X-Men's Gambit. However it is all too good to be true as Kamran turns out to be an Inhuman supremicist jerk and part of a villainous team under Lineage. This leads to Kamran and Kamala becoming enemies. This is very similar to Eastenders character Shabnam Masood's (Zahra Ahmadi) storyline where her mum Zainab (Nina Wadia) tries to set her up with Jalil Iqbal (Jan Uddin), who Shabnam remembers as a geeky with "a face only a mother could love". She eventually comes face to face with the tall dark handsome Jalil and like Kamala is smitten by him, he even shares the double life of secretly clubbing at night but much like Kamran it was all too good to be true as Jalil is a sexist jerk and ends up being forced to leave. Though he is no where near as bad as Kamran, the similarities in the storyline has to make us wonder did the comic book writers of Kamala Khan and Kamran's relationship get inspired by the likes of Eastenders characters like Shabman Masood and Jalil Iqbal?
Height: 5'-5'3" Estimated
Skills: fluent in English, Hindi, likely Farsi too. Bharat Natyam Dancer
Trivia: Mentored by Pearl Padamsee
Role: Muneeba Khan
Now we have Indian actress Zenobia Shroff cast as the mother of our titular character. Zenobia Shroff started off acting in Mumbai under the tutelage of Pearl Padamsee. However she has immigrated to the United States and has begun to have positively growing career. Many of you guys may recognise her as Kumail Nanjiani's mum Sharmeen in the Big Sick, she has also appeared in The Resident as Himaya Pravesh and in The Affair as Priya Ullah (another example of a character having a Hindu first name and Muslim surname). Either way considering she is playing Kamala's mum Muneeba, we can expect a similar portrayal of Muneeba just like her portrayal of Sharmeen in the Big Sick. Sharmeen tends to be a worry wort mum and constantly trine set up her son with a wife. In the comics, Muneeba tends to worry about Kamala getting too interested in boys, but does attempt to set her up with Kamran and possibly Kareem later on so we can see the similarities.
Skills: Fluent in English, Punjabi and Hindi
Trivia: Hosted the British Format "Snakes & Ladders"
Role: Yusuf Khan
For Kamala's Father we have Indian Punjabi actor Mohan Kapur cast as Yusuf Khan. Unlike his onscreen wife, Mohan Kapur has had a pretty extensive career in India since 1979. Some of the bigger films he has been involved in are Bodyguard, Hostages, Jolly LLB and Sadak 2. Considering his great experience as an actor we can hope marvel made the right choice casting him as Kamala's father. Yusuf Khan in the comics tends to be a doting father too, wishing his daughter to do well in school and be a good modern muslim girl whilst wishing his overly religious son will at least try to get a job and integrate more. Many maybe firmiliar with the Yusuf Khan from the Marvel Avengers game where he tends to enjoy taking his daughter out to big nerdy events for her but tries to encourage to hide her Inhuman powers from the outside world due to AIM prosecuting the Inhuman. The poor man worries after Kamala goes missing and it's clear Kamala misses her family too. But in the end Yusuf warms to the idea of his daughter being a super hero.
Ethnicity: Possibly Dutch-Germanic based off Surname
Skills: possibly archery or aikido from Walking Dead role
Family: Mother Kelly Collins Lintz and Siblings Mackenzie, Madison and Macsen Lintz are all actors
Trivia: Macsen and Matt play Henry in the Walking Dead at different ages
Role: Bruno Carrelli
Next up is Matt Lintz. Many of us will have seen this young man in the Zombie TV show the Walking Dead as Henry. He is also Stevie Taggert in The Angel of Darkness TV show too. So fans of both series will know what to expect when they see him as Kamala Khan's best friend Bruno Carrelli. Bruno coming from a traditional Italian American background is one of the few characters that understand Kamala's struggle as a Pakistani American to a degree and tends to stick up for her against school Bully Zoe Zimmer. While Matt Lintz does not appear to be Italian American we can expect him to have enough experience to adapt to any part of Bruno's character that may or may not reference his heritage. A little bonus trivia, Matt Lintz actually auditioned for the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man in Civil War.
Ethnicity: Half Lebanese Half White
Skills: Singer, Taekwondo
Family: Her parents are Troy and Maysoun Fletcher. Her little sister is Rosa Fletcher
Trivia: Is Christian
Role: Nakia Bahadir
Kamala's other best friend would be Turkish American Muslim girl Nakia Bahadir. Whilst her father wishes her to be less religious and more integrated into western American society. Nakia is more proud of being conservative in her own right opting to wear the hijab and at the same time using an "Amreeki" nickname of "Kiki". In fact she and Kamala bonded as kids due to their share backgrounds both coming from an Asian American Muslim origins made them stand out from their peers despite Nakia being Turkish and Kamala being Pakistani. For the role of Nakia, Marvel has casted Yasmeen Fletcher, whilst she is of West Asian origin much like Nakia, she is half Lebanese Christian and not a Turkish Muslim. The fact a Christian actress is portraying a Muslim hijabi girl has sparked some controversy. Something the Spiderman: Far From Home film avoided when they cast British Asian Muslim actress Zoha Rahman as the Hijabi Student instead of a Christian actress which Zoha mentions in The Director's Cut Podcast. We don't know if this version of Nakia will be reinterpreted to be a Lebanese American Muslim or stick to the comics source material but we can hope Yasmeen does well to pull it off despite what people may think. Many will recognise Yasmeen for her role as Kaitlin in Andy Mack. She will also appear as Chandra in Upside Down Magic and Carly in Let Us In.
Height: 5'9" estimated
Skills: Bodybuilder, speaks Arabic possibly CQC from Military roles
Family: Parents are Syrian immigrants
Trivia: Studied at William Esper Studio New York with Classmates Kathryn Winnick and Angela Robinson
Role: Sheikh Abdullah
So Matt Murdock is known to be a Catholic and speak with a Father Lantom from his local church as a confident. Well the Khan and Bahadir families have the local imam Sheikh Abdullah. He may not to be as involved in Kamala's life as Lantom is for Matt, it is possible in this series several characters like Amir, Tyesha and Kareem may turn to him for advice or someone too confide in whenever they hit a difficult point in the series. It would be interesting if he is portrayed as being one the few characters that initially known Kamala's secret identity but we will have to wait till the series releases to see his role in the story. Bringing the Masjid's minister to life will be British Asian actor Laith Nakli. Laith comes from a British Syrian family but had migrated across the pond to study acting in New York where he will started his career. Being a bodybuilder he has had a few roles as military men such as when he played the legendary Sniper Juba in The Wall, he's played First Sergeant Wells in Recalled and Commander Ahmed Lal in 12 Strong. But many of you will know him for Uncle Naseem in Ramy. However Sheikh Abdullah will be a great deviation from the Boisterous jeweller we know him for.
Ethnicity: Black (unspecified)
Skills: ASL, American Football, possible some military skills from family
Family: Is an "Army Brat"
Trivia: Is Muslim and Vegan-ish
Role: Tyesha Hillman-Khan
Finally we have Tyesha Hillman an African American Lawyer who reverts to Islam and eventually meets and marries Kamala's big brother Amir Khan. Together they have a son named Malik Khan and that's all we have to her aside from her younger brother Gabe Hillman having issues with her reverting to Islam. It will be very interesting to see where the series will go with her especially with the possibility of the MCU expanding both her role and Amir's role. Her job as a Lawyer could potentially be brought into the forefront for any legal issues the main characters may face and can tie-in into She-Hulk and Daredevil franchise, even if its a lil hint or a throw away line. For the role of Tyesha, Marvel has cast comedian and actress Travina Springer who in real life did in fact revert to Islam during her adulthood and it is very likely her own experiences will be applied to Tyesha for authenticity. She also had a pretty funny story about "coming out" as Muslim to her parents. In fact we reckon you guys should see it for yourself go take a look down here.
Are you excited for the upcoming Ms Marvel series? What do you think of this cast? Tweet us @thecsnetwork and feel free to check out more of our news on our site.