The $16.4 billion-dollar Marvel Cinematic Universe, history's most profitable movie franchise, has made most of its money off films about white dudes kicking alien, robot, and evil scientist ass. But after Black Panther raked in $1.3 billion this year, it seems like Marvel Studios is taking the hint that people want more representation in their comic book movies. Late last week, the company signaled it'll be giving fans what they crave—announcing plans to bring the MCU's first female Muslim superhero to the big screen.
In an interview with the BBC, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said a film including Ms. Marvel—a.k.a Kamala Khan, a 16-year-old Muslim girl from New Jersey—is "definitely sort-of in the works."
"We have plans for that once we’ve introduced Captain Marvel to the world," Feige said.
In the comics, Khan isn't the first woman to fight evil under the name Ms. Marvel. She was originally the female counterpart to Captain Marvel, a character moviegoers had to Google after that Avengers: Infinity War ending, whose secret identity was Carol Danvers. Danvers—who's getting her own standalone film starring Brie Larson—ditched the "Ms." moniker when she took over for the recently deceased Captain Marvel, giving Khan a chance to take the reins.
Khan, herself a superhero nerd, idolizes Danvers. After she discovers her superhuman ability to kick ass by shape-shifting and lengthening her arms and legs, Khan dons a shalwar kameez-inspired red, blue, and yellow costume and gets to work. Inspired by creator Sana Amanat's own experiences growing up Muslim in America, Khan still has to balance crime-fighting with her medical studies and the expectations of her family.
There aren't too many details on which upcoming films Khan might appear in, or the role she might play in patching the Thanos-sized hole Infinity War poked in the galaxy. But Marvel's fanbase is already psyched on the new character—wasting no time in arguing about who should play the Muslim ambassador to the MCU, and warning producers not to make the mistake of whitewashing the role.
Bringing a young, female Muslim into the biggest thing to happen to movies since the sequel is a strong move on Marvel's part. Let's just hope it doesn't pull another Doctor Strange on us.
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