Sandra Saad – who plays the role of Ms Marvel in the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers game – says her character’s identity is so important because she isn’t defined by her difference as a Muslim, but is a “fully-actualised” character.
Take Marvel, for example. Over the last couple of years, the franchise has increased the representation of women and people of colour both on and off screen – just recently, Nia DaCosta was signed on to direct the Captain Marvel sequel, making her the first Black woman to direct a Marvel movie. And at the beginning of 2020, the president of Marvel Studios confirmed that more LGBTQ+ characters would be coming to the MCU in 2020/21.
With all this being said, when it comes to representing new voices and identities, the importance of making these characters fully-formed and multi-dimensional – opposed to them being defined by their ‘difference’ – is often understated. And that’s what makes the character of Ms Marvel – who is one of the lead characters in the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers game – so ground breaking.
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As Sandra Saad – who plays Kamala Khan/Ms Marvel in the new game – told The Independent, her character’s identity as a Muslim is so powerful because it’s just one part of her fully-actualised backstory.
“Kamala’s not a token – she’s a real person,” Saad explained. “I feel like, all too often, when you do see Muslim characters – or specific characters that have something about them that’s different – they focus really heavily on that and that’s all that becomes of the character.”
Saad continued: “The great thing about Kamala Khan is she’s not just Muslim. She’s not just Pakistani. She’s not just hopeful. She’s a fully actualised three-dimensional character with a life, a background and a family. She’s a first-generation American – she’s a lot.”
Although Ms Marvel has appeared in other video games, Saad is the first actor to take on the role as a lead character. Her words come after Disney confirmed last year that they are working on a Ms Marvel TV series, which is set to air on Disney+ sometime in late 2021 or early 2022.
Very little is known about the new show – Saad’s role as Ms Marvel in the upcoming game is unrelated – so we’re looking forward to learning more about the series as more information is released. The only thing we do know so far is that Bisha K Ali – who lead the team behind Mindy Kaling’s Four Weddings and a Funeral Hulu series – is being hotly tipped to lead the writer’s room.
For now then, fans of Ms Marvel will just have to wait and see what’s coming next for this incredible character – if one thing’s for sure, we’re very excited.