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Why Iman Vellani Is The Perfect Choice To Write Ms. Marvel

Contains spoilers for "Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant" #1

Actress Iman Vellani is not only bringing Ms. Marvel to life on the small and big screens, she's also breaking new ground for the hero in the comics. Marvel Comics has announced Vellani, who portrays Kamala Khan in the "Ms. Marvel" live-action series and will reprise the role in the upcoming "The Marvels" movie, will co-write the new "Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant" miniseries. And while Vellani may be a surprising choice to write the new comic, she's also the perfect choice to do so.

Ms. Marvel has had a very transformative time in the comics recently. The fan-favorite character was controversially killed off in "The Amazing Spider-Man," leaving the character's future with the publisher surrounded in mystery until Marvel announced Vellani would co-write her new ongoing book with Sabir Pirzada, with art by Carlos Gomez and Adam Gorham. "Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant" will see Kamala reborn as a mutant following her recent death, aligning the comic book version of the hero with the MCU's live-action adaptation. In talking about the project, Vellani, who has repeatedly proven she deeply cares about the character and her comic book roots, assures readers that her stories won't forget about the character's past.

Ultimately, Marvel couldn't have made a better pick to tackle the comic.

Iman Vellani's history with Ms. Marvel

Before Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige cast Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel, she was already a huge fan of the character and Marvel Comics as a whole. In an interview with Marvel.com, Vellani shared how her love of the character Iron Man led to her reading every "Invincible Iron Man" comic she could find. The actress has expressed enthusiasm for other characters, possessing the same fangirl mindset when it comes to Marvel as Kamala Khan has in the comics. Vellani even wore a Ms. Marvel Halloween costume when she was 15, years before she landed the role. Vellani's comic book fandom runs so deep, she even refuses to call the MCU Earth-616, correctly expressing that the main Marvel comic book universe had the title first and the movies shouldn't have co-opted it.

From the second Marvel introduced Iman as the new Ms. Marvel, it was obvious they made the right choice. Despite the character's powers changing when shifting from comics to the "Ms. Marvel" show, Vellani perfectly brought to life the curious, plucky, awkward teen who first appeared in G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona's original comic. Vellani's portrayal of Kamala Khan is extremely authentic and endearing, much like Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man, and similarly, it's now hard to imagine anyone else ever playing her in live-action. The 20-year-old Pakistani Canadian's passion, genuine connection, and care for Ms. Marvel is truly something special, so to see her make the jump from the MCU to the comic book page is a welcome sight. Iman doesn't just get what makes Kamala great — she embodies it. 

Representation matters with Ms. Marvel

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has made notable efforts in recent years to become more diverse and reflective of the wide array of different characters in the comics, as well as people in the real world. "Ms. Marvel" in particular represented a notable attempt to make a show that embraced the character's life, culture, and religion to a degree often not seen in superhero properties, showcasing a Muslim hero in the Marvel Universe for the first time. While the representation wasn't perfect, it was much better than any MCU project before it, with the writers, directors, and actors working on the show coming from diverse backgrounds. Meanwhile, as its star, Iman Vellani tapped into her experience as a Pakistani Canadian to provide an authentic performance. "Ms. Marvel" felt like it broke new ground and set the stage for how MCU productions should be built moving forward.

Iman Vellani will be the fourth consecutive diverse voice to tackle Kamala Khan's ongoing story. Muslim writer G. Willow Wilson (with Adrian Alphona) created the character alongside Sana Amanat, Stephen Wacker, and Jamie McKelvie, making Ms. Marvel the popular character she is today. Muslim writer Saladin Ahmed took over the reins with "The Magnificent Ms. Marvel," alongside artist Minkyu Jung. The hero's most recent series, "Ms. Marvel: Beyond the Limit," tapped South Asian writer Samira Ahmed and artist Andrés Genolet. Vellani is a legitimate super fan of the character, understands her journey more than most, having grown up in a similar background as Khan, and is highly knowledgeable of her comic book adventures. While picking an actor from the MCU to write an ongoing series starring the character they play might seem odd, Vellani intrinsically gets what makes Ms. Marvel special and has literally embodied her. Regardless of her writing experience, the actress knows Kamala. 

Vellani isn't ignoring the character's past

While the news of Ms. Marvel becoming a mutant initially had fans concerned the new comic might retcon her Inhuman origin, Iman Vellani confirmed that isn't going to happen and the series will make sure the character's past remains intact.

"[Her Inhuman origin is] a part of Kamala's identity that Marvel editorial and myself would very much like to keep and protect," Vellani told EW. "Our book will absolutely reflect all those core themes of identity that the 'Ms. Marvel' comics have consistently explored — only now there's a whole new label that Kamala has to learn to accept. It's going to be pretty crazy."

Additionally, Vellani revealed Ms. Marvel's powers won't be changed from her stretchy powers in the comics to her energy-based powers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She expressed excitement about not having to worry about budgets or effects when it came to portraying Kamala Khan's powers on the page, saying, "Oh my God, I love it. You can do anything with those stretchy powers. I like to make it a little vague enough for the artist to surprise me when I get the sketches back, and they always do. It's honestly so liberating to be able to pitch ideas and everything gets accepted because they can just draw it."

Vellani's promise that her series will protect Ms. Marvel's Inhuman origin and won't try to change Kamala's powers to reflect the MCU shows she cares about her comic roots and isn't trying to mess with the character. Instead, it sounds as if she's embracing what makes Kamala such a fantastic hero. Yes, Ms. Marvel will undergo significant changes as a new mutant, but Vellani's story will ensure it doesn't come at the expense of her past.

Iman Vellani is helping to forge a new path for the hero

Iman Vellani being chosen to co-write "Ms. Marvel" is probably the best-case scenario for readers after the recent turbulence surrounding the hero's controversial death, which many, if not most, fans considered to be poorly handled. Vellani has the chance to forge a path for Kamala Khan as a newly-minted mutant that could eventually be adapted into her own live-action portrayal. Given Vellani's passion, care, and understanding of what makes Kamala such an important and beloved part of the Marvel Universe, fans should have confidence that whatever happens in her new adventures will be well-considered and worthwhile. Vellani might not have professional experience in the comic book medium, but considering her bona fide superfan status, she represents everything readers should want in someone penning the next chapter of Ms. Marvel's adventures.

Check out Artgerm's cover for "Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant" #1 with the accompanying text synopsis for Issue #1 below.

After being brought back via Krakoan Resurrection Technology, Kamala is shocked to learn she is mutant. But before she has a chance to come to terms with this revelation, the catastrophic FALL OF X will throw her world into chaos...and a secret mission on behalf of the X-Men.

Iman Vellani's run scripting Kamala Khan's new adventures begins when "Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant" #1 arrives in comic book stores and online retailers on August 30, 2023.