In the past decade, two Marvel Comics characters have been breakout sensations: Deadpool and Ms. Marvel. The former has already seen his renown translated to the wider world via the silver screen, with a monster-hit film under his mercenary’s belt and a sequel on the way this weekend. The latter character hasn’t yet made the leap to the cineplex, but that’s likely to change in the not-so-distant future — and some familiar names want in on the action.
But before we get to all that, you’re probably asking yourself, who is Ms. Marvel? Well, Ms. Marvel was once the alter ego of a character named Carol Danvers, who has Superman-esque powers and has been punching around the Marvel universe since the late 1960s. In 2012, Marvel’s leadership saw fit to have Carol adopt the name Captain Marvel, a title previously held by multiple meta-human figures. (She still goes by that name, and will star in a movie that bears it next year.) For a few years, “Ms. Marvel” was a defunct moniker. Then, along came Sana Amanat.
A Pakistani-American from New Jersey, Amanat had been an editor at Marvel since 2009. In a conversation with fellow editor Steve Wacker, Amanat concocted the notion of a superhero with a similar background to her own. They reached out to writer (and practicing Muslim) G. Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona, and, as a result of the quartet’s efforts, a new character was born: Kamala Khan. She was to be a teenage Muslim, Pakistani-American hero from Jersey City, and she made her debut in 2014. She’s what’s called an Inhuman (yes, like the terrible canceled TV series), and her unique genetic makeup allows her to heal quickly and grow and shrink at will. Her starring series, Ms. Marvel, was an unexpected smash, with the first issue going to print run after print run and the collected edition of the first story line becoming a best seller. She’s become a staple of Marvel’s printed output, with her Wilson-penned solo title dishing out consistently engrossing monthly tales of city-saving and teenage introspection.
Of course, the true sign of a superhero’s success these days is getting into a major motion picture. Fans have clamored for a big-screen Kamala for years, and it looks like their wish may soon be granted. A few days ago, Marvel Studios grand pooh-bah Kevin Feige told the BBC, “Ms. Marvel, which is another character in the comic books, the Muslim hero who is inspired by Captain Marvel, is definitely sort of in the works. We have plans for that once we introduce Captain Marvel.” Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will know that a Captain Marvel movie has been in the works for years (now starring Oscar-winner Brie Larson as the titular heroine) and that it was recently teased at the end of Infinity War.
A couple of days later, perhaps inspired by this news, Riz Ahmed — himself of Pakistani descent — took to Twitter to state for the record that he wants to write a Ms. Marvel movie. But he doesn’t want to do it alone — he tagged fellow people of South Asian descent Kumail Nanjiani and Mindy Kaling as potential co-scribes.
Amanat was intrigued.
Matters escalated when Kaling popped in to say that, not only was she game, she’s an avid reader of the source material.
Wilson, upon seeing this commotion, was overwhelmed.
Ahmed responded by saying he’d be willing to take a back seat to the creative direction of Wilson and Amanat.
But Wilson said the Hollywood types should feel free to take the lead.
Okay, so, obviously, people in the geekosphere are losing their minds over all of this. It’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that Feige and his people are paying attention and might be intrigued. But even if a movie doesn’t work out, a comics project might come to pass. Amanat first raised the possibility.
Kaling seemed up for it.
And a meeting was offered.
As of now, Nanjiani has yet to weigh in. Could all of this materialize into something? Nerds wouldn’t be crazy to embiggen their expectations.