Actor-writer Iman Vellani’s enthusiasm jumps off the screen during her latest interview on Marvel.com. She’s the co-writer of the newest Ms. Marvel run of comics alongside Sabir Pirzada, and her first venture into comic writing is on an international scale. She is, as you might remember, the actor who was tapped to play Kamala Khan (aka Ms. Marvel) in the Disney+ series; now, in addition to starring in the upcoming movie The Marvels, the 21-year-old has added comic book writer to her resume.
“It’s [surreal that] the words that I’m writing I wrote in my childhood bedroom and now people are going to read it in their homes,” said Vellani in the interview, describing comic books as “a much more personal” endeavor than a movie—the team is 10 people instead of a thousand.
Vellani says that it was “so fun” to take on the new mutant run “because for Kamala, she’s already dealt with so many different labels. She’s been an Avenger, she’s been an Inhuman, a Champion, Pakistani, Muslim.” And while Kamala may think that being a mutant won’t change anything, “little does she realize that this new suit, the new colors, they bear so much more weight than she was expecting.”
She describes some of the problems Kamala is going to face in the wake of Orchis’ Hellfire Gala attack. Vellani says that Kamala is “sent on this mission to find out what Orchis is up to under the Empire State University grounds,” but her naivety leads her to underestimate what Orchis is capable of. She quickly finds that Orchis has been “experimenting on Chitauri,” and must figure out how the Omega Sentinel ties into her atypical college experience. Essentially, Kamala “has to learn a lot about herself and a lot about the magnitude of discrimination that the mutants are facing. It’s a big arc that she gets to face.”
There’s another part of the comic that Vellani is really excited about: “There are a lot of pages that take place in Kamala’s dream world.” She describes that the characters Kamala meets there are “extensions of Kamala’s psyche and reflections of who she is,” which is a wonderful callback to when Kamala was first introduced and made into a superpowered person via the Terrigen Mists. Kamala immediately transformed into Carol Danvers—an image of the superhero she would become later on.
“I think that journey that she goes on in her mind is honestly super fascinating and it’s something that I really wanted,” Vellani explains. “That was the first thing I pitched to editorial, is I really want to explore dreams and the psychological effect that a resurrection would have on a 16-year-old kid who has no one to talk to about it.” She’s quick to priase the art, saying that Adam Gorham has taken her ideas and run with them. Because “with dreams, you can do literally whatever you want.”
Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant#1 is on sale August 30.
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