19-year-old Pakistani-Canadian actress Vellani plays Kamala Khan/Ms Marvel in the Disney Plus series Ms Marvel, the seventh television series in the MCU, which premiered on June 8.
Vellani told the BBC’s Asian Network she was looking forward to seeing fans’ reaction, as so much of the narrative is about what it means to be a Marvel fan: “I’m excited to see their reaction. All my family back in Pakistan are so excited.”
Of her character’s development, she revealed that she was 17 when she was cast as 16-year-old Kamala:
“We had so many conversations, the directors and I, just incorporating so much of my real life and real-life experiences. I feel like I totally lived Kamala’s life.”
Vellani’s British co-star Rish Shah plays the role of Kamran and explained that blending in on set felt unusually pleasant.
He told the BBC: “It’s not often I got to go to a set where I felt like I belonged so much, where you can blend in so naturally and have people that look like us surrounding us on all fronts, whether that’s the crew, the cast, the writers’ room.
“That’s sadly quite a rare thing right now in the industry but hopefully this paves the way for more opportunities like that. It’s a great privilege to be a part of it.”
Asked about the appeal of the show’s South Asian culture to a wider audience, Shah cited the global success of Black Panther and reflected:
“Even when sometimes we don’t understand other culture, people are interested and want to learn about it.”
The series will consist of six episodes, concluding on July 13. It is part of Phase Four of the MCU. It will serve as set-up for the film The Marvels, planned for release next year, in which Vellani will reprise her role as Khan along with additional cast members from the series.