Ms. Marvel’s Chief Writer Hopes to See More “Hulk Coffin Cosplay”

Disney Plus’ Lady Marvel the series has some pretty drastic changes from the comics, but one thing that remains is that its central heroine, Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani), is Pakistani American and (like most Pakistani Americans) is Muslim. She attends mosque functions and Eid celebrations and talks about how the brunette girls of Jersey City never become heroes.

Like many first-generation Americans, Kamala has a complicated relationship with her family’s traditions and growing sense of self. But instead of painting her and her friends with her in total opposition to their legacy, the creators behind it Lady Marvel he took great care in portraying culture as a source of both celebration and conflict. A scene in the first episode really solidifies Kamala’s nuanced relationship with her legacy.

[Ed. note: This post contains mild spoilers for the first two episodes of Ms. Marvel.]

“I remember writing the first draft of the pilot in a rush of emotion for two nights,” he says Mrs MarveChief writer Bisha K. Ali. “And it just came out of me in a flood. That scene is, like, verbatim the first draft of that scene, because everyone said, Yup. […] Go from cute to painful very quickly.

At the moment in question, Kamala’s parents finally agree that she can go to AvengerCon, the fan convention for all things Avengers, but alone if she is supervised by her father and if she wears the costume her mother made for her: a Hulk cosplay made of a salwar kameez, a type of traditional Pakistani clothing, complete with sewn-in abs and shoulder pads. And that’s not all: his father intervenes, wearing a Hulk cosplay paired with face paint.

“Big Hulk and little Hulk!” his mother gushes enthusiastically. “Bara Hulk aur choti Hulk!

Image: Disney

It’s incredibly funny, but when Kamala makes a face and then snaps at her parents, it turns into something really heartbreaking. Kamala’s parents still don’t understand her world about her and although they are trying to meet her halfway through her, it’s still in such a deeply embarrassing way for her that she rejects him. The fact that the disagreement rests on an element of Pakistani culture creates an even deeper wedge between Kamala and her parents.

“There is this element of traditional clothing that represents something that as a teenager you might think it means one thing, but I don’t think it means,” Ali tells us. “And she’s negotiating what it means to herself right now, and it may or may not change over time. You could say the same. It is different for everyone. Certainly for me as a teenager, I felt this total rejection and then felt ashamed of the rejection. But then I also wanted to be a part of it, but I also thought I couldn’t be a part of it. And all that stuff. I was like, OK, let’s put this into a scene that’s also fun. That was the goal of that scene. I think we made it. ”She adds:“ And if I don’t see a lot of it alone Hulk, oti Hulk cosplay next year, then I let everyone down. “

While Kamala certainly clashes with her parents, however, it’s no less about her rejection of her culture and more about her attempting to figure out who is outside her family. As a teenager, she is trying to find a place in the world and express her interests, all while she tries to understand what she means in the context of how she has grown up.

“So much of adolescence, in my experience – and the experience of many other people, I’m sure – is a constant negotiation of What can I get away with? or What is acceptable? or What I want? And that’s changing, ”says Ali. “But I also think that from the parents’ point of view, their relationship with their child – now adolescent, now adult – is also a constant negotiation. They also move back and forth along that line. “

Photo: Daniel McFadden / Disney

Of course, as her parents are more traditional in supporting their Pakistani Muslim culture, Kamala ends up wiping out some of her legacy. But the Lady Marvel writers take great pains to point out that Kamala and her friends still love their culture, even though they might do without some of the old-fashioned traditions. Kamala doesn’t really like that women have to sit at the back of the mosque, but she eagerly participates in the mosque’s Eid celebrations. Her friend Nakia is frustrated that all the leaders of the mosque are men, but that only inspires her to run for the council so that she can have her name out there. Instead of openly rejecting their culture, the younger generation enters Lady Marvel it has a more nuanced and complex relationship with it.

Finding the right balance to achieve was certainly a concern for Ali and the rest of the writers, but it became intuitive.

“It feels quite natural to approach from a place of love, from a place of complete nuance, from a place of complexity and a place of compassion, because that’s how I feel like my family,” explains Ali. “I love my family and I want it to be portrayed in a way that is complicated, presented without judgment and genuinely presented from a place of understanding, OK, we could be coming from different sides of this particular point. But we love each other and this is fundamental and love is a universal thing.

New episodes of Lady Marvel hit Disney Plus on Wednesdays.