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Ms. Marvel Stars Open Up About The Elements Of Muslim Culture They Were Most Excited For The Show To Tackle

Minor spoilers for the latest episode of Ms. Marvel, “Time and Again” lie ahead.

Ms. Marvel has nearly reached the end of its season, which is a shame, because it’s downright delightful. The series, which has received high praise from critics, introduces a great new hero to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sports some creative visuals and features some stunning action sequences. On top of all that though, it also beautifully highlights various aspects of Muslim culture. It’s been refreshing to see this play out in a big, mainstream Marvel production, and it’s part why Kamala Khan’s presence in the MCU is so special. All of this certainly wasn’t taken for granted by its stars, who were excited by the fact that it would cover aspects of their culture. 

Though this notion has been conveyed many times over the years, it must be said that representation does matter. You can never discount just what it means for people to see themselves and their culture portrayed on screen in a positive light. The cast of Ms. Marvel, which includes a number of veteran actors, was eager to jump in. While I spoke to him, Mohan Kapur, who plays Kamala Khan’s lovable dad Yusuf, enthusiastically explained to me which aspects of Muslim culture he was most looking to seeing represented:

Everything, because this community is so rich, so diverse, and to show it in these small little things, you know? Whether it's the mosque scene, or whether it's a wedding ritual or whether it's a festival celebration, it's just so beautiful. So that's not wanting to shout from the rooftops, they just say, ‘Here's a part of it.’ You know, here's a slice of life from their life.

As the actor so eloquently explained, the culture (like all others) is not a monolith and contains a multitude of elements and experiences. The series has done a masterful job of showing the array of traditions and festivities that are present within the community. I personally loved seeing the Eid celebration in the second episode and Aamir and Tyesha’s wedding in the third. The show also dives deep into the Partition of India, and it’s something that audiences get a good look at in the latest episode, in which Kamala crosses paths with her ancestors in the heart of the 1940s.

There’s another great aspect of the show that many people on social media, including myself, have been buzzing about – the music. Series head writer Bisha K. Ali and her team have curated a truly awesome soundtrack that features songs from the likes of Riz Ahmed, Eva B. and Husan & Bhangra Knights. Saagar Shaikh, who plays Aamir Khan, was appreciative of the tunes and how varied they are:

For me, it was the music. Music plays a huge role in the South Asian [community] and how we grew up, just like what we heard our parents listening to. And yeah, this show does a really good job of showcasing old music and new modern music that are, you know, South Asian or Pakistani.

Saagar Shaikh and Travina Springer

(Image credit: Marvel Studios )

The music, the food, the ceremonies and other pieces of iconography are more than just cool to see, though. Collectively, they also help to break down misconceptions that have surrounded Muslim culture for so many years. Zenobia Shroff, who plays Khan family matriarch Muneeba, is hoping that the show will help to break down such barriers:

But also like, let's be honest, we live in a very racist country. And I would love for people to, like Mohan was saying, see the Eid festival or see [the family] going to mosque and say, ‘Oh, yeah, we also go to church, we worship. Oh, we have Christmas, we have Easter. Take it down. Take the temperature down on all the misconceptions about the Muslim experience. That would be lovely.

It’s a sentiment that I think we can all agree with and, while there’s still more work to be done, progress is certainly being made. One can only hope that we get more shows that highlight unique cultures and experiences while also providing engaging stories with endearing characters. It’s what the media landscape you use right about now.

The season finale of Ms. Marvel (opens in new tab) drops on Thursday, July 13, so be sure you put that Disney+ subscription to use and catch up if you need to. Those who are so inclined can also seek out other great portrayals of Muslim characters in recent movies and television.

Erik Swann
Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.