Ms. Marvel’s Director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Talks Why It’s ‘Special’ For Kamala Khan To Be Part Of The MCU

When looking at the entire tapestry of Marvel Comics history, Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel, is still a relatively new character, having debuted in the pages of 2013’s Captain Marvel #14. But in that time, Kamala has become one of Marvel’s most popular characters, and now she’s part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Iman Vellani bringing the character to life in her own series accessible to Disney+ subscribers. For director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who helmed Ms. Marvel’s fourth and fifth episodes, having Kamala appearing in this superhero franchise is particularly “special” given their shared Pakistani backgrounds.

During my chat with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy about Ms. Marvel Episode 4, a.k.a. “Seeing Red,” in addition to going over why the Partition ending was her “favorite bit” from that episode, the director also answered my question about what it meant for her to be the first Pakistani director to work on a Marvel Studios project. Obaid-Chinoy explained her feelings thusly:

This story of Kamala Khan is a story of generations of Pakistani women. I have sort of always carried the torch for Pakistani women with the work that I have done, so it’s very special for me to be part of the MCU. But I think it’s more special because I’m part of creating a story that is resonating with millions of people, changing the way we see superheroes and making audiences fall in love with the family. And through that family, introducing them to music and culture and food and weddings, that people are wanting to learn more of or be part of or excited about. I think that we’re making history because I think the world is ready for superheroes of all shapes and sizes, and I think that with Black Panther, we opened the floodgates, and I think with Ms. Marvel, people have fallen in love with Kamala Khan. And I think that in falling in love with Kamala Khan, they’ll see that anyone can be a superhero.

Much like Black Panther and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings before it, the critically well-received Ms. Marvel is providing an opportunity to spotlight culture that hasn’t been explored in the MCU before, let alone gotten much attention in Hollywood overall. In this case, we’re talking about Pakistani/Pakistani-American culture, with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy specifically honing in on this being a story revolving around Pakistani women. Looking at the bigger picture, Obaid-Chinoy is also glad that not only has Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan been so well received, but the character also serves as yet another example of the MCU’s lineup of superheroes becoming more diversified.

Warning: SPOILERS for the Ms. Marvel episode "Seeing Red" are ahead!

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s first Ms. Marvel episode saw Kamala and her mother traveling to Karachi, Pakistan at the request of Kamala’s grandmother, who witnessed the same vision of the train that her granddaughter saw towards the end of “Destined.” While in Karachi, Kamala  met Kareem and Waleed of the Red Daggers, was taken to their headquarters (an all-practical set) and learned more about the antagonistic Clandestines. Unfortunately, things spiraled out of control in the final chunk of “Seeing Red,” and the episode ended with Kamala being sent back in time to Pakistan during Partition after Najma, the leader of the Clandestines, stabbed her bangle. Now the stage is set for Kamala to witness firsthand this historic event and hopefully learn more about her great grandmother, the Clandestine known as Aisha.

There are two episodes left to go in Ms. Marvel, as it hasn’t been announced yet if the show will return for Season 2. That being said, Iman Vellani will reprise Kamala Khan for The Marvels, which hits theaters on July 28, 2023. For more news on upcoming Marvel movies and upcoming Marvel TV shows, keep your eyes peeled on CinemaBlend.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.