Reminder: Priyanka Chopra Is Not the Only Option to Play Ms Marvel

She clearly isn’t the best choice, she’s just the only one that comes to mind—and that is a larger problem

Ishani Nath
Priyanka Chopra Ms Marvel: Actor Priyanka Chopra pictured next to comic book character Ms Marvel, aka Kamala Khan

Actor Priyanka Chopra (Rex Shutterstock) and Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel (Marvel Entertainment/Jamie McKelvie/Matt Wilson)

Not all heroes wear capes, or are of the same religious and ethnic background. And from the sounds of it, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is *finally* going to reflect that.

In a recent interview with BBC, Marvel president Kevin Feige confirmed that a movie about Muslim superhero Ms. Marvel is “definitely sort of in the works.” “We have plans for that once we’ve introduced Captain Marvel to the world,” said Feige.

Quick primer in case you aren’t familiar: Ms. Marvel, Marvel’s first Muslim superhero, was introduced to comic book fans in 2013. By day, she’s Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American high school student from New Jersey. But when trouble strikes, Kamala becomes Ms. Marvel, a superhero capable of shrinking, stretching and shapeshifting (and smashing stigma about Muslim women).

K so basically, Ms. Marvel is total badass and fans are stoked to see this character added to the Marvel Universe.

Even celebs were jumping at the chance to get involved. Based on the tweets, we may be in for a screenplay co-written by Mindy Kaling, Riz Ahmed and Kumail Nanjiani and Ms Marvel’s OG creators G. Willow Wilson and Sana Amanat.

But this is where things took a turn. As the news spread, people began speculating about who should play Ms. Marvel and one name emerged as a fan favourite: Priyanka Chopra.

First, let me state for the record: I am a Priyanka Chopra fan. I’ve cheered when she broke barriers in Hollywood after becoming an absolute superstar in Bollywood. And since Chopra did voice the Ms Marvel a video game, which was released in 2016, I can understand, to some degree, why people are rooting for her to be cast as Kamala. But at the same time, it’s important to remember that when it comes to boss brown women, Chopra is not the only option.

Yes, the dearly departed TV series Quantico demonstrated that Chopra can kick serious ass in a lead role (though anyone who has seen Mary Kom already knew that). But let’s not forget, Kamala is supposed to be a teen. As youthful as Chopra may look, casting a 35-year-old as a high school student is a bit of a stretch.

Many fans also pointed out that Kamala’s family is meant to be from Pakistan, so if Marvel is aiming for true representation (which it should be) the actor taking on this role should be Pakistani-American, not from India. Because, as a reminder, not all brown people are the same.

But tbh, the biggest issue that I have with this fancasting isn’t Chopra’s age or her background, it’s the idea that Chopra needs to be the go-to for any and all brown girl roles. She clearly isn’t the ‘best’ choice, she is just the only one that comes to mind—and that’s a problem. The fact that it’s tough to think of young Pakistani-American actors on the fly should be an indication that we need to give these actors greater opportunities. Really, what we need is more POCs in Hollywood in general, not more roles being constantly filled by the same people.

Ms. Marvel represents a huge opportunity for a whole segment of the population to *finally* see themselves as heroes. Here’s hoping that Marvel will use their powers wisely.

Related: 

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Not All Comic Book Heroes Wear Capes—They Wear Hijabs Too
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