As soon as one Marvel TV show ends on Disney+ we're instantly thrown straight back into the MCU with another one arriving not long after. Their latest show Ms. Marvel arrives on June 8th and introduces Kamala Khan, a Muslim American teenager growing up in Jersey City. An avid gamer and a voracious fan-fiction scribe, Kamala is a Super Hero mega fan with an oversized imagination—particularly when it comes to Captain Marvel. Yet Kamala feels invisible both at home and at school—that is, until she gets super powers like the heroes she's always looked up to. FilmHounds had the chance to talk to Rish Shah who plays one of the lead characters, Kamran, in the new show about what it was like joining the ranks of such an impressive franchise.
What was it like for you joining such a huge American franchise as a Brit?
Surreal. Definitely surreal. Going from doing theatre in school, to doing theatre in London, to building up my credits as an actor whilst at university and then suddenly finding myself in my dream role is something which I'm still trying to process to be honest.
Were you a big fan of Marvel beforehand?
I was a huge huge huge fan.
How did you react when you got the call saying you'd been given the role?
I was at home with my parents in Enfield where I grew up and I remember getting the call and it was really late at night because of the time difference with America and basically I was just trying to be really quiet. So I remember I snuck downstairs to answer the phone call and then essentially losing my cool and waking everybody up and forcing them to celebrate with me. It was an amazing moment and I was definitely on cloud nine.
Your character has a rich history of comics to draw on, did you do any research and look at the comics to prepare for the role?
I did yeah, when I first found out I was auditioning I went straight back to the comics and then dived in a bit deeper when I actually got the job because I didn't want to get my hopes up too high and re-educate myself and then be like “argh what could have been”. But that was definitely one of my first decisions to go and run down and find as many as I could.
You say you were diving back in so had you already read them all and it was a character you were already familiar with?
Exactly, I had. I'd touched on them before. I think I was in my first year at uni when I first picked up a Ms. Marvel comic.
The show does a really great job of bringing in greater diversity and representation to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, how does it feel to be a part of that and bringing that to the small screen?
It's great. It's also so nice to be able to be a part of a series that, as you say, is so inclusive and a lot of people can see themselves in it. Hopefully they'll feel like they can relate to some of the characters in the show. I think Kamala's somebody that everybody can relate with. And beyond that, she's got such a vast community supporting her and all these friends and she's a nerd at the end of the day. She's also so creative and got a larger-than-life imagination and I think it's just going to be really great for people to be able to see a fan being a superhero. You know, she's a fan of the Avengers, she's a fan of Captain Marvel. That is really cool and I think very relatable.
As a Marvel fan yourself, what's been your favourite part of Marvel's Phase 4?
I thought in WandaVision it was so cool to be able to see all the different time jumps of each episode. I loved Loki, I loved Shang-Chi, I've loved basically everything. And they've all been so different. That's what's exciting and they've opened up this whole portal with the multiverse so it's hard to pick a favourite.
Going forward with your character, where do you think it's going to take you in the future?
I haven't seen the show, so I'm yet to find out as well but I think people will have to wait and see. Hopefully somewhere exciting.
Ms. Marvel launches exclusively on Disney+ on 8th June.