Newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan says she would decline starring as Pakistani American superhero Kamala Khan in Marvel Studios' Disney+ series Ms. Marvel because it wouldn't be "fair" to the Pakistani community. The 18-year-old actress, who stars as Tamil Indian American high school student Devi Vishwakumar in the Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher-created Never Have I Ever for Netflix, believes Khan — a super-powered teen from New Jersey and Marvel Comics' first Muslim character to star in their own book — would be better represented by a Pakistani actress when the fan-favorite character, a super-fan of Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), makes her debut in the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe:
"I've seen a couple of posts about that, but honestly, no. Kamala Khan is Pakistani and I'm Tamil," the Canadian-Tamil actress told Entertainment Tonight. "If there was a Tamil superhero, I wouldn't want to see a Pakistani girl playing [her]. I would say, 'Really? You couldn't find anybody who was Tamil?' So why would I want to do that to the Pakistani community? That wouldn't be fair."
Ramakrishnan suggests playing a new character tied to Deadpool, the mutated mercenary played by fellow Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds.
"Trust me, I'd love to be a superhero. I love Marvel so much," Ramakrishnan said. "I could be the daughter of Deadpool or apprentice or something. Maybe Deadpool adopts a South Asian girl. It would make sense — Ryan Reynolds and I would both make the Canadian jokes."
Never Have I Ever co-creator Kaling previously expressed an interest in a Ms. Marvel project, telling MTV News in June 2019 she "would help in any way because I truly love [the character]." British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed earlier suggested teaming with Kaling and Kumail Nanjiani — an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter who next stars as Kingo in Marvel Studios’ The Eternals — for a Ms. Marvel screenplay before it was learned the character would headline her own series on the Disney+ streaming service.
"She's grown so much in the last four years and the diversity of our fanbase alone is so impressive. They all love Ms. Marvel. It goes to show we have a really great story with great creators," Kamala co-creator Sana Amanat said in a 2017 interview with Inquirer. "I think it's incredibly important that we tell young women and young girls that they have this incredible power within themselves, and that they have heroes out there [who] ... they can look up to, especially in these times."
Ms. Marvel is one of several series now in development for Disney+, alongside The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, Loki, Hawkeye, She-Hulk, What If...? and Moon Knight.