Marvel’s first Muslim female superhero revealed
Exclusive: While heading back to the movies for blockbuster premieres may still be a way off in the future, superhero fans worldwide are being thrown a perfectly timed-lifeline thanks to Marvel's Avengers video game.
Set to be released in September, Avengers begins five years on from A-Day - the ill-fated Avengers national holiday where, at the unveiling of a second headquarters in San Francisco, a terrorist attack leads to Captain America being killed and the city being taken over by A.I.M.
Through the game, Iron Man, the Hulk, Black Widow and Thor must reassemble, beat the evil powers of A. I. M, and win back the public's trust. Unlike previous adventures, this time they have the help of a super powered teenager, Kamala Khan - aka Ms Marvel.
In addition to being one of the youngest additions to the group, Khan is a Pakistani-American and the first Muslim superhero.
"I still can't believe I'm Ms Marvel, I'm going to go on about this for years," actor Sandra Saad told News Corp Australia.
"It's still pretty shocking and amazing. When I was younger, there wasn't anyone who really looked like me who I could relate to doing what I wanted to do, and now that's changing for the younger generation and I'm so happy that they don't have to feel that any more."
Unlike other video games, Avengers was created using full performance capture of voiceovers, and Saad and other performers had to don motion sensor suits, motion capture makeup and facial markers every day on set to truly bring the character to life.
"My first time showing up on set, the experience for me was so fulfilling," Saad says.
"Not only was I portraying a young woman of colour - one that was already like me and that didn't play into some stereotype that put my people down, or put a certain group down - but it was empowering and I felt bigger. And I felt like it was great to be in my skin; not only okay, but so proud to be in my skin."
According to the game's creative director Shaun Escayg, with the introduction of Khan's character we "find a character like ourselves".
"She gives us a window into this world from that perspective as a fan, as a spectator among the giants, and also journeying with them and making mistakes with those heroes as a hero or sort of a hero-in-training, and celebrating some of that fantasy."
With single player and co-op options, users can rotate through characters and experience situations and decision making from crucially different perspectives.
When it comes to playing, Saad says that even from an "unbiased" perspective, her favourite player is Kamala.
"Her perseverance and her undying love for the Avengers is really special and unique. And the fact that she's a fan, if you just took that on its own that would really resonate with everyone, because we're all fangirls of something, right … And when you put that into a 16-year-old version of yourself and then they get to meet their hero, it's just a story that everyone would love to be in."
Marvel's Avengers is out September 4.
Originally published as Marvel's first Muslim female superhero revealed