‘Ms. Marvel’: 3 Pakistani Easter Eggs Head Writer Is Proud of
Ms. Marvel did more than just introduce a new hero to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Ms. Marvel’s Pakistani representation was a landmark in a mainstream television show. The Khan family practiced traditions which Head Writer Bisha K. Ali was excited to get on screen.
Ali was a guest on The Hollywood Reporter’s TV’s Top Five podcast on July 15. She shared some of the Pakistani and Muslim traditions she put on screen in Ms. Marvel. All episodes of Ms. Marvel are now streaming on Disney+.
‘Ms. Marvel’ Pakistani wedding traditions
In episode 3 of Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani)’s brother Aamir (Saagar Shaikh) gets married. The wedding included the Muslim Nikah.
“I love the fact that you’re having him say ‘takbir’ and everybody saying ‘Allahu akbar’ back,” Ali said on TV’s Top Five. When do we get to see Muslims saying ‘Allahu akbar’ on screen and it not be threatening and instead be joyful? Come on guys, that was cool. I’m very pleased that that moment came through. Loads of the Muslims on the show were like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe we get to do this.’ Those were the things that just felt organic in the scripts and showing it just felt really exciting to see it.”
1 very specific ‘Ms. Marvel’ Pakistani Easter egg
Ali said one of the wedding traditions she put in Ms Marvel was specific to part of Pakistan where she grew up. Only a few Pakistanis would even get this.
“Later on in the wedding scene, before the baddies arrive, there’s a scene where they’re knocking the heads of the bride and groom together,” Ali said. “[It’s] a piece of ceremonial or ritual act that’s not religious. It’s cultural. That one in particular is so specific that it’s not a Muslim thing nor is it specifically a Pakistani general thing. It’s literally from the county I’m from in Pakistan. The level of specificity on that was just a special thing that felt important.”
There was more to the mosque than the prayer
Ms. Marvel included many scenes at a mosque, including the separation of men and women. Ali pointed out that someone always steals shoes.
The shoe thief in the mosque is such a specific detail that genuinely, universally connects so many Muslim communities. There’s always a shoe thief. Also the idea of the younger brother playing a prank on Aamir, Tyesha’s younger brother, where he’s stealing all the shoes. The tradition of that game you play, it’s like a wedding party game where you steal the groom’s shoes and he has to pay you to get the shoes back. You try to drive the price up. There’s a much longer sequence of that but the fact that we kept it, there’s a million billion small things in this that are very personal but also because so many people from a similar background are like yeah, I know exactly what that is, felt like we were having conversations on so many different levels with different audience groups.Bisha K. Ali, TV’s Top Five, 7/15/22