Despite a less-than-impressive box office, the majority of critics gave The Marvels a thumbs-up though not everyone was on board with Marvel Studios latest entry; however, it seems that very few, if any, critics had anything other than praise to heap upon Iman Vellani in her return as Kamala Khan. The young actress, who first appeared as the character in 2022’s Ms. Marvel, served both as the heart of the film and the film’s eponymous team and made quite the impression in her big screen debut. Though the SAG strike kept her from promoting the film and appearing at the premiere, Vellani was able to make a public appearance at a post-strike screening at the El Capitan and talked to THR about her experience.
Ironically enough, despite social media’s derision of the film, The Marvels has done more to excite audiences about the future of the MCU than any other film in 2023. While that certainly calls into question the studio’s continued use of post-credit scenes to drive hype (the movie’s final scene and it’s tag are by far the most talked-about moments of the film), the reality is that The Marvels, as Vellai indicated in her interview, is hardly as disinteresting as you might think.
“There was a version of this in an old script, but we never shot it,” explained Vellani about the film’s final scene in which she recruits Hailee Steinfeld‘s Kate Bishop to serve as one of the MCU’s Young Avengers. “And then there were rumors that we were going to get to it in additional photography, but with a different Young Avenger,” continued Vellaini, “So I never really got the script until right before additional photography and then I flipped out.”
The film’s final scene serves as a fun imitation of the MCU’s first post-credit scene in 2008’s Iron Man in which Samuel L. Jackson‘s Nick Fury invited Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark into a larger universe. For an MCU superfan like Vellani, having the opportunity to relive that excitement was important. “I immediately rewatched Iron Man and texted Nia in all caps,” said Vellani. “I was like, ‘I cannot believe the honor that I am getting right now. This is crazy!’ I did not need to rewatch that entire movie, but it didn’t hurt. So I was giddy the entire time. All of us were freaking out. It was also the last scene we shot for the movie, and it is the last scene of the movie.“
As exciting as that scene was for fans of Marvel Comics, the film’s post-credit scene served up an even bigger tease as it revealed that Teyonah Parris‘ Monica Rambeau landed in an alternate universe where the X-Men seemed to be a prominent force. Given that Kamala was revealed as the MCU’s first mutant in Ms. Marvel, the scene, which featured Kesley Grammer‘s Beast, seemed to carry some added significance.
“They shot the mid-credit scene during principal [photography],” explained Vellani. “They shot it earlier, so they knew what they were doing. But I thought it was going to be something else. I did not realize Beast [Kelsey Grammer] was in it. I knew they shot it, but I was expecting to see something else. And lo and behold, they kept the secret even from me,” added the actress who has a famously open-door relationship with Marvel Studios’ head honcho, Kevin Feige. “I literally jumped and had a heart attack on my bed when I watched it for the first time. I literally texted every single person we worked with, and I was like, “How could you keep this from me?” But at least I got to experience it as a fan, which was so cool. I’m just so excited to see what they do with that in the future.“
When pressed as to whether or not the scene was included as a tie-in to Ms. Marvel’s reveal that Kamala was the MCU’s first mutant, which Vellani called “an honor”, the actress fell back to the old MCU axiom that it’s all connected. “Yeah, I think they’re connecting a lot of things,” said the actress. “They’re sprinkling in the mutants here and there. We saw [Charles Xavier] in Multiverse of Madness. So I honestly am not privy to what they’re doing with the X-Men and how they’re going to incorporate them, but it is extremely cool and a really big flex to have one in our own movie. Well, two, if you count me.“
Given Marvel Studios’ less than stellar track record on following through with their post-credit tags and the recent turmoil that has seemed to leave some of the studio’s plans up in the air, it remains to be seen just what importance, if any, the tag will have. However, it’s clearly something that has gained some traction in the minds of fans of the MCU and with the recent struggles the studio’s projects have had, it’s safe to assume they’ll enjoy the online debate about exactly what’s going on in the stinger.
On the topic of things that seem safe to assume, a second season of Ms. Marvel seems a fairly safe bet despite the uncertainty currently permeating Marvel Studios’ future. Though she certainly didn’t confirm it, Vellani is quite hopeful that the sophomore season will happen, especially given the positive vibes her performance in The Marvels has received. “I am patient, and honestly, I hope all the love that Kamala is getting from this movie inspires people to be more vocal about wanting a season two. I would absolutely love to continue this story, and Kamala and her entire community has so much story left to tell. I want to see Bruno [Matt Lintz] again. I want to see Nakia [Yasmeen Fletcher] again, and that’s just me. So it would be really amazing to have a season two, and there’s so many different directions we can go with it.”
The Marvels is now in theaters and all episodes of Ms. Marvel are available to stream on Disney Plus.