Ms. Marvel Directors Explain the Show’s Animated Flourishes

Just one week into its six-episode run, Ms. Marvel already feels like a unique addition to the MCU thanks to a distinctive visual style that deftly weaves sequences of animation into the live-action narrative. But surprisingly, this wasn’t something that head writer Bisha K. Ali came up with. Instead, the credit belongs to Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, who helmed the series’ pilot and laid the groundwork for the directors who tackled the next four episodes. While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, the duo revealed the origins behind their ideas.

Although Ms. Marvel’s first episode opens with a stop-motion fan-fic piece written by Kamala herself, El Arby and Fallah claim the series’ animated flourishes weren’t included in the script or concept art. With this, they needed to come up with an inventive way to highlight Kamala’s overactive imagination. Luckily, they didn’t have to look far to find inspiration.

“We loved the vibrancy and the colors of the comic book,” said El Arbi. “And we tried to convey a way to translate the dream world, the fantasy world of Kamala Khan. So we were very much inspired by Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and we wondered what it would look like to have a live-action version of Into the Spider-Verse. Obviously, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was also a big inspiration and reference, but we were a bit nervous that Kevin Feige and Marvel would not allow it because it’s different from all the other shows and movies.”

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“And surprisingly, they said, ‘Yeah, go for it! Don’t go overboard. Don’t do it every five seconds, but as long as it’s true to the story and the character, go for it.’” continued El Arbi. “So it was a real pleasure to be allowed to do something like that.”

The directors’ knack for visual flair manifested in a lot of different ways throughout the first episode. Among other highlights, viewers also saw Kamala’s text messages come to life through neon signs and crosswalks. According to Fallah, Kamala’s own obsession with superheroes made her a natural choice to try this out in live-action.

“It was also important for us to get inside Kamala Khan’s head and capture her dream world and fantasy world,” said Fallah. “We love animation and the comic-book aesthetic, and combined with Kamala being a fan of Marvel, all of that made us think to use animation to show that.”

The second episode of Ms. Marvel hits Disney+ on Wednesday, June 15. Viewers will next see El Arbi and Fallah’s work on the series when its finale airs on July 13.

What did you think of the animation effects in the series’ premiere? Let us know in the comments down below!

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