Ms. Marvel Is Getting A Special Theatrical Release In Pakistan

The impending release of a new movie set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — in this case, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," which /Film's Hoai-Tran Bui reviewed here — gives us a good excuse to ask ourselves why these superhero stories continue to hold audiences in thrall. Is it the unrelenting optimism on display from characters who never fail to find solutions to their world-ending problems, particularly at a time when our own everyday reality feels so dark and draconian? Are superheroes truly our version of modern myth, bridging all the gaps between us and uniting us on an instinctive level through all our shared hopes and fears? Is it all of the above ... or maybe something even simpler than that?

As overdue as it's undeniably been, Marvel Studios has finally made a tangible effort to increase its focus on diversity and inclusiveness — even if such progress can really only be considered to be baby steps. Nevertheless, it would seem that Disney and Hollywood at large have finally clued in to the fact that opening up doors for individuals from all walks of life directly leads to material gains (as cynical as that sounds!), incentivizing otherwise resistant studios to reflect the broad spectrum of humanity. Maybe that, more than anything else, appeals to the average moviegoer the most.

Marvel is set to put their money where their mouth is with the upcoming Disney+ series, "Ms. Marvel." Originating from the beloved comics about a Pakistani-American and Muslim teenage girl, the first live-action adaptation of this character is understandably a big deal. It's such a big deal, in fact, that Disney is going to great lengths to ensure that other regions (besides North America, for a change) will be able to view it. "Ms. Marvel" director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy took to Instagram to announce that Pakistan, which doesn't yet have access to Disney+, will hold special theatrical screenings of the series. As Obaid-Chinoy put it:

"BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: I have exciting news to share: An Eid present for #Pakistan!! We are bringing Ms. Marvel to theaters across the country!!

Ms. Marvel comes to Pakistan

Marvel has chosen to celebrate Eid Mubarak in style. Over the course of three special engagements over the length of the series, all six episodes of "Ms. Marvel" will be made available in Pakistani cinemas. The fun begins on June 16, as the first pair of episodes will air back-to-back in theaters. Audiences will then have to wait until June 30 for episodes 3 and 4, followed by the final 2 on July 14. According to the brief press release included in filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's social media post:

This decision was made to celebrate the introduction of the first Pakistani Marvel superhero, Kamala Khan (played by Iman Vellani), into the MCU. The series also features a diverse cast both in front of and behind the camera. Disney and Marvel did not want Pakistani audiences to miss out on seeing "Ms. Marvel" and her story as Disney+ has not yet launched in their country.

Of course, the true measure of "Ms. Marvel" will come when audiences get a chance to see for themselves whether the character's cultural authenticity has actually been carried over from the source material to the Disney+ series. The fact that Marvel went out of their way to strive for diverse talent behind the scenes certainly bodes well, as does this gesture to allow those in Pakistan to have access to what could very well be an extremely meaningful story. But, as has been the case with the currently ongoing "Moon Knight," Marvel will need to make even greater strides to ensuring that depictions of rich and complex cultures are treated with as much respect as possible.

On this side of the Atlantic, "Moon Knight" comes to Disney+ on June 8, 2022. You can check out Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's full Instagram post below.