by Mervat Mohsen
Media sources are awash with the news of a new Muslim superhero, a girl, joining the Marvel group as “Ms. Marvel” to help fight the bad guys and restore order to the world. Pakistani-Canadian actress Iman Vellani,19, is inking history in a television miniseries for streaming on Disney plus. Like all of us in a way, the character Kamala Khan who becomes Ms. Marvel struggles to fit in. She is a big fan of the Avengers, especially Captain Marvel, played by actress Brie Larsen. Once Kamala acquires her superpowers, she finds her way. The series for television have been written by Bisha K. Ali, a British Pakistani stand-up comedian and screenwriter. The series, made up of six episodes, ends July 13th, and will establish the characters, situation and the setting for the upcoming movie, “The Marvels” (2023).
Alongside that great news of inclusivity, hailed by the billion Muslims around the world, “Toy Story” is introducing a gay member in the memorable “Toy Story” franchise. American actress, Uzo Aduba, 41, is playing the role of Alisha Hawthorne who is the commander and best friend of Buzz Lightyear. The new movie which was banned in around a dozen nations did poorly at the box office and did not outperform “Jurassic Park Dominion” or “Top Gun.” “Lightyear” (2022), a prequel to “Toy Story,” has ripped the franchise apart by replacing the voice of Tim Allen of 25 years by Chris Evans and killing Tom Hanks as the beloved Woody. In other words, the makers panned the movie while conceiving it. The explanation given was also confusing. A given statement read that the new Buzz voiced by Chris Evans is not the goofy Buzz we have come to know and love over 25 years with Tim Allen. The new Buzz in “Lightyear” (2022) is actually the original Buzz before becoming less smart. The new ‘sidequel’ movie shows Buzz back in the days when he was a superhero, taking his orders from his commander and friend, the newly introduced gay character, commander Alisha Hawthorne. The idea may be genius but the execution is too political to be taken as lightly as it should.
In an effort to force an inclusivity on a successful animation brand, the franchise lost its cornerstones, actors Tim Allen and Tom Hanks who may have diplomatically withdrawn or made to withdraw. Hanks had said at the end of the franchise that he felt a ‘lack of purpose’ when the sequels ended in 2019. That last “Toy Story” movie alone amassed a billion dollars at the box office. The entire franchise brought in three billion dollars approximately. “Lightyear” is more a prequel to the four but has not done as expected in its first weekend.
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