‘Ms. Marvel’: Exploring Kamala Khan and Bruno Carrelli’s Relationship
“There was team Bruno. That was team Kamran. There are so many different versions of this.”
In case you didn’t pick up on it, Bruno Carrelli absolutely has a crush on Kamala Khan. And something that is obvious to everyone, even without the heart, fire, and 100 emojis, is that Kamala Khan has a huge crush on the new boy in school, Kamran. Marvel Studios’ Ms. Marvel has got a love triangle on its hands.
Episode 1 of the series clearly establishes that Kamala and Bruno have been friends for years, and Bruno is essentially part of the Khan family — Muneeba is packing him food, he’s invited to Eid, and he’s even created a voice-activated Zuzu for Yusuf. That’s just scratching the surface, and not even counting all the things he has gone out of his way to do for Kamala, like learn how to airbrush so he can make her a Captain Marvel costume and create her faux-photon gloves. And he knows Urdu!
Kamala, meanwhile, is oblivious to this crush. That’s made even more noticeable when she locks eyes with Kamran, who breezes into high school so effortlessly cool. And then when he gives Kamala his phone number and offers up 1-on-1 driving lessons? Be still my heart.
“There was team Bruno. That was team Kamran. There are so many different versions of this.” head writer Bisha K. Ali tells Marvel.com with a laugh. According to her, the creative team got amped up discussing the Bruno vs. Kamran debate, but it’s been softened now for the show. “It's that feeling of teenagehood, of do I like this person? These new feelings are coming in, and I think that really, in the show as it stands now, it's kind of reduced a lot compared to how hype we were getting about what team we were on in the writer's room.”
But the team never wanted to treat the Kamala and Bruno relationship as an afterthought for either one of them, and instead, highlight just how ingrained they are in each other's lives. “We wanted that relationship to feel meaningful, and to feel like a slow burn — I don't mean necessarily romantically, but like, the depth of the relationship between her and Bruno. It goes back far. Bruno is a really good friend”
However, the arrival of Kamran clearly throws Bruno for a loop as he’s not sure how to respond to him, especially when it comes to Kamala. Just when he thought he might be growing closer to Kamala, considering their shared “Night Light” secret and all the training sessions they’ve been having, Kamran enters the picture and messes it all up. And oh yeah, Kamran can’t stop calling him “Brian.”
“This guy, this good-looking British man comes in and he's like, ‘OK, well, who is this, and what's going on with that?” Matt Lintz, who plays Bruno, explains. “He probably does feel a little insecure, a little out of place because [Kamran] just comes into Kamala's life. And Bruno, being her good friend, is protective and wants the best for her.”
Ali adds that this is such a fundamental part of growing up, but “we wanted to bring in that love triangle, but not so much that it felt like it was overpowering or the dominant narrative because it just isn't for this show.”
Co-directors and executive producers Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah certainly feel for Bruno, calling Matt Lintz their “bro” and “little brother,” and fully knowing what it’s like to be in the friend zone.
“You know, you fall in love with your best friend, but your best friend does not see you as [that],” Arbi explains. “You're in the friend zone. And as teenagers, we all had that friend zone purgatory. It's very relatable.” The two directors also cite one moment that hurts them the most, and it’s when Kamala leaves the faux-photon gloves on — as they call it — the “toilet floor” after Bruno has worked so hard on them.
So how will the new Kamala-Bruno-Kamran dynamic play out? Considering the events of Episode 3, time will only tell. Ali adds that this relationship is just something they “wanted to touch on a bit” and “bring in that love triangle, but not so much that it felt like it was overpowering or the dominant narrative because it just isn't for this show.”
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