'Ms. Marvel’: The Easter Egg Paradise of AvengerCon
“All the reactions you see on screen are very much me reacting in real life…this was just me living, my childhood dream of being at a convention and being around so much Marvel merch."
The hottest badge in town? None other than AvengerCon, happening for the first time ever at Camp Lehigh in New Jersey. If you find yourself absolutely heartbroken that you can’t attend yourself for reasons outside your control (i.e., the fact that it’s a fictional convention…), you’re not alone. Even the cast and crew who were there on set to live and breathe it while filming Marvel Studios’ Ms. Marvel want to go back to it in real life again, too.
The idea to not only create AvengerCon, let alone send Ms. Marvel’s titular character Kamala Khan to AvengerCon, came out of the writer’s room and as executive producer, Sana Amanat tells Marvel.com, “it was an idea [Marvel Studios President and Executive Producer] Kevin Feige liked immediately. He's like, ‘Yeah, it makes sense. She's a fan, so AvengerCon could be a real thing.’”
Basing AvengerCon on other real-life comic conventions, Amanat adds that the creative team was able to “lean into it hard” for the screen, creating a “more heightened [experience] than a regular comics convention because it's all over the place and bright and wild.”
“It was the most fun set we’ve ever had,” Bilall Fallah, executive producer and director of Episode 1 explains, with his directing partner, Adil El Arbi, adding, “They made it the coolest place in the world.”
For everyone working on the show, it was hard to step foot on the AvengerCon set and not turn into a mega-fan immediately, considering the plethora of Avengers items, references, hidden details, merchandise, food, photo ops…and that’s just scratching the surface.
“We are fanboys ourselves. So, we were taking selfies, putting on the Ant-Man helmet, and playing with Thor’s hammer. [One of the] producers came to us and was like, ‘Hey, guys, focus. You have to direct the scene,’” Fallah adds with a laugh.
Star Iman Vellani confesses that she’s never actually been to a comics convention before (!), even though she’s had cosplay costumes ready for years. “All the reactions you see on screen are very much me reacting in real life…this was just me living, my childhood dream of being at a convention and being around so much Marvel merch,” she gushes. However, she did use AvengerCon as her own personal con haul, and adds, “I stole so much from that set. I had everything shipped out in boxes. That's how much I stole. It's great. My entire closet looks like a mini AvengerCon now.”
A lot of inspiration came from just being in the AvengerCon space and playing in it, like the idea for Ant-Man’s head to come loose, fall, and roll across the convention floor destroying everything in its path. The notion to do that came from production designer Christopher Glass after Fallah and El Arbi mentioned they wanted more action in the scene.
“That was not in the script. We had a lot of things that just came out [from] everybody brainstorming and improvising,” Fallah explains.
However, something that needed to be thought out is how regular people in the world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe view the Avengers. Sure, we’ve seen every MCU movie and show, but when you think about it, Kamala hasn’t. Sure, she might be living and breathing the Avengers, but not in the same way that actual Disney+ subscribers are. A clear example of this is how Groot is simply called “Mr. Tree.” We know his name is Groot, we know he’s Groot, but does the average person in Ms. Marvel’s Jersey City knows he’s Groot? Nope. So, what else to call him other than “Mr. Tree”?
“Nobody knows that Groot's name is Groot,” Amanat explains. “They know some names. I think that was the fun that we played with AvengerCon. People might know some things, but they don't know all the things. They don't know everyone's actual code name or their real name because it's the ground's-eye view of the Marvel universe. These are just regular civilians putting this convention together. They just think that this guy's Mr. Tree. That sounds like a name. OK, he's Mr. Tree. And so, we kind of made it up, and it was just a fun thing to do.”
Mr. Tree’s not the only fun in-world reference for viewers to discover — which means a re-watch of Ms. Marvel Episode 1 might be in order.
“It was Easter egg paradise,” Fallah adds, “It was an homage to the fans because fandom is what makes Marvel great, what makes those Super Heroes successful. I hope that when the fans are going to watch it, they're going to relate to it, they're going to see the homage and the respect that we pay to them and hopefully love it.”
P.S. AvengerCon might not be real, but the shirts featured in Episode 1 are very real. Shop them now in the image gallery below!
Ms. Marvel is now streaming exclusively on Disney+.
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