“Ms. Marvel” travels into the not-so-distant past in the latest episode, revealing what happened to Kamala Khan’s great-grandmother Aisha.
Played by Mehwish Hayat, this character first made an appearance in Episode 3, leaving viewers with a lot of questions.
Viewers saw glimpses of her through photographs, paintings and even flashbacks, but Episode 5 opened this mystery wide open. Here’s what you need to know about Aisha — and what Hayat told the Deseret News about her experience on the show.
Be warned: major spoilers ahead.
Who is Aisha in ‘Ms. Marvel’?
Aisha, Kamala’s great-grandmother, was an interdimensional Djinn. She was part of a group of Djinn, known as the Clan Destines, stuck in our dimension. But unlike her fellow Djinn Najma, played by Nimra Bucha, Aisha didn’t want to return home, per Decider. However, she did have a bangle that could open the veil to the other dimension, something the rest of the Clan Destines were after.
But Aisha wanted to be with her new family in Pakistan — her daughter Sana and her politically active partner Hasan, played by Fawad Khan — and ultimately, she chose them.
Who plays Aisha in ‘Ms. Marvel’?
Mehwish Hayat may be new to the Marvel Universe and Hollywood, too, but she’s found a lot of success as an actress in Pakistan.
She’s starred in some of Pakistan’s top-grossing films, including “Jawani Phir Nahi Ani,” “Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2” and “Punjab Nahi Jaungi.” Hayat’s latest film was “London Nahi Jaunga,” released in 2022.
The 34-year-old actress has been nominated four times and won one Lux Style Award, a prestigious acting award in Pakistan, and has over 4.8 million followers on Instagram.
How did Mehwish Hayat get cast in ‘Ms. Marvel’?
Before the show went into production, Hayat had picked up one of the “Ms. Marvel” comics at the airport.
“It was a superhero that I could relate with because it was about brown, Muslim, Pakistani girl — everything that we hoped for in the Marvel Universe,” she told Deseret News.
Then news broke about the studio possibly pursuing the project. At the time, Hayat pegged it as “great news” and said that “the tide is turning” on Twitter.
“Hollywood seems to be accepting the problem,” she wrote, adding that there was still a “long way to go.”
Great news! Glad to see that the tide is turning. Hollywood seems to be accepting the problem. Long way to go, but it is a start. Hope others will also take heed about representation.https://t.co/dmyz7sSddr— Mehwish Hayat TI (@MehwishHayat) September 5, 2019
Little did she know that the show that she had become an ambassador for was a show that ended up casting her. “It’s been quite a journey. I think I manifested it into my life,” she told the Deseret News.
The Pakistani actress admitted that when Marvel approached her for the role, they didn’t give her much information about the character or the plot.
“It was something that I tried to make sense of,” she said, adding that she wasn't “keeping my hopes very high.”
A few hours after Marvel received the tape, they emailed Hayat with a confirmation and more details about the show.
This wasn’t the first time Hayat collaborated with the director of this week’s “Ms. Marvel” episode, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Hayat voiced the character of Erma in the animated feature “3 Bahadur: Rise of the Warriors,” which Obaid-Chinoy directed.
‘Ms. Marvel’ explores Pakistan’s talent pool, Hayat says
When the actress found out that many of the people involved in “Ms. Marvel” were Pakistani, she knew the show would bring “more authenticity, nuance, and a global platform,” she told the Deseret News.
“I think it is a huge achievement,” she said. “The Western audiences now know that there is a talent pool in Pakistan — the director and the Pakistani actors — and inshallah, open up doors for the talent pool that exists here.”
But that isn’t her only connection to the show. Many scenes from Episode 5 showcase Karachi, which is Hayat’s hometown.
“Seeing it in a mainstream Hollywood show was like a dream come true,” Hayat said. “It’s just heartwarming.”