Ms. Marvel’s first episode featured the first-ever AvengerCon. But what is it, and how does nerd culture play into the MCU?
Kamala Khan – aka Ms. Marvel – is obsessed with the Avengers, especially Captain Marvel, so it is through her that the audience learns of AvengerCon, a major event during the series’ first episode.
What is AvengerCon?
AvengerCon is basically the MCU’s version of Comic-Con; a big event where fans of the Avengers can get together, buy merch, and geek about about the things they love.
In Ms. Marvel, AvengerCon is coming to Camp Leigh in New Jersey, where Kamala lives. She is desperate to go, as not only is she obsessed with the Avengers and geek culture in general, but this is apparently the first AvengerCon ever. “It’s totally historic, and, like, very educational!” Kamala states to her parents when she’s begging them to let her go.
Though the real reason she wants to go is so she can show off the Captain Marvel cosplay that she and her best friend Bruno have made and even with proton gloves.
According to executive producer Sana Amanat in an interview with Marvel.com, the concept of AvengerCon “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.'”
And while the convention was based on real-life events, Bilall Fallah – executive producer and director of Episode 1 – went on to state that the crew went all out to make it more spectacular than anything done before: “It was the most fun set we’ve ever had.”
MCU Easter Eggs at AvengerCon
Since this is an entire convention surrounding the Avengers, there are more callouts to other Marvel properties than can be possibly counted. As Fallah continues explaining to Marvel.com, “It was Easter egg paradise.
“It was an homage to the fans because fandom is what makes Marvel great, what makes those superheroes 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.”
From the wonderfully chaotic con, fans can spot a life-size statue of Ant-Man – which ends up going awry – music playing from the very first Captain America movie, and cosplay of every MCU character under the sun.
There’s also Ryan Penagos as the host of the con. For those who don’t know, he is Vice President & Creative Executive of Marvel New Media.
Probably the most poignant Easter egg is a tribute wall, which features an image of Black Widow and Iron Man, and thanks them for their sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame. It’s a bittersweet thing to look at.
But this tribute calls into question how the world actually views the Avengers. As superhero characters? Celebrities? Saviors, akin to firefighters? And what does being an “Avengers-Nerd” actually mean in the MCU?
What is Nerd Culture in the MCU?
When it comes to how fans view the Avengers in the MCU, it is obviously different than how we view them. They haven’t been able to see the Avengers fighting on the big screen like we have. The internal struggle that the Avengers have often felt has gone totally unbeknownst to most of the general public.
An example of this is how the galaxy-bound Groot is simply called “Mr. Tree” at the convention, because how would anyone on Earth know his real name?
- Read More: “A Fan Guide to Ms. Marvel” now on Disney+
Amanat explains, “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.”
However, despite this world’s lack of accurate superhero knowledge, the Avengers have gathered fans just as frantic as real-world Marvel fans – perhaps even more frantic, since the Avengers actually saved their world. At AvengerCon, viewers can see all kinds of Avengers merch being swept up. T-shirts, mugs, costumes, everything.
Outside the convention, Kamala runs a YouTube channel where she discusses her theories about the Avengers. Thor is apparently a popular gamer now. And Ant-Man even has his own podcast, which Kamala gleefully follows.
Actress Iman Vellani, who plays Kamala, is actually a self-proclaimed Marvel nerd. And while she’s never been to a convention, she has always wanted to.
Vellani reveals to Marvel.com that “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.
“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.”
While Marvel fans may be seething with jealousy and wishing that AvengerCon was a real thing, at least they have Ms. Marvel to watch as a remedy.
Ms. Marvel episode 1 is available to stream on-demand on Disney+