Ms. Marvel is the best-reviewed series in Disney Plus’s MCU, and now just 1% shy of being the highest scoring show or movie, outside of Black Panther.
But early reports are coming in that viewership is significantly lower than other Disney Plus series. SambaTV reports that 775,000 household watched Ms. Marvel in its first five days, which compares unfavorable to all the other live-action MCU shows:
- WandaVision: 1.6 Million
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: 1.8 Million
- Loki: 2.5 Million
- Hawkeye: 1.5 Million
- Moon Knight: 1.8 Million
While the report cites higher viewership among Gen Z and Black, Hispanic and Asian households, it’s still quite a ways off from the others, why? It certainly isn’t because the show isn’t good. However…
Ms. Marvel is a brand new hero – Almost all these other shows were based on existing, high profile characters in the MCU and their attached stars, Wanda, Vision, Sam, Bucky, Loki and Clint. Ms. Marvel has no supporting backup like Captain Marvel herself (not yet, anyway).
It’s lead actress is completely unknown – Iman Vellani is absolutely tremendous as Kamala Khan, and yet she is also a totally unknown actress to this point. In Disney’s other new hero series, Moon Knight, at least that had Oscar Isaac, blockbuster-caliber actor, in the main role as a draw.
It’s very clearly aimed at a younger crowd – It’s the first PG-rated Marvel series and definitely draws a lot of parallels with YA series. You may get some measure of existing Marvel fans believing this one isn’t “for them,” which is unfortunate, given that it’s enjoyable regardless of what generation you’re from.
Disney is pairing it with Obi-Wan – None of the other MCU series were layered directly on top of a high profile Star Wars show like this, and for whatever reason, Disney insists on putting both of them out the same day, which could be hurting its viewership.
The marketing was not great – All the pre-release trailers I saw didn’t do a great job of packaging the series, if you ask me. While I was planning to watch it, the trailers didn’t really assure me of its potential quality, and it wasn’t until the reviews starting rolling in that I thought maybe it had captured lightning in a bottle.
She’s a Pakistani-American Muslim – While I’ve brought up the racism behind the review bombing of Ms. Marvel on various sites before, I realize I should also cite it here as well. Fundamentally, this is a show about a teenage Pakistani-American Muslim girl where comic fanbases have had decades of white guys as heroes. That’s slowly starting to change, but minority heroes as leads are still rare and unfortunately can be rejected for that reason alone, among a certain subset of viewers.
Ultimately, does viewership matter for Ms. Marvel? I’m not so sure, given that the plan for Kamala Khan very much seems to be to give her a prominent part in The Marvels next year, which seems like the next step for her character regardless of how the show does. She also seems like she’s planned to be a core part of the new/younger Avengers team that Marvel is building in Phase 4 here, similar to Kate Bishop, even though Hawkeye hasn’t been renewed for season 2. There’s a plan behind the scenes here, clearly.
I do hope more people start watching, however, even if it just so more people can see how great the show is, and how great Iman Vellani is in it. We’ll see if these numbers pick up as the show continues on.