Kamala Khan is the newest Marvel Cinematic Universe hero. Her origins, however, may differ from those depicted in her comic books.
The trailer for Ms. Marvel, which will be available on Disney+ on June 8, shows New Jersey teenager Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) awakening to powers that may be derived from a rare relic. Kamala adopts the guise of Ms. Marvel after being inspired by her idolization of Captain Marvel.
But what are the most significant differences for Ms. Marvel as she transitions from comics to film? We go into the specifics of what the MCU does differently.
Ms. Marvel, a superhero epic with high school drama thrown in, muses on the relevance of a Pakistani Muslim becoming a Marvel superhero. “Maybe they’re right — I spend too much time in fantasy land. It’s not really the brown girls in Jersey City who save the world.” Kamala admits, fearing her own concerns. But, as Kamala will discover, some fantasies do come true.
The trailer is embedded below.
Her beginnings story is one of the most significant adjustments for Kamala Khan. In the comics, she gains her abilities after a Terrigen bomb detonates in New York City during the events of the 2013 Marvel crossover Infinity. The Terrigen Mists activate dormant “Inhuman” alien genes in ordinary people, granting them superpowers.
As the Mists move over the Hudson to Jersey City, Kamala calls them after leaving an uninvited high school house party. She begins to have hallucinations of her favourite superheroes, including Captain Marvel, and the next day awakens with polymorphing superpowers.
The TV show Ms. Marvel is taking a new path. While it’s unclear how Kamala gains her abilities, the trailer suggests they originate from cosmic-enhanced bangles. Kamala’s abilities have also evolved; instead of shapeshifting, she now possesses cosmic-based energy, making her more akin to Captain Marvel, however, the series pays respect to her old abilities by allowing Kamala to project “embiggened” fists.
The programme appears to lay a more focus on Kamala’s bangles, which were her great-wedding grandmother’s bangles in the comics. Kamala’s family fled anti-Muslim rioting in Bombay in 1947, and the bangles were used to carry the last of their money out safely.
Kamala wore the bangles largely for sentimental reasons as a superhero. However, in the MCU, her family’s jewels may be the basis of what makes Kamala so unique. The Ms. Marvel trailer hints as much, with text that states, “The future is in her hands.”
Kamala’s bangles, like the Ten Rings, have been reinvented in a way that both fits her story and opens up new options for visual storytelling. Her abilities not only bring her closer to her idol Carol Danvers figuratively, but her comic book polymorph talents would have been tough to represent on screen. It’s a wise decision to tweak her skills, and Ms. Marvel’s creator, G. Willow Wilson, supports the modifications.
“I think there’re some characters who are very much set up for the big screen; they’re very naturally sort of cinematic,” Wilson revealed to Polygon in 2019. “But with Ms. Marvel, we really weren’t interested in creating something that had very obvious film potential … She’s got very comic booky powers. God bless them trying to bring that to live action; I don’t know how that’s going to work out in a way that doesn’t look really creepy.”
In terms of the rest of the series, the frenetic synths of The Weeknd‘s biggest hit score Kamala’s story in a way that seems exhilarating while remaining grounded. As we’ll see, Kamala’s abilities may be alien but she still has the burden of homework and the nervous excitement of having crushes.