Ms. Marvel is one of several heroes joining the MCU in 2022, and now Marvel has released the first trailer for the upcoming Disney+ series. But where some characters make the jump from page to screen fully intact, it’s clear this series is making some pretty significant changes to Kamala Khan’s origin story, starting with her powers.
What’s changed in this adaptation? Here’s what we learn from the trailer and why we think Ms. Marvel is being reinvented to bring her closer to Captain Marvel.
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Kamala Khan’s New Powers
In the comics Kamala is depicted as an Inhuman. She’s completely unaware of her Inhuman heritage until the day she’s exposed to a cloud of Terrigen Mists and her powers suddenly manifest. Kamala becomes a polymorph – able to stretch and expand her body into all sorts of disgustingly useful shapes. Basically like Mister Fantastic or Elastgirl.
The trailer makes it clear that’s not at all what happens in the MCU. Here, Iman Vellani’s Kamala seems to gain her powers from a mystical bracelet. Instead of making her stretchy, the bracelet generates a purple energy aura that Kamala can use to form fists, shield herself and even walk on air.
This seems to confirm Ms. Marvel isn’t an Inhuman in the MCU. Not that we can really blame Marvel for making that change. The 2017 TV series was a critical disaster, and Marvel seems reluctant to return to the Inhumans well anytime soon.
Plus, we know the MCU is building towards the debut of the Fantastic Four. Marvel may feel it’s too confusing to introduce two major characters with stretchy powers so close together.
Instead, this new origin story seems to emphasize Kamala’s connection to the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe. She even says so herself when she describes the sensation as “cosmic.”
We also can’t help but notice the emphasis on clocks and time-related imagery in the trailer, including one shot where Kamala seems to be falling backward while time stops around her. Is this all a clue that her powers are somehow based on time? Maybe her energy powers involve speeding up and slowing down the entropy of the world around her, allowing her to perform all sorts of incredible feats.
Ms. Marvel’s Enchanted Bracelet
Kamala’s powers may have changed, but her bracelet is a key part of her story in the comics. More than just a fancy piece of jewelry, the bracelet is a Khan family heirloom that dates back to the 1940s, when India and Pakistan were first divided into separate countries.
As established in the comics, Kamala’s great-grandparents once made the difficult trek to Pakistan, selling all their valuables and hiding the money inside the bracelet. One shot in the trailer even appears to show that journey, suggesting we’ll be getting a flashback subplot in the series.
Ever since then, the bracelet worn by Kamala’s great-grandmother has been a family heirloom passed down from one generation of women to the next. The comics have yet to suggest there’s anything actually supernatural about the bracelet, but it appears that heirloom is the source of her powers in the show.
One possibility is that the bracelet is actually an alien artifact. It could even be the MCU version of the Kree Nega-Bands, which allow the wearer to convert thoughts into physical energy. Sort of like a Green Lantern ring, in other words. Does that make Ms. Marvel a Purple Lantern?
That Kree connection makes sense, given how closely this series is tied to the Captain Marvel movies. In fact, the comics have even hinted that Kamala may have some Kree DNA in her family bloodline. Whatever is going on here, we suspect this bracelet will be the key to bringing Kamala into the plot of the Captain Marvel sequel The Marvels.
Ms. Marvel’s Superhero Obsession
Besides showing off Ms. Marvel’s reimagined powers, one of the main focal points in this trailer is Kamala’s obsession with Captain Marvel and other female MCU heroes. That’s one of her defining character traits in the comics. Long before becoming a superhero herself, Kamala was obsessed with the superhero community.
As you can imagine, that obsession creates some problems for a nerdy girl struggling to make her way through high school and please her deeply traditional Muslim American parents.
On the other hand, this is the source of Kamala’s codename and costume. In the comics, Carol Danvers went by Ms. Marvel for many years before finally becoming Captain Marvel, and Kamala inherited the Ms. Marvel name afterward. As the trailer shows, her costume starts out as a homemade Captain Marvel suit before evolving into a more unique suit that blends her superhero fandom and her Islamic heritage.
The trailer does raise one interesting question, though. How has this newer generation of Avengers become this famous? We see Kamala wearing a T-shirt featuring Captain Marvel, Wasp and what appears to be the Kate Bishop Hawkeye.
As far as we know from previous movies, Carol Danvers has spent very little time on Earth since gaining her powers, though this shot of a sparkly Captain Marvel shrine suggests she’s somehow built up a fanbase on Earth.
Hope Van Dyne has never seemed like a very public figure. And even Kate Bishop is very new on the scene.
Hopefully the series will clarify this mystery and establish just how famous the Avengers have become in the wake of battling Thanos. Maybe Carol will be as shocked as we are to find out she has a fan club back on Earth.
What do you think of Ms. Marvel’s revamped MCU origin? Let us know in the comments. And for more on the series, check out our full breakdown of Ms. Marvel’s comic book history and our look at all the Marvel movies and shows in the works.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.