Kevin Feige Addressed Kamala Khan’s New Powers in ‘Ms. Marvel’—Here’s Why They Changed
Before the series premiered, a trailer for Disney Plus’ Ms. Marvel provided a small glimpse into her superpowers—and not everyone was happy. For those unfamiliar with the comics, Ms. Marvel, a.k.a. Kamala Khan, is a young, Pakistani-American teenager living in New Jersey. She idolizes Captain Marvel and often gets in trouble (at home and at school) for daydreaming and getting lost in her own fantasy world.
The trailer provided a short, but enlightening, look at her powers, along with another glimpse at her ally, Red Dagger. However, the internet was abuzz with controversy ever since the first trailer dropped—because her powers looked very different from how they appeared in the comics.
What are Ms. Marvel’s new powers?
Spoilers ahead if you haven’t watched the last episode of Ms. Marvel on Disney Plus
Now that we’ve seen the show, we know that Ms. Marvel’s powers come from her Djinn heritage (magical beings from a different dimension.) They were activated (or unlocked you could say) by her bangles and present in a similar manner to Captain Marvel’s cosmic fists (except with much more purple). They appear as a sparkling and kinetic purple aura around her fists and arms—that she can then project or shape however she needs. In the trailer, we see her use these “purple constructs” to form a geodesic shield to protect innocent people (and to form giant purple fists in the midst of a battle).
It was revealed in the final episode that the reason she was able to access and use her Djinn DNA, while her other family members can’t, is because she has a genetic mutation. That’s right! The MCU has just revealed its first Mutant! Hopefully this means we will get more of them popping up through Marvel’s Phase 5 and Phase 6!
How do Kamala’s powers differ from the comic?
In the comics, Kamala’s powers don’t come from bracelets or Djinn heritage, but from an explosion that activates hidden Inhuman genes in her DNA. They are called “morphogenetics” and mean that she can stretch, expand, deform, or compress her body in any way that she can imagine. The comic lore says that she is able to do this by “sharing her mass through time with different versions of herself.”
Most often in the comics, this is depicted by her using her giant fists, or elongating her limbs and other body parts over great distances. She can adjust her size to either make herself gigantic (the size of a building) or minuscule (the size of a toy). She also is able to rapidly heal herself from any injuries she might receive, although she is unable to heal and use her powers simultaneously. She can alter her physical appearance (including disguising herself as an inanimate object), however, the use of her power in any way causes her to glow bright yellow and emit a tell-tale energy signature.
Why did they change them?
There has been controversy surrounding Kamala’s changed superpowers ever since the first trailer dropped. Fans of the comic have complained that her power, being an intrinsic part of her at the molecular level, is a metaphor for teenage girlhood, adolescence, and the changes that come with puberty. By changing her powers to something less strange, and from a power source that can be removed from her body, they feel it undercuts the metaphor and weakens her story.
In an interview with Empire, Kevin Feige finally addressed the change. He insists that it was done to keep continuity within the Marvel Cinematic Universe and that they tried to do it in a way that preserves her family heritage, while also linking her directly to events within the MCU. In his words:
“We adapt the comics; it’s not an exact translation. [Kamala] came about in a very specific time within the comic-book continuity. She is now coming into a very specific time within the MCU continuity. And those two things didn’t match. What we will learn about where those powers come from, and how they come about, is specific to the MCU. You will see great comic splash panels in some of our action sequences. If you want big, giant hands and arms, well they’re here in spirit, if not in stretchy, plastic-type ways.”
Feige seems to be referring to the fact that in the comics Kamala is actually Inhuman, with her latent abilities being triggered when she comes into contact with the Terrigen mists from an explosion—an event that has not happened in the MCU (Inhumans have also not been present until Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness). While this seems like something that could easily be brought into the MCU in any number of ways, including in the Ms. Marvel series itself, only time (and Marvel Entertainment) will tell if this change in her powers will be connected to the larger MCU in a truly meaningful way.
(featured image: Marvel)
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