It looks like beloved comic book character Kamala Khan may be the next to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In a recent interview, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige explicitly stated that there are plans for Ms. Marvel and that something involving her character is in the works.
So who exactly is Ms. Marvel, and why would her joining the MCU be such a big deal? Here’s a look at the history of this character, how she could join the movie universe (page 7), and the acclaimed writer and actress who might have a hand in the movie’s screenplay (page 10).
1. She was not the first Ms. Marvel
Kamala Khan was not the first character to go by the name Ms. Marvel. In the comics, a Kree alien named Mar-Vell comes to Earth and takes on the name Captain Marvel. He encounters a woman named Carol Danvers, an officer in the Air Force. After an accident, Carol becomes fused with Kree DNA, gaining superpowers. She then takes on the name Ms. Marvel.
Later, Carol Danvers takes over the name Captain Marvel from Mar-Vell, leaving room for another unrelated character named Kamala Khan to use the Ms. Marvel name. Two other characters, Sharon Ventura and Karla Sofen, also went by Ms. Marvel at various points.
Carol Danvers will be the main character of Marvel’s upcoming film Captain Marvel, played by Brie Larson. Jude Law also stars in that movie as Mar-Vell.
Next: The introduction of Ms. Marvel represented a major turning point.
2. She’s the first Muslim character to headline a Marvel series
Part of the reason that Kamala Khan is so important is that she was the first Muslim character to headline a Marvel comic book series; it took until 2013 for that to happen. Granted, there were Muslim characters in the comics before then, but never had they headlined a series.
The character was co-created by Sana Amanat, who herself was born into a Pakistani family. She said that the Kamala Khan came out of her desire to “explore the Muslim-American diaspora from an authentic perspective.”
The introduction of this new Ms. Marvel received a lot of attention at the time; Amanat even went to the White House and presented a copy of the first issue to President Barack Obama.
Next: Why Kamala is so relatable.
3. She grows up loving comic books and struggling with her faith
Kamala Khan is one of those characters who readers immediately relate to. After all, part of her backstory is that she’s a huge nerd who is obsessed with video games, comic books, and fan fiction. She’s a big fan of a lot of superheroes but especially Carol Danvers.
Khan, however, feels different from everyone else, both because of her nerdy interests and because of her heritage. She struggles with her faith and with growing up in an extremely conservative household.
In terms of how she gets the name, Khan just takes it because she’s a fan of Carol Danvers; it’s only later that she gets to meet Carol and gets Carol’s permission to keep using the Ms. Marvel identity.
Next: Where Khan lives is a key part of her character.
4. She’s from New Jersey
One key aspect of Khan is that she’s from Jersey City, New Jersey. This is significant because a large number of Marvel stories take place in New York.
Writer G. Willow Wilson explained in an interview, “She’s very much the kind of girl who grew up staring wistfully at Manhattan, thinking ‘If only I could make it to the big city.’ Jersey City is not just the backdrop of the series, but very much a part of Kamala’s own journey.”
Next: The surprising backstory of Kamala Khan
5. She discovers that she has Inhuman heritage
As part of a crossover event called Inhumanity in 2013, Terrigen Mist gets released all around the world, activating dormant Inhuman cells. This affects Kamala Khan, who does not know she is part Inhuman. She is walking home from a party one night when she finds herself blanketed in the Terrigen Mists and soon finds she has supernatural abilities. The key one is that she is now a polymorph, being able to change her body into anything.
Khan’s identity as a Muslim-American and an Inhuman ends up coming into play in some interesting ways. For example, at one point, Khan deals with a terrorist organization consisting of Inhumans who believe they are superior to humans and put her in the position of being associated with an extremist group just because of who she is, despite having nothing to do with them.
Next: Khan teams up with this character who exists in the MCU right now
6. She teams up with Spider-Man
When we see Kamala Khan in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, she’ll probably have a close relationship with Spider-Man. After all, Khan teamed up with Spider-Man in the comics before she even teamed up with Captain Marvel. This occurred in The Amazing Spider-Man #7 in October 2014, a year after Khan’s first solo comic.
It makes sense for these characters to share screen time, as they’re both teenagers attempting to juggle the superhero life with being normal high-schoolers.
Next: This could be Ms. Marvel’s future in the MCU.
7. She eventually joins the Avengers
There’s reason to believe that Khan could join the Avengers roster in the films; after all, there’s precedent for it in the comics. In 2015, in the aftermath of the Secret Wars storyline, Khan officially became an Avenger.
Members of the group at that time included Captain America, Iron Man, Vision, Thor, Spider-Man, and Nova. She becomes especially close with Spider-Man and Nova during this time.
She then played a role in Marvel’s Civil War II storyline, during which she clashes with her hero, Carol Danvers.
Next: Ms. Marvel isn’t part of the Avengers for long
8. She creates her own superhero team separate from the Avengers
Khan doesn’t stay a part of the Avengers for long; eventually, she, Spider-Man, and Nova quit the group, feeling like the Avengers don’t care about the average person anymore. They go on to form their own group called The Champions. The Hulk, Viv Vision, and Cyclops also join.
Spider-Man obviously has a bright future ahead of him in the MCU, and it seems likely that Nova will enter the film universe soon. So it would not be surprising if this storyline ended up playing out in the movies down the line.
Next: When we might see Ms. Marvel in the movies.
9. We probably won’t see her on screen for a few years
So when might we see Kamala Khan on screen? While Kevin Feige does say they have plans for her, she might not get a movie for some time. Carol Danvers needs to be firmly established in this universe before Khan can come into play. It would make sense to introduce Khan in a Captian Marvel sequel, proceeding to spin her off in her own movie; this is what happened in the comics.
Marvel sequels generally come out three or so years after the previous one. So the company could theoretically release Captain Marvel 2 featuring Kamala Khan in 2022, with a Ms. Marvel movie following not long after.
Next: This surprising person could write the Ms. Marvel movie.
10. Mindy Kaling is interested in writing the movie
Now, Mindy Kaling has said that she would be interested in getting involved in the Ms. Marvel movie. This was actually actor Riz Ahmed’s idea; he said he would be interested in participating in the film with Kaling.
Kaling responded by saying that she’s obsessed with Ms. Marvel and has read every single issue. Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson herself responded by saying that she thinks Ahmed and Kaling working on the movie would be a great idea.
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