Ms. Marvel episode 1 reveals how the MCU version of Kamala Khan gets her powers – and, as fans suspected from the trailer, it differs from the comics.
Warning: spoilers for the first episode of Ms. Marvel ahead. Turn back now if you have not seen the new Disney Plus show.
In the original source material, Kamala’s latent Inhuman DNA is activated when Black Bolt, who showed up briefly in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, releases Terrigen Mist into the Earth’s atmosphere. After being exposed to the substance, the youngster discovers she has super strength and can “embiggen” her limbs at will.
In the show, Kamala gets her powers – or at least channels them – through a bracelet once owned by her grandmother. We see her use a similar “embiggen” power, though it’s through some sort of cosmic force, rather than her being able to make her physical self bigger. There’s no sign of her being Inhuman, which makes this very different to the comics. However, there’s a chance that Kamala’s bracelet could be a Kree-style Nega-Band or a Quantum Band, which are both objects from the comics. You can about both in our deep-dive explainer on Ms. Marvel’s powers.
The first episode of Ms. Marvel, titled ‘Generation Why’, centers on Kamala (Iman Vellani) trying to think up a way to get to AvengerCon with her bestie Bruno (Matt Lintz). Her parents aren’t keen on her attending the event, but the superhero-loving teen is determined to win its cosplay competition dressed up as her fave, Captain Marvel. When her mother and father tell her she can go if she wears a Hulk-inspired costume, Kamala takes matters into her own hands and sneaks out – but not before she grabs the mystical bangle from the attic.
On stage at the convention, she puts on the bracelet and it immediately latches on to her forearm, as it creates a pulsing, purplish glimmer around her whole body. Her eyes change color and she falls backward into what looks like another dimension, where shadowy figures with glowing eyes stare at her from all sides, then she’s snapped back to AvengerCon. As the crowd snaps photos of her look, Kamala seems to accidentally shoot out crystallized energy blasts from her left hand.
Kamala is set to team up with WandaVision’s Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) and Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) in the upcoming movie The Marvels, so her abilities being reframed as more cosmic and energy-based to match theirs makes sense. It might also mean that the series can explore Kamala’s culture and heritage a little more, too. In the premiere, there are a couple of nods to Djinn, Islamic mythological spirits that can supposedly influence mankind and tend to be either good or evil. Might they play a part in this Ms. Marvel’s origin story?
We’ll likely find out more in Ms. Marvel episode 2, which will be released Disney Plus on Wednesday, June 15. In the meantime, why not use our roundup of the best shows on Disney Plus for some viewing inspiration, or check out Total Film’s exclusive chat with Ms. Marvel directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.