WARNING: Spoilers for Ms. Marvel.
Ms. Marvel’s changes to Kamala Khan’s powers seemed to mark a significant departure from the comics, but the finale confirmed that Kamala is the MCU’s first official mutant. In a departure from the comics, Ms Marvel had previously shown Kamala drawing her powers from a mysterious bracelet that she inherits from her grandma, granting her the ability to create “hard light” on which she can either stand or use to “embiggen” her fists as she does in the comics.
The discovery of this bracelet would appear to provide a very standard origin to the hero’s powers, though, as Bruno confirms in Ms Marvel‘s finale, there was more initially suggested. Until Disney acquired Fox, there was no chance of mutants appearing in the MCU due to complications with studio rights, though the merger of the two companies now makes such a crossover not only a possibility but a near certainty. After Patrick Stewart’s Professor X cameo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it was only a matter of time before the MCU began to reference mutants more freely, and the first hint of this can be found in Ms. Marvel episode 2.
Throughout the Marvel comic books and animated series, mutants are defined as beings who were born with a certain set of powers. These inherent abilities are not gained through a particular origin story, but rather they are a part of the heroes’ genetic makeup. Bruno’s suggestion in Ms. Marvel episode 2 that Kamala’s mysterious bracelet unlocked the powers inside her was then followed up with his assessment in the finale that Kamala has “some sort of mutation” that aids her powers. Ms Marvel‘s finale may have drawn the line at saying she is a mutant (and the term X-Men isn’t a thing yet), but this, and the familiar X-Men theme fanfare proved that Ms. Marvel is the MCU’s first official mutant.
Ms. Marvel’s Power Change Already Confirmed She Was A Genetic Hero
The initial theory that Ms Marvel is a mutant stemmed from the training montage in episode 2. Using one of his inventions to measure Kamala’s energy, Bruno states, “your power isn’t coming from the bangle, it’s coming from within you,” implying that the bracelet is not the source of Kamala’s powers but rather just the object through which they materialize. If Bruno’s readings are to be trusted – and the extent of his inventions and knowledge throughout Ms. Marvel suggest that they are – then this seemingly throwaway line was the first suggestion of true genetic, or “mutant,” powers in the MCU.
The theory was then supported by the statement from the Department of Damage Control official who refers to Kamala as an “enhanced individual,” mirroring the anti-mutant jargon which is prevalent in the comic books. And then of course, in Ms Marvel‘s finale, Bruno revealed that Kamala has a mutation, and the X-Men theme confirmed exactly what he meant. Even though Ms Marvel rejected the label immediately, the MCU has given her her most important classification as a mutant.
Ms. Marvel Is More Like Scarlet Witch In The MCU – But Is She A Mutant?
If the bracelet either awoke or enhanced Kamala’s powers, then Ms. Marvel’s superhero origin is far closer to Wanda’s than was previously thought. When the Scarlet Witch was first introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron, the MCU did not have the rights to the mutant catalogue, nor any of the associated terms or phrases. This is the reason for Wanda and Pietro’s distance from the X-Men in the MCU, despite being Magneto’s children in the comics. The franchise instead suggested that Wanda was born with certain telekinetic abilities which were then amplified by her proximity to the Mind Stone in Hydra experiments.
It could be the case that the MCU is following a similar course with Kamala, suggesting that she was born with certain powers which were only amplified by her bracelet. Due to the rights issues at the time of Wanda’s introduction, the MCU’s Scarlet Witch has never canonically been referred to as a mutant, meaning that Ms. Marvel is the MCU’s first exploration into that arena. While potentially using a different method to get there, Ms. Marvel more closely mirrored the hero’s comic book origins than it initially implied.
Ms. Marvel’s Comics Origin Explained
Kamala’s transition into a superhero is based on an entirely different narrative from that shown in the Ms. Marvel series. In the Infinity storyline, Black Bolt triggers a Terrigen bomb, which shrouds the Earth in a mist, awakening any dormant Inhuman genes in those it touches. One such person is Kamala, for whom the Terrigen Mist grants polymorph abilities to grow and shrink at will as well as the power to stretch her limbs great distances.
Although Kamala’s comic book origin is undoubtedly different from that shown in the MCU, Ms. Marvel may be following the same awakening principles that were established in the source material. Much like the Terrigen Mist, Kamala’s grandmother’s bangle serves to awaken the latent abilities that have been inside Kamala for her whole life, granting her the ability to summon hard light just as her comic book counterpart can stretch. If Wanda’s powers were enhanced by encountering the Mind Stone, then the true origin of Kamala’s bangle could be just as powerful.
Hints of genetic abilities and alignments to former MCU characters such as the Scarlet Witch could make Ms. Marvel the franchise’s first official mutant. Disney now owns the rights to use phrases such as “mutant,” differing Kamala from Wanda’s seemingly similar origin and potentially hinting that the series will officially align Kamala with mutant-kind in its remaining episodes. If this is the case, then Ms. Marvel could be the MCU’s key to finally bringing the X-Men into their shared universe.
Will Ms Marvel Join The X-Men
Ms Marvel‘s future is confirmed by the final screen of her show, which states “Ms Marvel will return in The Marvels“, which was already known. However, the X-Men tease, and the so on-the-nose use of the theme suggests that Kamala Khan’s future may be aligned with Professor Xavier’s heroes. That is in stark contrast with the assumption that Ms Marvel would join the Young Avengers. There’s no way the mutants tease isn’t paid off in a substantial way, it’s just whether that is in The Marvels or in Ms Marvel season 2. Or even as part of the MCU’s coming X-Men plans.
Next: Ms Marvel Finale Post-Credits Scene Explained
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