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Ms. Marvel creators on journey from comics to Disney+ show: It's ‘completely wild’
From a hard reboot in the comics all the way to her own TV series at Disney+, Kamala Khan has made the trip off the printed page and into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with superheroic speed — especially considering she's been around for only half a decade.
It’s a success story that even her comic book creators have a hard time getting their heads around. Introduced as the new face of Ms. Marvel in 2013’s Captain Marvel #17, Kamala Khan had enjoyed a small handful of animated trips to the small screen thanks to Avengers Assemble and the Marvel Rising Secret Warriors series. But never did Ms. Marvel writer and co-creator G. Willow Wilson expect her teenage, Carol Danvers-worshiping hero to find a place in the MCU.
Confessing to Polygon that the whole idea of Ms. Marvel on TV is “completely wild,” Wilson said no one on the team of creators who conceived Kamala Khan for the comics thought about the character’s crossover potential, or even fantasized that they might be coming up with a Marvel hero whose powers would one day be expressed in live action.
“It is so far beyond what either [editor Sana Amanat] or I ever envisioned going into this series, six, going on seven years ago, that I almost can’t process it,” Wilson said. “I think there’re some characters who are very much set up for the big screen, they’re very naturally sort of cinematic. But with Ms. Marvel, we really weren’t interested in creating something that had very obvious film potential. I was really leaning — and I know Adrian [Alphona] and Takeshi [Miyazawa] and all of the artists as well — were really leaning into the comic book-ness of this character. She’s got very comic-booky powers.”
While she possesses the starting superhero loadout of super speed, super strength, and fast healing, Kamala Khan also has abilities that indeed might take some deft CGI finesse to get right on TV. In addition to being bioluminescent, her signature ability is her shape-shifting power to morph her body — typically her arms and legs. That’s a power that Wilson said she never even considered as something to adapt for the screen, but she’s super-psyched that it’s happening all the same.
“[Ms. Marvel] was very much a comic book lover’s comic book, for people who’d grown up with superhero stuff. So my ambition, and all of our ambitions, I think, for this character, never transcended that. It was always about the comic books,” she said.
“Even metatextually, she’s a comic book fan within a comic book! So to see that all resonate to such a degree that, ironically, we ran before we could walk, is really kind of crazy … She’s going to get even more fans once she’s on the screen, and it’s just incredible to me to have been a part of that. It was not something that I would ever have had the temerity to dream up for myself.”
Marvel announced the new Ms. Marvel live-action series at this year’s D23 expo, along with news that Bisha K. Ali (Four Weddings and a Funeral at Hulu) will be the showrunner and lead writer. There’s no early word on casting or when the new series will arrive on Disney+, so stay tuned.