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'Ms. Marvel': Everything you need to know about Marvel and Disney+'s newest hero
Kamala Khan will soon join the Marvel Cinematic Universe when Ms. Marvel premieres on Disney+. Here's a quick guide to what's in store.
When Kamala Khan made her solo comic book debut with Ms. Marvel in 2014, she immediately proved immensely popular both with readers and critics alike. So it was no surprise when Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige announced that everyone's favorite New Jersey-based Pakistani American teenager would be one of the many characters making their live-action debut during Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
But, even if Kamala's much-awaited leap onto the small screen was expected, it is a big deal for a few reasons. Not only is she Marvel's first Muslim superhero to headline her own comic series (written by G. Willow Wilson with art from Adrian Alphona), but she'll also be the MCU's first Muslim superhero and the first to star in her own show. Of course, that's not all there is to the Avengers-loving teen, so here's everything you need to know about her.
When does the show premiere?
The first episode of Ms. Marvel, starring newcomer Iman Vellani in the title role, will hit Disney+ on Wednesday, June 8. And much like every other original series on the streaming platform — including Moon Knight and Obi-Wan Kenobi — new episodes will be dropping weekly. The show's first season will consist of six episodes, with each new installment going live Wednesdays at midnight. Here's hoping the show gets more than one season.
How do I watch it?
Fans will need a Disney+ subscription to watch Ms. Marvel as the series won't be available elsewhere. Currently, the platform offers customers a choice of two pricing options: $7.99 for a monthly streaming subscription, or an annual package for $79.99 upfront.
If you're looking to pair your subscription with some other streaming options, there is a bundle that features Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. You can get choose between a monthly subscription with ads ($13.99) or no ads ($19.99). It is important to note that on its own, a Disney+ subscription is ad-free already.
So, who is Kamala Khan — and who's in Ms. Marvel?
In the comics, Kamala Khan is a Pakistani-American teenager who lives in Jersey City along with her parents and an older and more religious brother. The comics origin of her powers are connected to the Inhumans, a group of heroes that are kind of like the X-Men, only instead of mutants, they're a race of superpowered humans who were once experimented on by the Kree (the alien race that Captain Marvel gets her powers from) 25,000 years ago. In Ms. Marvel, Kamala leaves a high school party she wasn't supposed to attend when an Inhuman weapon, a Terrigen Bomb, explodes near her and she's caught in the ensuing Terrigen Mist.
The Mist unlocks a long-dormant "Inhuman" gene, granting Kamala the power to elongate various parts of her body and change size and shape. Armed with these new abilities, the young teen decides to emulate her favorite Avenger — Captain Marvel — and become Jersey City's resident friendly neighborhood superhero.
Many of Kamala's early stories focus on her trying to figure out what it means to be a hero, while also balancing these newfound responsibilities with schoolwork, friends, and family.
But as hard as maintaining a secret identity is, it also gave her a chance to partner up with some of the other heroes in Marvel's comic universe, including the canine Inhuman Lockjaw, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and even Wolverine!
Now, given which heroes are currently in play throughout the wider MCU, fans can probably expect that those heroes will not show up in the show. (Though it is not outside the realm of possibility that Kamala's idol, Carol Danvers [Brie Larson], could make a brief cameo.) We definitely won't see the Inhumans in the MCU, as the critically-reviled ABC series appears to have been quietly forgotten and erased from canon, and the X-Men have yet to make their MCU debut. Instead, the show seems to be more of a coming of age tale that places Kamala's story front and center as she struggles to define what it means to be a superhero for herself, along with where she fits in at school and with her wider community. This is perfectly in line with the vision comics creators Sana Amanat, Stephen Wacker, G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, and Jamie McKelvie had for her.
Bisha K. Ali (Loki) serves as the head writer of the project, with episodes being directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah (Batgirl), Academy Award-winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, and Meera Menon (The Magicians).
The cast includes Mohan Kapur as Kamala's father, Yusuf, Zenobia Shroff as her mother, Muneeba, Saagar Shaikh as Kamala's older brother, Amir, and Matt Lintz as her best friend, Bruno Carrelli. The show will also star Aramis Knight (Into the Badlands) as the Red Dagger, a Pakistani superhero whose speciality is throwing, well, daggers — and whose superhero persona has a flirtatious relationship with Kamala. (In the comics, his alter ego, Kareem, briefly comes to stay with Kamala's family.)
What changes were made to Ms. Marvel's story?
Longtime readers of the character are already familiar with Kamala's origin story and her ability to "embiggen" herself as needed. However, as the new trailer reveals, her powers have been altered so that now she seems able to harness cosmic energy and use a magical manacle of some kind and form constructs with it — like when she uses it to walk through the air and even form a defensive shield. That doesn't mean her signature "big" power set doesn't make an appearance, there is a glimpse of it in action in the trailer. But, instead of her hands glowing yellow, like they do in the comics, they glow blue.
These changes help the character and her powers fit in with the current state of the MCU. (Remember, the Inhumans don't exist in the MCU canon.) The good news is these creative liberties offer her a chance to have some connections to other MCU newcomers. After all, Wong is still trying to figure out the origins of Shang-Chi's rings, or perhaps Eternals' techo-wizard Phastos could have created something that harnesses cosmic power during all his years here on Earth.
Wasn't there another Ms. Marvel?
Yes, there was — and it was none other than Carol Danvers herself!
This was back in the comics in the '70s, when an explosion caused Carol's DNA to merge with that of the male superhero Captain Marvel, giving her Kree superpowers. She would later go on to assume the title of Captain Marvel herself. (In fact, two other heroes who also went by Ms. Marvel in the comics, but Kamala hasn't interacted with them.)
Will Kamala Khan appear in the Captain Marvel sequel?
Kamala Khan will indeed appear in The Marvels. The movie, which is directed by Candyman's Nia DaCosta, will see the teen get a chance to work with her all-time favorite Avenger: Captain Marvel. She will also be joined by Teyonah Parris (WandaVision) as Monica Rambeau, the daughter of Carol's close friend, Maria. Monica is soon to be a hero in her own right, seeing as her cells were rewritten by Wanda Maximoff's hex in the Disney+ series.
What can I do while waiting for the show to come out?
There are plenty of great options for anyone looking to get familiar with Kamala Khan before she makes her small screen (and eventual big screen) debut. First, you can always check out the bestselling, Hugo Award-winning comic series that started all of this, along with her subsequent team-ups. Or you can watch one of her animated appearances, or even play as her in the 2020 video game Marvel's Avengers.