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Who is Ms. Marvel?: A brief guide to the MCU’s next big hero

In exactly 50 days, Ms. Marvel will premiere on Disney+ as the newest Marvel Studios original series. This also marks the first time that a character created in this century has headlined her own Marvel series. However, the relatively recent introduction of Ms. Marvel as a heroine means that she isn’t as widely known as many of her fellow Marvel characters. But she has been one of the breakout creations of the last decade in Marvel’s comic book universe — and she could have the same impact in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well.

The first thing you need to know is that Ms. Marvel is a legacy character. Carol Danvers, the current Captain Marvel, was the original Ms. Marvel in 1977. The new Ms. Marvel is Kamala Khan, a teenage heroine created in 2013 by editors Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker, writer G. Willow Wilson, and artists Adrian Alphona and Jamie McKelvie. The reason why Kamala took on the name Ms. Marvel is because she idolizes Carol.

Kamala is also the first Muslim character to get her own Marvel comic book series, and her faith is an intrinsic part of her character. She is a Pakistani American who was born and raised in this country. That’s one of the reasons why she doesn’t tend to wear a hijab headscarf. Kamala was also envisioned as an audience surrogate character. Consequently, she was a huge fangirl of Marvel’s heroes long before she had powers of her own. And as seen in the early trailers for the show, that character trait will be carried over to the MCU.

The cast of Ms. Marvel.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

One of the key aspects that makes Kamala so relatable is that most of her problems are very down to earth. She struggles with issues of faith, family, and her social life in addition to trying to be the best heroine she can be. In that way, she’s the modern-day Peter Parker, and she’s been embraced by comic book readers. Marvel Studios is clearly expecting a similar response from its fans, since Kamala will have a leading role in The Marvels when it hits theaters next year.

Within the comics, Kamala’s shape-shifting powers come from her Inhuman heritage. However, Marvel has shied away from making references to the galactic heroes since the infamous Inhumans TV series failed in 2017. It appears that the show is changing Kamala’s origin story and the nature of her powers by depicting them as cosmic energy constructs. But in the comics, Kamala typically uses her abilities to grow or stretch as needed.

Newcomer Iman Vellani will play Kamala Khan in the Ms. Marvel series. She will be joined by Aramis Knight as Kareem/Red Dagger, Saagar Shaikh as Amir Khan, Rish Shah as Kamran, Zenobia Shroff as Muneeba Khan, Mohan Kapur as Yusuf Khan, Matt Lintz as Bruno Carrelli, Yasmeen Fletcher as Nakia Bahadir, Laith Nakli as Sheikh Abdullah, and Travina Springer as Tyesha Hillman.

Ms. Marvel was created for television by Bisha K. Ali, and directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah. The first episode will premiere on Disney+ on June 8.

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Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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