Here’s What You Should Know Before Watching Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel is almost here, which means more super-powered goodness on our screens. Kamala Khan rises through the Marvel Cinematic Universe ranks as the franchise’s first Muslim super hero, and this series serves as her origin story. Based on the trailers, it seems geared toward a younger audience — which is an excellent palette cleanser following the perpetual darkness of Moon Knight

It appears we’re in for a lighthearted, heartwarming romp, complete with Marvel’s signature snarky humor. Kamala’s energetic presence will surely keep us captivated throughout season 1. So, in honor of the show’s forthcoming debut, let’s dive into what you should know before watching Ms. Marvel


Who is Kamala Khan / Ms. Marvel?

Kamala Khan is a Muslim Pakistani-American 16 year old hailing from New Jersey. Born in Jersey City, Kamala spent her formative years with her parents, Yusuf and Muneeba, and her older brother Aamir. Kamala befriended Nakia Bahadir in kindergarten, and the two bonded over being practicing Muslims and the children of immigrants.

Kamala adores super heroes, particularly Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel. She loves writing super hero fan fiction and immersing herself in a good video game. While I think Kamala is cool as hell, she doesn’t feel like she fits in at school or home.

Inevitably, as with any super hero origin story, Kamala develops extraordinary abilities, taking up the mantle of Ms. Marvel in honor of her favorite hero. Fun fact: Captain Marvel was initially known as Ms. Marvel, first bursting onto the comic book scene in 1968. However, Carol adopted the Captain Marvel moniker in 2012 in honor of the late Mar-Vell.


What are Kamala’s powers?

Kamala obtains her abilities from exposure to the Terrigen Mist in the comics. She possesses a dormant Inhuman gene that said Terrigen Mist activates. While heading home from a high school party, the Terrigen Mist enshrouds all of New Jersey, unlocking Kamala’s powers. Kamala undergoes Terrigenesis, unconscious in a cocoon. She envisions the Avengers, including Captain Marvel, Iron Man, and Captain America

Kamala emerges with polymorph powers, meaning she can stretch her body in countless ways. Additionally, she can elongate her torso, limbs, and neck, pulling them in various directions à la Mr. Fantastic. She rapidly heals from injuries, can adjust her size, alter her physical appearance, compress into any shape, and emanate a luminous yellow light. 

So, here’s where Ms. Marvel deviates from its source material. Kamala isn’t a polymorph in the show. My theory is because Marvel introduced Reed Richards in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, they wanted to differentiate between his powers and Kamala’s abilities. 

Inhuman Influence

In addition, according to Kevin Feige, the now-defunct ABC Marvel shows, i.e., Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Inhumans, aren’t canon in the MCU. If you watched S.H.I.E.L.D., you know that the series brought Inhumans into the fold, with Skye/Daisy Johnson undergoing Terrigenesis and emerging as Quake. Inhumans focused on the Inhuman Royal Family — Black Bolt, Medusa, Crystal, Karnak the Shatterer, Gorgon, Triton, Maximus the Mad, and Lockjaw the dog — as they reside on Attilan. 

Since Kamala’s origin story in the comics is linked to the Inhumans/Terrigen Mist, which don’t technically exist in the MCU’s 616 universe, Ms. Marvel seems to rely on the Nega-Bands as a source of Kamala’s powers. Nega-Bands are ancient relics of the Kree empire (Inhumans sprung from Kree experiments) that grant the wearer incredible abilities.

Based on the trailers, it appears that Kamala will retain her bioluminescence, but the actual nature of her powers is still vague. In the glimpses of Kamala using her powers, she looks identical to Captain Marvel, and it seems Kamala possesses similar abilities to her idol.

I wish Marvel adhered to the comic books in this case, as it would be a great way to reintroduce Inhumans and make the lore surrounding them canon. Here’s hoping Ms. Marvel pleasantly surprises us.


Where does Ms. Marvel sit in the MCU timeline?

The timeframe for Ms. Marvel is unknown, but some speculate it takes place around the same time as Hawkeye, set in December 2024. It would make sense, given the environment. I’d wager it’s right before or after Hawkeye, as it doesn’t look too cold judging from the trailer and teasers. Regardless, it seems like a delightful installment in Phase Four. 

Thankfully, this won’t be the last time we see Kamala Khan. Iman Vellani will reprise her role opposite Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) and Teyonah Parris (Monica Rambeau) in 2023’s The Marvels, so watching Ms. Marvel should be requisite viewing.


Who’s appearing in Ms. Marvel?

Besides Kamala’s family and friends, we don’t know if we’ll get any well-established MCU cameos. As per Marvel’s usual, details are scant on all fronts. According to IMDB, Kareem, AKA Red Dagger (played by Aramis Knight), appears in a few episodes. Kareem’s mother and Kamala’s aunt attended school together, while the former resided with Kamala’s grandmother in Karachi.

Kareem masquerades at night as Red Dagger, the vigilante who tirelessly protects Pakistan. His specialty is throwing knives. 

The most obvious link to Kamala is Carol Danvers, and while it would be fantastic to get a Brie Larson appearance, I can’t see it happening. We wouldn’t want the massive MCU names detracting from Kamala’s vital introduction. 

We see Kamala standing in the street in the trailer, shielding her eyes from the blinding light enveloping four bodies looming before her. Are these the baddies? I wonder if we’ll see some Kree antagonists — maybe someone who wants to steal the Nega-Bands from Kamala. It would be a fun tie-in to The Marvels


Regardless, it’s about damn time Marvel had a Muslim superhero. The MCU is diversifying its roster for Phase Four, and I’m here for it. Representation matters. 

Ms. Marvel premieres on June 8 on Disney+. Are you excited about Ms. Marvel? What are your predictions for the series? Keep the conversation going over at side.show/geekgroup, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!