Why did they change Ms Marvel’s Powers? What is this about?

Why did they change Ms Marvel’s Powers? There aren’t many teenage superheroes in the MCU—at least, not yet. Everyone’s aware of Peter Parker, also known as our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Plus, there’s the recent addition of Kate Bishop in Hawkeye, although she’s actually a college student. A young superhero is long overdue, and this June, we’re finally going to see Ms. Marvel shake things up.

First introduced in 2013, 16-year-old Kamala Khan takes on the Ms. Marvel mantle, which was originally claimed by Carol Danvers, who in the MCU is actually Captain Marvel—so there’s no overlap. As a newer addition to the comic book (and MCU) realm, though, Kamala couldn’t be the same as most superheroes we’ve seen before: white, traumatized, and based in New York City.

Why did they change Ms Marvel’s Powers?

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) modified Ms. Marvel’s powers from the comics for a few reasons.

  • To further set her apart: Ms. Marvel can shapeshift and assume the look of other characters in comic books, including Captain Marvel. Nonetheless, this ability is comparable to that of other Marvel Cinematic Universe characters, such Mystique and the Skrulls. It’s possible that the MCU intended to give Ms. Marvel a distinct set of abilities in order to further distinguish her apart.
  • To make her more approachable: Ms. Marvel’s abilities in the MCU are derived from cosmic energy. Being unique rather than being a carbon copy of another superhero, this gives her additional strength and relatability as a character.
  • To strengthen her connection to the MCU: Given that the MCU is a vast and interwoven universe, it’s possible that the creators of the franchise intended to strengthen Ms. Marvel’s abilities’ ties to the larger MCU. Her cosmic energy abilities might be connected to other Marvel Cinematic Universe objects, such the Quantum Realm or the Infinity Stones.
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The Marvel Studios creative team ultimately decided to alter Ms. Marvel’s abilities. They believed that Kamala Khan’s character and the MCU were better suited for the new abilities.

While some comic book readers were let down by the alteration, others welcomed the new abilities. Though it’s unclear how Ms. Marvel’s abilities will be applied in the MCU, they will undoubtedly be crucial to her next adventures.

Ms Marvel's Powers

What are Kamala Khan’s powers in the Marvel Comics?

In the comics, Kamala is an Inhuman whose powers are activated when a mysterious mist spreads through the city. She quickly discovers she has healing powers, and can shapeshift and polymorph, meaning she can stretch her body at will, like Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic (Fans theorized the change was due to this similarity, as Elite Daily reports). Or, for non-Marvel fans, like Elastigirl in The Incredibles. Kamala’s suit is specifically made so she can stretch at will, and it’s notably the first invention she gets from her friend Bruno. She often “enbiggens” or shrinks herself to defeat villains, and notably fights with an enlarged fist.

When Polygon spoke with G. Willow Wilson in 2019, the Ms. Marvel creator said it’d be a struggle to bring Kamala’s abilities to the screen. “God bless them trying to bring that to live action; I don’t know how that’s going to work out in a way that doesn’t look really creepy.”

What are her powers in Disney+’s Ms. Marvel?

Possibly to deviate from Mister Fantastic whenever the MCU decides to debut the Fantastic Four, Kamala’s powers have changed. In the Season 1 premiere, Kamala actually received her powers from magical bangles (which kind of, sort of, look like the rings from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Right? Bueller?). She can walk on air, create a magical fist (similar to her comic book fist), and create a shield.

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Talking to The Direct, co-creator of Kamala Khan and Ms. Marvel TV producer Sana Amanat says the change actually came down to how they wanted to tell the story, not any likeness to Mister Fantastic. “I mean, from my understanding, it was kind of linked to the type of story that we wanted to tell with Kamala, and not only linkage to other MCU events, but also to the sense of history that she has and the relationship to her family, linking the powers to her family’s past. I think that was really the bigger idea.”

Later in the show, though, we got a lot more insight into the full range of Kamala’s powers, and it’s much more like the comics. Although she isn’t simply able to stretch her body at will, in the Season 1 finale, “No Normal,” we saw Kamala announce her notable comic book phrase “Embiggen” and lengthen her body using her crystallizing powers. Plus, now that we have a better idea of her genetic makeup on the show, we know the full connection she has to those bangles.

Ms Marvel's Powers

What are the bangles in Ms. Marvel?

In the comics, there is a “compartment bracelet” her inventor friend Bruno modifies to hold small items. It’s also a family heirloom, passed down from Kamala’s great-grandmother who used it to store cash while escaping Bombay during Partition. The show looks like it’s trying to keep to Kamala’s comic origins as much as possible, since she discovers bangles in a box her mother insists is full of junk.

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The heirloom isn’t just a trinket, though. In Ms. Marvel, Kamala dons the bangles to personalize a Captain Marvel cosplay she’s wearing for an AvengersCon competition (which before you ask, no, it’s not a real thing). When she goes on stage as a contestant, her accessory activates…something…which makes her shoot crystalline shards and inadvertently causes mayhem at the convention.

As the season continues, we see Kamala learn the backstory of her family’s bangles, found by her great-grandmother, Aisha before Partition. The bangles are actually an heirloom holding Aisha’s powers (which Kamala was able to access because of her…[SPOILER] mutant genetics). When Kamala donned the bangles, it activated Aisha’s powers and transferred them to Kamala. We see a similar transfer of power in Episode 5, when Kamran’s mother dies and transfers her powers to her son.

We still don’t know everything about the bangles, since a particularly shocking post-credits scene after the show’s finale showed yet another use for them (spoilers!), but we’re sure to learn even more about who Kamala is, what her bangles really are, and the full extent of her powers in the upcoming The Marvels, out on July 28, 2023.

Ms Marvel's Powers

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