Ms. Marvel Directors Explain Kamala Khan's MCU Power Change
Warning: this story contains spoilers for Ms. Marvel Episode 6. Say nite-nite to the superhero formerly known as "Night Light": Ms. Marvel is here. In Wednesday's Ms. Marvel season finale, titled "No Normal," Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) wields the full power of the Noor Dimension, which she harnesses with the magical bangle inherited from great-grandmother Aisha (Mehwish Hayat). To stop Kamran's (Rish Shah) rampage against the Department of Damage Control, Kamala draws upon her ability to "embiggen," manifesting hard light constructs to enlarge herself. As revealed by Bruno (Matt Lintz), Kamala's powers are best explained by one word: "Mutation."
In the comic books, Kamala and Kamran are what's known as "NuHumans": Inhuman descendants whose latent abilities activate upon exposure to the DNA-altering Terrigen Mist, which grants Inhumans their powers in a process called Terrigenesis. Like Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, Kamala is a polymorph whose shape-shifting powers allow her to enlarge — or "embiggen" — her body.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah said Marvel Studios president and Ms. Marvel producer Kevin Feige pushed for Kamala's mutant powers to manifest as "hard light" in the Marvel Cinematic Universe:
"First of all, Kevin didn't want to make a literal translation of what was in the comic book. It's an adaptation," Fallah said. "We started off with this [idea] of 'hard light,' and from there, we started to create what that power would be — while still doing an homage of what is in the comic book. In the comic, she can't control her power at first. It's making her body bigger and smaller, which is a good metaphor for being a teenager."
Fallah continued, "But towards the end of the comic book, she really controls it. So, we created that same thing. In the beginning, she can't control it, and step by step, the more she starts to know her history, she becomes Ms. Marvel. In the last episode, she has that big fist with hard light that can smash things, and then she's finally herself."
El Arbi added, "'Embiggen' is one of the most important words in the comic book, so we knew right away that in the finale, we needed our version of 'embiggen.'"
Visually, Kamala's abilities are on similar wavelengths to Carol "Captain Marvel" Danvers (Brie Larson) and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), the cosmic superheroes who will join forces with Kamala when she returns in The Marvels.
"Supervising producer Jenna Berger understood that the show needed to have a balance of what made the comic so special and unique, while at the same time evolving it and making it a true adaptation," Sana Amanat, Kamala Khan's co-creator and Ms. Marvel's executive producer, previously told EW. "That was Kevin [Feige's] first challenge to me. He was like, 'Can you adapt this? You're so close to the comic, do you think you can adapt this?'"
Still, the truth about Kamala's genetic make-up predates Feige: the character was envisioned as a mutant but was created at a time when Marvel Comics was downplaying its mutant and X-Men characters in favor of the Inhumans.
Starring Iman Vellani, Aramis Knight, Saagar Shaikh, Rish Shah, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Matt Lintz, Yasmeen Fletcher, Laith Naki, Azher Usman, Travina Springer and Nimra Bucha, all six episodes of Marvel Studios' Ms. Marvel are now streaming on Disney+. Kamala Khan will return in Marvel Studios' The Marvels, opening in theaters on July 28, 2023.