In a surprise twist, particularly given the emphasis on using her original origin as a spearhead to replace the publisher’s Merry Band of Mutants in the popular zeitgeist with an analog that would allow Disney to avoid paying any dues to then-X-Men film rights holder Fox, the season finale of Ms. Marvel has confirmed that the eponymous heroine is not an Inhuman, but rather the MCU’s first proper mutant.
The reveal comes in the closing minutes of the sixth and final episode of Ms. Marvel’s first season, No Normal.
As Nakia, Bruno, and Kamala say good-bye following the end of the latter’s fight with the Clandestine and ahead of their burgeoning college careers, Bruno pulls the young heroine aside to let her know that he had “gone back and looked at her genetic make-up again”.
“Amir [Kamala’s brother] kept asking me if he might have powers too,” he says, “and I think we might have had it wrong the first time around.”
“We know why you have access to the Noor [energy] and how you can wield it,” Bruno continues, referencing Kamala’s bangle. “But when I compared you to the rest of your family, something still seemed off.”
“Kamala, there’s something different in your genes,” he asserts as a sample of the X-Men Animated Series theme song fades into the scene’s instrumental score. “Like…a mutation.”
However, rather than being taken back by this revelation, Kamala replies, “Whatever it is, it’s just going to be another label,” before proceeding to go off on a late-night food run with her friends.
The iconic theme song’s cameo was further confirmed by the episode’s end credits, which lists the “X-Men ‘97 Theme”, as composed by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy, as having appeared in the episode.
As noted above, the reveal that Kamala ostensibly possesses some form of X-Gene stands as a radical departure from her original origin, wherein she was conceived as the first of a new generation of Inhuman whose birth could be traced to Black Bolt’s detonation of the Terrigen Bomb during the events of Infinity – a decision which created a roving cloud of Terrigen Gas which was hostile to mutant life.
Asked about the left-field reveal by Marvel.com, Ms. Marvel head writer Bisha K. Ali exclaimed, “Oh my god, best day of my life!”
“It wasn’t from the beginning [of the show],” recalled Ali, noting that the team wanted the moment to feel organic and unforced. “With Marvel, something’s always a moving piece, and we’re trying to solve this question of, ‘If any of [Kamala’s family] put the bangle on, would they have powers?’ The answer was always no, from a character perspective, no.”
The development, she further stated, was a natural “fit into the logic of the wider MCU.”
“I feel so excited as a viewer of my show. The Bisha teen fan girl in me is like, ‘I can’t believe it.’” she added. “And the fact that it’s Kamala — it’s her. It’s like her wildest dream already came true over the show [gaining powers], but then we just gave her one more bit of the dream. It’s incredible. I’m overjoyed.”
Recalling her reaction to learning that she’d be the first official MCU character to bear the title – both Wanda and Pietro Maximoff were the result of Infinity Stone experiments while Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness avoided giving specific attentions to the origins of the alternate universe Professor Xavier seen amongst the Illuminati’s membership – Kamala Khan actress Iman Vellani told Marvel.com, “They sent me, and only me, the draft [of the final episode], and I immediately freaked out.”
“I emailed Kevin Feige in all caps,” she said. “I was like, are you doing this like for real? Are you sure? I’m so honored! I was like yelling at him through an email. I was freaking out. This is the biggest deal in the world, and the fact that it’s happening in our show is crazy.”
“People are going to lose their minds,” she opined. “They’re going to lose everything. I did. It’s truly a really big deal.”
Matt Lintz, the actor who plays Bruno, also noted that “They didn’t even have it in [the script].”
“I remember I was having a conversation about it and [the directors] were like, ‘Yeah, you say this crazy thing,’” he said. “They wouldn’t even tell me what it was! I was like, ‘What’s the deal here?’ They were very secretive about that whole thing.”
“It took a really long time to film that scene because any time Matt would say that word I’d start giggling,” Vellani said of her time attempting to put the scene to film. “I think we got the one take. The one you see in the episode is one of two that we got where I was mildly serious. It was really, really, really difficult. I think we have so many outtakes of me just breaking because I was so excited and giddy over this.”
Nakia actress Yasmeen Fletcher added that “Iman could not get through a take because…she was beaming, like, out of character beaming. They had to cut and refilm that so many times.”
“Iman was laughing,” Lintz jovially recalled. “She was laughing almost every second. It was hilarious because she just was like, ‘This is so cool.’ She couldn’t believe that I was saying this to her. Obviously, it’s so big for her character. We were going through the scene and she kept laughing. It was making me laugh.”
“I remember…you could just hear in the background [the crew] all screaming and the excitement and joy that they had was really, really funny. It’s a very big moment,” the actor asserted. “I was just blessed and lucky enough to be able to share that with Iman and everybody else.”
He concluded, “So many people have been waiting for this. There have been so many people excited about it. It’s even cool for me and Iman as viewers because we don’t know what’s going to happen. [This is] something that the fans, and me included, are so excited to see.”
Likewise, Vellani further exclaimed, “It makes me so excited, I can’t even put it into words.”
“I feel very, very honored, very, very lucky,” she said.
What do you make of this twist to Ms. Marvel’s origins? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!