Why Marvel Studios’ Mutant Debut Is So Disappointing
At first, some fans were disappointed to learn that instead of Kamala Khan being an Inhuman like in the comics, she would instead be a Clandestine in the Ms. Marvel series. However, the big reveal in the season finale, “No Normal,” has put another spin on Kamala’s origin, with some fans feeling it missed the mark.
Warning – This article contains spoilers for Ms. Marvel Episode 6, “No Normal.”
When viewers heard the word “mutation” and heard the iconic and unmistakable X-Men: The Animated Series fanfare, fans were thrilled to see Mutants properly introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But it was already a bit of a curveball when the series revealed that Kamala was a Clandestine instead of an Inhuman like in the comics, but now, she’s also a Mutant.
So, while many fans are thrilled at the concept of the mutants finally being introduced into the MCU, other fans of Ms. Marvel are displeased at the change and how it was done.
The obvious negative of Kamala Khan being declared a Mutant at the last minute on top of already being a Clandestine is that it unnecessarily complicates her origin, especially compared to the comics. On the page, after sneaking out to go to a party, Kamala unknowingly exposes herself to Terrigen Mist and goes under Terrigenesis, activating her Inhuman genes and unlocking her powers.
Kamala didn’t even learn she was an Inhuman until her second volume of comics in “Ms. Marvel” #9. It was further explained that she inherited her Inhuman heritage from her father, but the MCU has made Kamala’s genetic history all the more convoluted for seemingly no reason beyond having an extra twist.
In the final moments of the episode, “No Normal,” Matt Lintz’s Bruno Carrelli explains to Kamala that “we know why you have access to the Noor and how you can wield it,” which was said by Nimra Bucha’s Najma in “Destined” as likely due to Kamala being born outside the Noor dimension.
Bruno then reveals, after being asked by Kamala’s brother Saagar Shaikh’s Aamir if he had powers, that he compared Kamala’s genetics to the rest of her family and found that “something still seemed off.” It culminates in Bruno telling Kamala that “there’s something different in your genes” and that it’s something “like a mutation.” Cue the cords of X-Men: The Animated Series playing over the delivery of that line.
But why does Kamala being a Mutant even matter then? Bruno has already explained how Kamala can wield Noor, such as “embiggening” herself, so how does Kamala being a Mutant affect her use of it? Is it specifically how she can wield the Noor through hard light constructs and fists?
However, Rish Shah’s Kamran used the Noor similar to Kamala, even constructing a weapon out of hard light. So, is Kamran a Mutant also and thus has the same power to control the Noor as Kamala? Did Kajima have her son with a human who had the X-Gene, passing it down to Kamran? Does one of Kamala’s parents have an inert X-Gene?
Let’s not start on how the bangle and Kree are connected, opening another can of worms. Does that mean the Kree have something to do with Mutants now? Honestly, it would have been better if Kamala was just a Mutant, as her also being a Clandestine, whatever that may even be now, makes her whole situation pointlessly confusing.
Poorly Planned and Tacked On
Taking all that into consideration, it’s no surprise that it was revealed in head writer and executive producer Bisha K. Ali’s recent interview that the inclusion of Kamala’s Mutant status wasn’t planned from the beginning of the show. It’s even clearer that the series was changed in reshoots and post-production.
In the scene before the big reveal, Ms. Marvel ends with an emotional speech from Kamala’s father, Mohan Kapur’s Yusuf, about the meaning of her name. Alongside Yusuf’s speech is blatant “where are they now” footage of the supporting cast, such as Yasmeen Fletcher’s Nakia having won her position as a board member at the Mosque, Kamran meeting with Aramis Knight’s Red Dagger in Karachi, and Bruno.
Bruno shown is wearing a CalTech sweater and putting a letter, most assuredly, into Kamala’s locker. No doubt it was meant to be a letter for her to read by the time he was already at Caltech. As for the contents of the letter, it’s obviously about Bruno’s romantic feelings towards Kamala, which were hinted at several times throughout this season.
But then, after Kamala imitates one of her most iconic comic covers with the music swelling to an expected crescendo to credits, a subtitle appears saying, “One Week Later.” Something that really deflates Bruno’s last moments in the season and makes the letter he put into Kamala’s locker feel pointless.
Did she already read it? Did they both already hash out the content of the letter off-screen? It wouldn’t be the first time the MCU has done that with plot points. It feels like this scene was meant to be before Yusuf’s speech, but the producers wanted to end with this twist, or it was added in reshoots to facilitate such an ending.
Shining Among Stars
It’s guaranteed that Kamala Khan could stand on her own as much as she has in the comics because she wasn’t crowded by the X-Men and dozens more popular Mutants when she started out. Today, she is the most popular Inhuman character, surpassing even Black Bolt in popularity, and that was before whispers of Kamala getting a series from Marvel Studios.
Any mutant characters outside of Wolverine are lucky enough to get their own limited series every few years. Otherwise, they were regulated to supporting roles in the various team-up books where they might get a starring role in a story arc, a strong supporting role, or, more commonly, fade into the background.
Will Ms. Marvel manage to continue as a series with another season? Will she instead continue just appearing in Captain Marvel films? Or is it possible that when X-Men are introduced into the MCU, Kamala, being a Mutant, will become increasingly involved with them as a group?
Hopefully, that won’t be the case, but only a handful of Mutants have ever been able to stand on their own outside the X-Men and gain notoriety.
No More Easy Audience Surrogate for Inhumans
A missed opportunity in making Kamala a Mutant is that Inhumans now lack an incredibly accessible character to help introduce them. Kamala was essentially the answer to Kitty Pride of the X-Men, an audience surrogate for new readers, when she was introduced in the comics as the newest member of the X-Men.
Unless Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige truly doesn’t plan on including Inhumans in the MCU outside of a cameo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, then the studio has nixed Kamala as an easy means for the Inhumans to get a foothold in the MCU.
Sure, there’s the Universal Inhumans, but considering how Eternals did with general audiences, they will be an even harder concept to sell. Unless they’re simply used as supporting characters and not starring in their own project.
It’d be disappointing if the Inhumans don’t get included in the MCU after Black Bolt’s surprisingly positive reception in the Doctor Strange sequel. No doubt helped by the character’s incredibly comic-accurate costume that has had fans raving, so it’d be a shame if the Royal Family didn’t get the chance at redemption in the MCU.
Fans will hopefully be given a less confusing picture of Kamala’s origins when The Marvels releases in theaters on July 28, 2023.
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