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Who Exactly is Ms Marvel, the Star of Marvel’s Newest Disney+ Show?, by Angela Rairden

Captain Marvel Carol Danvers disney+ Kamala Khan Kelly Sue DeConnick Mar-Vell marvel comics Ms Marvel trailer

On Tuesday, Marvel released the trailer for one of their newest Disney+ shows, Ms Marvel, which is set to release on June 8th. The show is centered around one of Marvel’s newer superheroes, spunky and imaginative Pakistani-American teenager Kamala Khan, who will be played by Iman Vellani. The trailer looks to tell the story of how Kamala becomes known as Ms Marvel. However, before we can talk about that, we need to back track a little and talk about a different Ms Marvel – the one who would later become known as Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers.

Carol Danvers as Ms Marvel

Carol was an officer in the United States Air Force and, in her original iteration, was just a normal human whose DNA fused with that of a Kree soldier named Mar-Vell, a close friend of hers, when he was killed, thereby causing Carol to take on all of his superhuman abilities. Later versions of Carol would change her superhero origin story to say that she had been half-Kree all along or, as in the Captain Marvel movie, that she gained her powers by coming into contact with the Tesseract. Whichever version you choose to follow doesn’t really matter all that much, however, because the end result is the same – Carol Danvers went from being an ordinary human to being a full-fledged superhero. Along with super strength, speed, and durability, Carol also gained the ability to fly and to harness different types of energy for both offense and defense. In fact, she is widely acknowledged as being one of the most powerful superheroes in the Marvel universe.

Carol Danvers in her original Ms Marvel costume

Because her powers came from her friend Mar-Vell (who was known on Earth as Captain Marvel), Carol took up the moniker Ms Marvel in his honor (interestingly, she was also consciously created as an icon of the feminist movement of the 70’s, as she fought for equal pay for equal work, among other things). Although briefly going by the names Binary and Warbird, Carol would continue to use the name Ms Marvel until 2012, when Kelly Sue DeConnick took up writing a new series for Carol and renamed her Captain Marvel.

Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel

I know what you’re wondering – if this blog is supposed to be about Kamala Khan, why are you taking up so much space rambling on about Carol Danvers?! Well, that’s because, honestly, I think Kamala would want me to.

One of the things that I find extremely endearing about the character of Kamala Khan is the fact that, like me, she’s kind of obsessed with Carol/Captain Marvel. Before Kamala was a superhero, she was just an ordinary girl living in Jersey City, New Jersey, dreaming of being a superhero.

Kamala made her comic debut in Captain Marvel #14 (August of 2013) and, in February of 2014, she became the first Muslim character to ever headline a comic at Marvel. Kamala’s heritage plays an important part in her story, as she struggles to define herself among her family’s values and expectations, which sometimes seem at odds with the American teenager that she is. Ultimately, she just wants to fit in, and the trailer for Ms Marvel seems to highlight this aspect of the character, as well as her adoration of Captain Marvel, and her adorable awkwardness.

In the comics, Kamala gains her powers in the aftermath of the “Inhumanity” storyline, where she discovers that she has Inhuman genes which give her the power to enlongate various parts of her body, such as her limbs, torso, or neck. She also has the ability to shrink or enlargen her size, has some superstrength, and a healing ability.

Comic version of Kamala and her enlargened fists

In the trailer, we see some evidence of these powers. However, it seems that the on-screen version of Kamala gains her powers differently than the comic version does, and also that her powers are a bit more “cosmic” and more closely aligned to Carol’s powers than they are in the comics.

Disney promo showing Kamala's enlargened fist

In the trailer, we very deliberately see Kamala put some sort of bracelet around her wrist, which seems to them activate her powers. Some are speculating that the bracelets that we see Kamala with are actually Quantum Bands, which would be a really cool throwback to the original Captain Marvel, the Kree soldier Mar-Vell. In the comics, the Quantum Bands were possessed by Mar-Vell and gave their owner the ability to manipulate energy at will, which seems to be exactly what we see Kamala doing in the trailer.

Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel

Granted, it’s impossible to gain all the answers from one little minute and a half long trailer. However, it would make a lot more sense for the creators of the Ms Marvel show to go this route than to try to explain who and what the Inhumans are - especially since Marvel tried to make an Inhumans tv show a few years ago, but it largely tanked and it seems that Marvel would just be happiest if we all just forgot that it even existed in the first place.

Kamala's bracelet/Quantum Band?

Despite the flop that was the Inhumans tv show, one of the best things about the MCU is that, in my opinion, it’s rarely let us down. Historically, they tend to stick pretty closely to Marvel comic canon and, when they do change something, there’s usually a pretty good reason for it.

Having said that, what are your thoughts on the Ms Marvel trailer, and are you excited for the show?


Angela “LaLa” Rairden is an avid fan of comic books, Star Wars, and most things nerdy. A cosplayer, she loves to attend comic cons dressed as her favorite fictional characters, particularly Harley Quinn. Although her day job is at a grocery store, writing has always been her true calling. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is currently writing her first novel.

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