First Ms. Marvel trailer reveals how Kamala Khan's powers differ from the comics
It's finally here. Eight years after the comic book debut of Marvel's most prominent Muslim superhero, and four years after EW joined Mindy Kaling and Riz Ahmed in calling for a screen adaptation, Kamala Khan is finally ready to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first trailer for Ms. Marvel, which stars newcomer Iman Vellani as the titular superhero, debuted Tuesday morning.
The trailer makes clear that some of Kamala's core character traits have carried over into the upcoming Disney+ series. She's still a superhero-obsessed nerd who looks up to Captain Marvel in particular, and she still belongs to an observant Muslim family from Jersey City. But some things are clearly different in the adaptation as well — especially her powers.
As created by G. Willow Wilson, Sana Amanat, Stephen Wacker, and Adrian Alphona in the comics, Kamala has a relatively unique set of superpowers: She can change the size of her body, either whole or in part. So Kamala traditionally can shrink down to infiltration size, grow to gigantic heights, or even just make a big fist to deliver a walloping punch; she calls this kind of transformation "embiggening," a word she helped get into the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2018. But whether that was just too difficult to represent in live action or because the MCU filmmakers wanted to more directly connect Kamala's abilities to those of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), the Ms. Marvel trailer makes clear that its protagonist's powers are more based on energy.
Instead of stretching and shape-changing, the Ms. Marvel trailer shows Kamala manipulating energy into blasts, forcefields, and the kind of midair stepping stones that we've seen Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) use in past MCU films. There are a couple shots where energy envelops Kamala's hands, which could give her the same kind of powerful punches she wields in the comics, but clearly it all works a bit differently.
We hear Kamala herself describe the powers as "cosmic." It will be interesting to see how they come about in this version of the story. In the comics, Kamala is an Inhuman, a race of humans descended from genetically enhanced forebears who can manifest powers when exposed to a substance known as the Terrigen Mists. This is mostly because she debuted in 2014, at a time when Marvel was really trying to make the Inhumans a centerpiece of their publishing line. In the years since, the resurgence of the X-Men and the failure of the Inhumans TV series have once again de-emphasized that aspect of Marvel's mythology.
We'll have to wait for Ms. Marvel's June 8 premiere on Disney+ to see exactly how Kamala becomes a superhero in this universe. Watch the trailer above, and see a new poster below.