Ms Marvel spoilers follow.
X-Men Ms Marvel, Kamala Khan discovered an old bracelet that imbued her with strange abilities. Namely, the power to create and control hard-light energy constructs.
“Magic, absolute magic,” says Kamala’s father when he watches Ms Marvel use these powers in costume. But there’s far more going on here than mere sorcery.
At first, this ability seemed like a big departure from the comics where Ms Marvel actively changes the shape and size of her body. But as the series has progressed, we’ve come to learn that this MCU version of Kamala actually inherited the power to access light from another dimension, and this was because of her Djinn family genetics rather than just the bracelet itself.
This idea wasn’t worlds away from Kamala’s Inhuman comic-book origin where abilities locked away in her genes were activated upon exposure to the Terrigen Mists, instead of an old family heirloom.
But Ms Marvel’s first season finale just added another twist on top of that twist. That’s right. We’re talking ‘Mister Fantastic twisted into spaghetti by Wanda’ levels of twist action going on here. And it’s a twist that genuinely changes the MCU, one that could end up being the most important innovation of Phase 4 and beyond.
After Kamala saves Kamran and becomes a fully-fledged superhero, the show jumps forward a week where everything’s calmed down a bit. But we’re not calm, because Bruno, Kamala’s bestie, has some news for Ms Marvel.
As New Jersey’s resident ‘Science Bro’, Bruno’s secretly been studying Kamala’s DNA in a bid to understand why only she, and not the rest of her family, can access the Noor. If it was just the Djinn DNA, everyone else in the Khan family would theoretically share the same powers as Kamala.
But they don’t. And even Clan Destine Kamran struggles to harness those powers when he begins to manifest something similar. So what makes Kamala so special, aside from being Captain Marvel’s number-one fan?
“Kamala, there’s something different in your genes,” says Bruno. “Like… a mutation.”
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A mutation doesn’t necessarily mean — oh wait, is that the soundtrack to our childhoods? ♪Da na na naaaa na na♪…
Yep, for just a brief moment, the word “mutation” is accompanied by the theme tune from the ’90s X-Men cartoon, ie The Greatest Cartoon Ever Made™.
And with that comes a not-so-subtle indication that the word “mutation” is indeed linked to the X-Men here. So, does this mean that Kamala is the MCU’s first official “mutant”?
Just recently, Patrick Stewart reprised his X-Men role in Doctor Strange 2, so his Professor Xavier is technically the first mutant to appear in the MCU. But that was on Earth-838. Multiverse nonsense aside, this is the first time that mutants, and the X-Men in general, have been acknowledged on Earth-616, the home of pretty much every MCU project up until this point.
As Marvel fans probably know already, the rights to properties like X-Men and the Fantastic Four were long tied up with Fox Studios, even though they’re based on Marvel Comics, which meant that this merry band of mutants have been off the table for over a decade.
That all changed recently when Disney’s merger with Fox meant the rights reverted back to Marvel, and finally, finally, we’re seeing this pay off with Ms Marvel’s big ending reveal.
Kamala’s reaction is far more casual though. While we’re all freaking out over the idea of finally seeing Wolverine cut stuff and say “Bub” lots in the MCU, Kamala just shrugs her shoulders and says, “Whatever it is, it’s just gonna be another label.”
Now that’s interesting, because historically, the X-Men have been othered and treated as dangerous outsiders. That “label” Kamala so casually refers to here actually carries a lot of weight with it, and the suggestion is that this intrinsic aspect of mutation could carry over to the MCU too.
Don’t be surprised if Damage Control’s introduction as an enemy this season could be expanded further, positioning them as humanity’s first, bigoted response to mutantdom in general. They don’t seem exactly thrilled when teenagers like Kamala start to develop powers, after all.
But what will said “mutantdom” look like? Doctor Strange 2 introduced a familiar version of Professor Xavier who fans are already familiar with, but for the most part, we suspect that the MCU will switch things up with new castings for most of these beloved characters — although Patrick Stewart himself hasn’t ruled out another return, albeit for a different version of the role who wasn’t massacred by Wanda.
Beyond that, there’s no official news on what the X-Men will look like moving forward, although it seems safe to presume that they’ll eventually star in movies of their own rather than a TV show.
Saying that, a revival of the ’90s cartoon called X-Men ’97 has been scheduled for 2023, but that will continue the story originally told there, making it separate to the live-action MCU. So think less Phoenix rehashes and more Jean Grey fainting lots.
Kamala’s latent mutation hints that other mutants like the X-Men have existed in the MCU all this time too, except their powers need to be activated somehow externally. Could the Noor be key to this? Or will the likes of Storm be introduced another way?
Answers may come sooner than we think in The Marvels, or perhaps even earlier at San Diego Comic Con, which runs from July 20-24th, 2022.
But whatever happens, however the X-Men eventually appear, we guarantee you that it’s going to be, “Magic, absolute magic.”
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