Why Ms. Marvel isn’t totally ruling out Kamala as an Inhuman

It may not matter right now, but there’s nothing stopping from Marvel making its newest hero, Kamala Khan, one of the Inhumans.

Marvel Studios

Last year, for the release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, screenwriter Dave Callaham spoke to Inverse about the film’s lack of information regarding the origins of the mystical Ten Rings.

“There were scenes shot for the movie that suggested one origin, and there were scenes shot later that suggested a different origin,” he said at the time.

The final cut of the movie ultimately chose neither, instead opting to leave it vague. “We realized, in these two hours, it doesn’t make a difference at all where it comes from. That’s not the story we’re telling. But it sure is an interesting question we’d love to talk about later.”

I thought about Callaham’s words while watching Ms. Marvel, the newest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Disney+ starring Iman Vellani. While the series captures the tone and spirit of the 2014 comic book series Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, there are a few big changes made by the MCU.

Putting aside the alterations in Kamala Khan’s powers, one of the biggest diversions made in the MCU is the omission of Kamala’s heritage as one of the Inhumans. Is Kamala Khan an Inhuman? Or is she not? Right now, either can be true. Here’s why.

Cover of Inhumans #1.

Marvel Comics

Who are the Inhumans?

The Inhumans are a race of human/alien hybrids, and they exist as a large population in the Marvel Universe. They’re like the X-Men, with each Inhuman wielding a specific power.

In contrast to mutants, the Inhumans date back millions of years as the result of scientific meddling on primitive homo sapiens by the alien Kree in the hopes of breeding soldiers for their conflict against their rivals, the Skrulls. Long story short it didn’t work out, and the Kree abandoned their experiment and left behind the altered “Inhumans” to breed on Earth. Over time, the Inhuman Royal Family became the community’s representatives.

For Inhumans, their powers manifest when they come in contact with Terrigen Mist, a mutagen that triggers a process called “Terrigenesis.” In the Ms. Marvel comics, Kamala undergoes Terrigenesis when a Terrigen bomb goes off and makes its way across the Hudson to Jersey City, where Kamala is leaving a house party. Kamala hallucinates seeing the Avengers, who tell her that her life is about to change forever.

From the mouth of the Inhuman queen herself, Medus, Kamala Khan discovered her Inhuman heritage in Ms. Marvel #9.

Marvel Comics

Why Kamala isn’t Inhuman

It wasn’t long ago when Marvel Studios didn’t have legal access to the popular X-Men franchise, and the studio was gung ho on making the Inhumans just as popular. In 2014, the same year Ms. Marvel started publishing, Marvel announced the film Inhumans for release in 2019.

“We really do believe that the Inhumans can be a franchise, or series of franchises, unto themselves,” Marvel czar Kevin Feige said at the unveiling of Marvel’s Phase 3 in late 2014. “With the 20th movie, it felt time to continue to further refine and further expand what the cinematic universe is all about.”

Despite Marvel’s planning, the w0th movie in the MCU would not be Inhumans. For reasons that aren’t clear but will make for a juicy chapter in a tell-all book someday, Inhumans pivoted from a film by Marvel Studios into a TV series by Marvel Television, then a separate division that wasn’t wholly connected to Marvel’s films.

The television series barely made a blip, lasting just one season on ABC. The MCU carried on without acknowledging the Inhumans until this year when Anson Mount reprised his role as Black Bolt in the film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

With the Inhumans practically a non-entity outside of Mount’s cameo, it’s in Marvel’s interests to not bridge Ms. Marvel to a mostly forgotten, one-off TV show. With the X-Men rights back under Marvel, it’s more productive to put time and energy behind reviving the X-Men than the Inhumans.

Why Kamala can still be Inhuman

With all that in mind, Ms. Marvel doesn’t say Kamala Khan is an Inhuman. But it’s not not saying it, either.

It’s through this sort of implication-by-omission that Kamala Khan can still be Inhuman. Just because Ms. Marvel isn’t incorporating Kamala’s Inhuman heritage in the series right now doesn’t mean Marvel can’t do it in the future.

The big creative advantage the MCU has over other franchises is certainty in longevity. While even a commercial-driven entity like Marvel can’t be too arrogant about its future — should there be more Morbiuses, the MCU will be a thing of the past — Marvel knows there will at least be a tomorrow. So not every question has to be answered today.

Kamala’s MCU powers are already alien in nature. Who’s to say she’s not already an Inhuman?

Marvel Studios

Anyone who watches Ms. Marvel knows the story it’s telling is Kamala’s journey into superherodom. It’s a down-to-Earth saga about a girl from New Jersey wrestling with her gifts and the responsibility she has to her community to protect them. Her possible space alien heritage isn’t crucial. It can be in future seasons, but for now, Kamala has plenty of other things to worry about. And hey, it’s a big multiverse out there. Who knows what a Kamala variant may already know about her powers?

Ms. Marvel is now streaming on Disney+.

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