Ms. Marvel could have a Shang-Chi connection hiding in plain sight

Kamala Khan's bracelets in the Ms. Marvel trailer look a lot like Shang-Chi's powered bling.

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is pulling away from Kamala Khan’s canonical origin story. Instead of giving her comic book Kirby moment — in which she inhales a cloud of Terrigen Mist following a bomb explosion and becomes an InhumanMs. Marvel opts for cosmic bracelets as the cause of its heroine’s abilities. (Or, at least, that’s what the trailer implies.)

Eagle-eyed fans have been watching the trailer repeatedly, concocting theories on what these changes could mean for an ever-expanding film and television series franchise that needs to, somehow, keep multiple projects connected. While some of these links are baked into the original source material, Kevin Feige and co. have also taken creative liberties to tie characters and storylines together.

It appears that Kamala’s (Iman Vellani) purple, glowing jewelry — particularly the second and fourth section of her bangles — has quite a similar look to those ten golden rings Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) dons on his arms when they are activated.

Do Ms. Marvel and Shang-Chi have similar powers?

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings reveals that Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), the supervillainous father of Shang-Chi, found the Ten Rings near an asteroid (or what appeared to be an asteroid) crash in a timeline that dates back to thousands of years ago in mainland China. If viewers are meant to believe that Wenwu, who notes he was sometimes referred to as Master Khan (an allusion to Genghis Khan) in the film, was around during the time of the Mongol Empire’s existence, that means that Wenwu surely traversed what is known today as Pakistan.

Reddit user BuckeyeFoodie posits in a post that, perhaps, the shiny, alien tech-ware that Wenwu found wound up being scattered throughout the empire — and, somehow, the relic ended up in Kamala’s family, passed down across generations as a pretty heirloom and nothing more.

Kamala’s bracelets in Ms. Marvel look a lot like the Ten Rings.

Marvel Studios

If the Ms. Marvel trailer is leading viewers in the right direction, Kamala’s bracelets (and the amazing gifts they grant her) have been likely reimagined in a way that makes them more feasible for visual storytelling — much like the Ten Rings were for the big screen. In the comics, the Mandarin’s Ten Rings are ten-finger rings that each have their own colors and powers. Shang-Chi screenwriter Dave Callaham and producer Jonathan Schwartz noted they were switched to armbands given the potential for confusion with another set of alien knuckle bling in the MCU, the Infinity Stones.

The post-credits scene of Shang-Chi strongly insinuates that once the ten rings were activated, they began beaming out a signal. To what, to whom, or to where are all unclear, but if they are made of the same space-stuff as Kamala’s jewelry, could it be that their activation is what precipitates her own?

A closer look at Wenwu’s rings in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Marvel Studios

The Inverse Analysis — As an on-page superhero, Kamala mostly wears her bangles for sentimental reasons. The origin of the Khan vintage jewelry in the comics traces back to her great-grandmother, who escaped anti-Muslim brutality in Bombay in 1947 upon Pakistan gaining independence. Her great-grandma had her wedding bracelets on and used them as a way to hide money during their refuge.

It’s still unknown what powers Kamala will have on the Disney+ series and how different they will be from the comics. However, it seems plausible that changing up shapeshifting abilities for more of a Captain Marvel Lite energy-based power would make sense both for a TV format and as a wink to Kamala’s obsession with Captain Marvel.

Ms. Marvel begins streaming June 8 on Disney+.

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