Why Ms. Marvel's Powers Couldn't Translate Exactly To The Screen

While Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, and other classic heroes that were created decades ago remain atop the A-list in Marvel's pantheon of characters, the great thing about mainstream comics is the opportunity for new characters to emerge as fan favorites. Such was the case when Kamala Khan, a Pakistani American teen who became Ms. Marvel, made her debut 2013, just shy of a decade ago. Her popularity surged so rapidly that the character is already getting her own series within the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the form of her own self-titled series "Ms. Marvel." That is no small feat when we consider the number of popular characters that have yet to make it to the screen at all. But young actor Iman Vellani is bringing her to life, and she is poised to be a big part of the MCU moving forward.

Though fans are undoubtedly excited to see Ms. Marvel arrive in the MCU, adaptations of comic books are not always 100% faithful to the source material, largely as a necessity that comes with adapting these stories to another medium. Still, fans are very attached to Kamala Khan and, when they saw that her powers were being changed for the show, it caused a bit of a stir. So why is it that the creative team behind the show opted to change such a major element of the character in bringing her to live-action? One of the co-creators of the "Ms. Marvel" series has weighed in on the matter.

The reason for the change

Marvel Comics editor Sana Amanat helped to create Kamala Khan alongside writer G. Willow Wilson, so she is quite close to the hero to say the very least of it. In speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Amanat addressed the topic of Khan's powers in the show, touching on why they changed. First and foremost, it was about making sure the show could link to larger stories being told within the MCU. Amanat explained:

"Obviously, so much of the show is an adaptation, and we thought it was important to make sure that her powers are linking to larger stories in the Marvel universe. We wanted to make sure there is a little bit more story to tell after this series. Obviously, she goes into The Marvels. The powers do look different, which is very controversial. I know people are like, 'How dare you change the powers!' I know people are upset about it, but as someone who's probably one of the closest people to this character from the inception, and having spoken to Willow about this as well, I think Willow and I have always felt that this made sense. This was the right move because there are bigger stories to tell."

Indeed, this show is merely the beginning for Kamala. She will be suiting up alongside Brie Larson in next summer's "The Marvels," serving as a sequel to 2019's "Captain Marvel." Given that everything in the MCU is all connected, it makes sense that this show had to fit in with what is being planned for the future. Beyond that, Amanat also explains that her new powers will feel the same in some ways, despite being so different from what readers of the comics may be familiar with. The creator said:

"It's really fun to give Kamala different kinds of powers that feel big in scope and cinematic in a different way. We can do a lot of fun things with her. I don't want to spoil too much about how she uses her powers, but they're fun and bouncy. At the same point, the essence of what the powers are in the comics is there, both from a metaphorical standpoint and from a visual standpoint. We're doing the embiggened fist. We're doing the elements that make her feel and look kind of crazy, but also really cool. I think it's going to be familiar to people, but at the same time, different in a fresh and unique way."

Ms. Marvel's powers in the comics

For those who perhaps haven't dug into the source material, Kamala Khan actually gets her powers from Terrigen Mist, which is the very same thing in the Marvel Comics universe that grants Inhumans their powers. This all took place after the big "Infinity" comic event in 2013. Khan was exposed to the mists after sneaking out of her house in a rare bit of disobedience and it unlocked Inhuman abilities that were dormant before being exposed to the mist.

Primarily, Kamala is gifted with elongation and morphing powers not dissimilar to Mr. Fantastic's powers. She also has superhuman strength and the ability to alter her size, sort of like Ant-Man, but without the need of Hank Pym's technology to make it happen. However, in the trailers, it's clear that her powers appear to be more cosmic in nature and seem to be generated from some bracelets that she discovers. As Marvel Studios head previously explained, Kamala "came about in a very specific time within the comic-book continuity. She is now coming into a very specific time within the MCU continuity. And those two things didn't match."

The fact of the matter is that Marvel Studios has changed a lot with characters and storylines in crafting the MCU. Scarlet Witch's powers were quite different in the comics than they are in the movies. "Captain America: Civil War" hardly resembles the story from the comics that inspired the film. We can even go back to Sam Raimi giving Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker organic webshooters in 2002's "Spider-Man," which was joked about quite a bit in "Spider-Man: No Way Home." It's all about execution and, with any luck, Marvel will manage to stay true to the spirit of this character despite the changes.

"Ms. Marvel" premieres on June 8, 2022, exclusively on Disney+.