How Disney+'s Ms. Marvel season finale changed the MCU with just one word
Unpacking the Ms. Marvel season finale and Marvel Studios' promise that it will "change everything"
Marvel Studios' Ms. Marvel season finale has landed on Disney+, and it’s a real game-changer. The episode 'No Normal' pits Kamala Khan against Damage Control and has a few exciting surprises. If you haven’t watched the episode yet, consider this your spoiler warning.
Ms. Marvel finale
One week after her confrontation with Damage Control, Kamala Khan is seen enjoying a night out with her friends. After a bit of banter between friends, Bruno’s tone gets serious as he shares a recent discovery with Kamala. Bruno had been studying Kamala’s blood, hoping to discover how her genetics tie into her powers.
“Kamala, there’s something different in your genes. Like a mutation,” Bruno tells her. In case there was any doubt about the significance of what Bruno said, the score briefly plays a few notes from the X-Men animated series theme. In a word, this means that Kamala Khan is a mutant. Mutants are beings who were born with variations in their DNA, which usually cause them to manifest powers.
A mutant is different from other superhumans because they’re born with their latent abilities, as opposed to someone like the Hulk who receives their powers later in life from scientific means. This is a departure from the comics, where Kamala is an Inhuman. While mutants are born with their powers, Inhumans gain them by inhaling a vapor known as the Terrigen Mist. In fact, that’s how Kamala got her powers in the comics.
The revelation that mutations exist within the Marvel Cinematic Universe has major implications for future projects. Although the MCU has been around since 2008, it hasn’t addressed the existence of mutants. The X-Men leader Charles Xavier was seen in the film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but the word mutant was never spoken.
In the past Marvel Studios wasn’t able to address mutants due to licensing issues. Years before Marvel had a thriving film studio, the entertainment company had licensed the X-Men and virtually mutant characters to 20th Century Fox. This meant that the Marvel Cinematic Universe could use characters like Iron Man or Thor, but mutants like Wolverine were off-limits. Interestingly, characters like Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch fell into a grey area where both studios were allowed to use them. In 2019 Marvel’s parent company Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, which led to speculation about when mutants would be entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It appears that the moment has finally arrived, and that Ms. Marvel will be the one to usher in this exciting new era.
The post-credits scene
While relaxing in her room a surprising change overtakes Kamala. Her super-powered bangle begins to glow, and Kamala is thrown through her closet door. When Kamala regains her balance, she looks a bit different. It's not Kamala Khan - it's Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel (Kamala's hero).
Could this be the bangles forcing Ms. Marvel to switch places with Captain Marvel, similar to the nega-bands in the original Captain Marvel's comic continuity?
Or could it be shapeshifting, which is something Kamala has done - and specifically shapeshifting into Carol Danvers. When Kamala gained her powers in Ms. Marvel #1 (2014), the first thing she did was accidentally shapeshift into Carol Danvers. Shapeshifting is part of Kamala’s powerset in the comics, although it’s only used sparingly. She appears to have shapeshifted into her idol, Carol Danvers. In addition to her physical appearance changing, Kamala’s garments transformed into Captain Marvel’s superhero costume. This was a fun way to bring Captain Marvel actress Brie Larson in for a cameo , but this also raises some questions.
Does this mean that shapeshifting is Kamala’s mutant ability? It’s uncertain if this power came from her or her bangle. It’s worth noting that the bangle began to glow before the transformation took place. Whatever the cause of the transformation may be, this cliffhanger also serves as a fun homage to Kamala’s comic book origin.“It’s also possible that this wasn’t shapeshifting. Perhaps the bangle somehow caused Carol and Kamala to switch places. Could that be the real Carol Danvers in Kamala’s bedroom?”
What’s next for Ms. Marvel?
Make no mistake, this episode not only had major implications for Kamala Khan, but for the MCU as a whole. With Ms. Marvel being revealed as Marvel’s first mutant, could the X-Men be far behind? Maybe Kamala will join the mutant super-team. And what about her recent transformation? In the comics Kamala’s shapeshifting abilities aren’t permanent, so one could assume she won’t be stuck in her Carol Danvers form. But the MCU version of Kamala still has a lot to learn about her abilities, so this could be challenging for her.
Iman Vellani will be reprising her role as Kamala Khan in the 2023 film The Marvels, which will also see the return of Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers and Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau. Hopefully Kamala will have her shapeshifting abilities under control by then, or things will get awkward with Carol real quick. Kamala’s heroic journey has only just begun, and we can’t wait to see where it leads.
Ms. Marvel is Disney+'s biggest MCU hit yet for young adults and diverse audiences.