Ms. Marvel Episode 6 spoilers ahead!
So, that actually did happen! Even though they didn’t use the word “mutant,” Kamala Khan is the first undisputed, canonical mutant in the MCU. But hold on, let’s go back for a second.
Kamala’s abilities have been the subject of numerous mysteries throughout Ms. Marvel. The bracelet was initially intended to be the origin of her light-based abilities, according to the television program. Then it was made clear that Kamala was able to use the bangle to harness that power due of her ancestry and her connections to the Clandestine and the Noor Dimension.
In other words, Kamala had certain inherent abilities; the bangle only made them more accessible to her. However, Ms. Marvel episode 6 of the season finale on Disney+ revealed that there is something else behind Kamala’s abilities, and it is the first official, significant signpost to the X-Men entering the MCU.
Is Ms. Marvel a Mutant?
In the last minutes of the episode, Bruno informs Kamala, “We know why you have access to the Noor and how you can wield it, but when I compared you to the rest of your family something still felt strange… there’s something different in your genes…like a mutation.”
If you listen closely, you can hear a tiny preview of the theme song from X-Men: The Animated Series after Bruno’s remarks (the second time Marvel Studios has deployed that famous bit of music, the first being when Patrick Stewart showed up as Charles Xavier in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness). Given that the x-factor in a person’s genes often causes their talents to become obvious during adolescence, it would seem that Kamala might have already been predestined to develop superpowers.
In light of this, we must examine Kamala’s usage of her abilities in this episode. It was a striking change from how she had previously employed her light-based abilities throughout the series that we finally got to see her “embiggen” (and she really used the term!). Is Kamala’s status as a mutant teasing the possibility that she may have already acquired the Noor and the bangle-independent versions of her more comics-accurate abilities (where she physically alters her mass)? It is doable!
But there’s another aspect of Kamala’s comic book background to take into account.
What About The Inhumans?
When a Terrigen bomb exploded over the New York metropolitan area and the mist traveled to Jersey City, Kamala’s powers were shown to have been triggered. Anyone with latent Inhuman DNA in their genes experienced the activation of erratic and unpredictable abilities. So why did the MCU switch Ms. Marvel’s origins from being associated with the Inhumans to being associated with the X-Men? It’s a humorous story, sort of.
The Inhumans were being actively promoted in Marvel Comics at the time Ms. Marvel was created as a key power in the Marvel Universe. Why? Because the decision-makers thought they could serve as a stand-in for the themes and oddities that frequently accompany the X-Men.
There was an attempt to make the comics more graphically and thematically consistent with the ascendant Marvel films and television programs because this was taking place as the MCU was becoming more and more culturally dominant. Since this was before the Disney/Fox merger, the MCU was unable to use the term “mutants” because 20th Century Fox still held the exclusive cinematic rights to any associated ideas.
An Inhumans movie that was in production at Marvel Studios for numerous years never materialized. As a result, ongoing Inhumans-focused plots on Agents of SHIELD and later the famed Inhumans TV series also involved their TV branch in the future.
As these same ideas were being introduced onscreen, it was evident that there were aspirations for some brand synergy by making the Inhumans backstory integral to the comics. This isn’t to imply that there was ever a plan to turn Kamala into a mutant in the comics; in fact, it’s quite unlikely that there ever was. But by far the best, most significant, and lasting legacy of this bizarre era in Marvel history is Kamala’s origin story from the Inhuman comics.
That Kamala’s TV origin has been changed to make her the very thing Marvel was once trying to avoid—just in time for them to start introducing mutants and the X-Men to the MCU—is amusing given that she was originally created during a time when the comics were actively trying to downplay the significance of mutants.
Are There Already Other Mutants in the MCU?
A wise above her years girl said, “Whatever it is, it’s simply going to be another label.” In reaction to Bruno’s shocking revelation concerning genetic mutation, Kamala tells him.
What this signifies for mutants in the MCU is difficult to interpret. The way Kamala responded suggests that the word “mutant” isn’t yet commonly used in this society. Even if that were the case, Kamala wouldn’t necessarily be the first mutant in the MCU or even a member of the first generation of mutants.
Mutants have probably always existed but have remained hidden for fear of being persecuted. At least in the comic books, it was established in this manner. Marvel Studios might adopt a different strategy if they truly intend for the introduction of these ideas (and eventually the X-Men) to take place gradually. We might be able to follow the first generation of mutants as they learn about their abilities, observe how society responds to their appearance, and do a lot more. The only person who can be certain about this is Kevin Feige, and perhaps we’ll learn more at Marvel Studios’ significant San Diego Comic-Con panel on Saturday, July 23.