Fans of Kamala Khan have been understandably nervous about the upcoming Disney+ series for the character. It seemed more and more obvious that her powers would be changed drastically in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While she has elastic powers similar to Mr. Fantastic in the comics, she appears to have light construct powers akin to Green Lantern in the Ms. Marvel series.
Marvel Studios has been quiet about this adaptation change to the character, leaving many fans to wonder what possible reason they could have to change something so significant. It'd also be the first time the studio has made such a radical change to the base power of one of their starring superheroes.
However, in preparation for the series premiere in June, Marvel has finally answered why they decided to change Kamala's powers.
No Stretchy Powers for Ms. Marvel
In an interview with Empire, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige finally explained why Kamala Khan's powers changed in the MCU.
Feige said that Kamala's original powers were due to the character coming "about in a very specific time within the comic-book continuity," and that that continuity "didn't match" within the "very specific time within the MCU continuity." Fans will "learn about where those powers come from" as they watch the show and how it's "specific to the MCU:"
“We adapt the comics; it’s not an exact translation. [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. What we will learn about where those powers come from, and how they come about, is specific to the MCU."
He also attempted to reassure fans of the character that, despite this change, Kamala will still have "big, giant hands and arms... in spirit:"
“You will see great comic splash panels in some of our action sequences. If you want big, giant hands and arms, well they’re here in spirit, if not in stretchy, plastic-type ways.”
As for why her powers are so specific to the MCU, it's due to how Kamala Khan's story will connect "to her other friends that she will meet in the upcoming film The Marvels," which will also connect "to her own past and her heritage and lineage:"
“It taps into the future of her story as it connects to her other friends that she will meet in the upcoming film The Marvels. She’s interested in knowing, ‘Great, does that mean I’m an Asgardian? Did I get hit with gamma rays?’ No, it’s seemingly none of those things. It goes to her own past and her heritage and lineage.”
Not Boding Well for Kamala's Origin
What Feige is likely alluding to is how Kamala's comic book origin is connected to the Inhumans, which the MCU hasn't established as a faction yet, despite the lambasted series produced by Marvel Television. However, that doesn't actually answer why her powers had to be changed, as her not being an Inhuman wouldn't preclude her from having the same powers in the comics.
One of the core parts of Kamala Khan's origin in the comics is that her powers are intrinsically weird and gross, because it involves her whole body twisting and changing itself to tie in with her arc of growing into herself. When she first got her powers, she shapeshifted into her idol, Carol Danvers, which heavily tied into Kamala's own self-hatred as a brown Muslim girl.
However, these new powers mean none of that will be possible now, which is disappointing. Kamala's powers have always been a powerful metaphor for her internal struggles, so it will be interesting how exactly the MCU will apply these new powers to those same struggles.
Another concern is whether these powers will solely come from her bangle, which she could theoretically just remove if her powers give her any issues like the comics. But, of course, this would ruin any attempt at a metaphor similar to Kamala's original story.
So, fans will have to learn about Kamala's origin and how her new powers work when Ms. Marvel premieres on Disney+ on June 8.