The MCU has expanded (or perhaps "embiggened") yet again with its latest addition to Disney+ in Ms. Marvel, a coming-of-age origin story set in Jersey City, New Jersey that's confirmed to play into The Marvels in 2023. Starring Iman Vellani as sixteen-year-old, Pakistani-American Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel is a story of what happens when a superhero superfan gets powers of her own.
Unlike her character in the comics, Kamala Khan's Reed Richards-esque stretchy powers have been swapped for those of the cosmic variety and which she happens to discover on-stage AvengerCon at Captain America's Camp Lehigh.
In addition to her new powers, AvengerCon has been a major topic of fan conversation given its various nods to Avengers: Endgame. In fact, those Endgame callbacks, which happen to include the Guardians of the Galaxy, have led fans to wonder how the people of Earth could know about this rag-tag crew of misfits.
During the premiere's opening, Kamala Khan confirmed that a talkative Scott Lang has been sharing Avengers intel with the public thanks to guest appearances on in-universe podcasts. But how are the people of Earth aware of the physical appearances & designs of the extrasterrestrial Guardians and other non-public figures?
Now, a Marvel producer has provided an answer, as well as explanations for those Spider-Man: No Way Home connections and Peter Parker and Kamala's shared genre.
Ms. Marvel Producer Explains Why Earth Knows About Guardians of the Galaxy
After revealing that Ms. Marvel takes place "one to two years" after Avengers: Endgame, Ms. Marvel producer Sana Amanat explained to The Direct how and why Earth now knows what the Guardians of the Galaxy physically look like following Endgame's final battle, saying, "A big event like this? There's gonna be some sort of recording elements of it:"
"Right now there's just an assumption. A big event like this? There's gonna be some sort of recording elements of it. People have probably seen it, found a way to capture some of that footage."
Since the people of Earth have seen glimpses of the Guardians, Amanat revealed that the Ms. Marvel team played around with humanity's "interpretation of the Guardians" and were even "making up names for them:"
"So I think the fun thing we played around with is what is their interpretation of the Guardians if they see them in the Battle of Earth and they have no idea who the Guardians look like? There's a lot of fun playing around with the fact that they don't even know their names and are making up names for them. I think they called Groot Mr. Tree. Rocket also had a terrible name, Raccoon-something. Star-Lord was Star-Boy. It was kind of funny spins of what people think the Guardians are called, and probably things that would make them very upset."
Of course, the Guardians were far from the only reference at AvengerCon. In fact, some elements - and characters - from Spider-Man: No Way Home made their way across the Hudson River to Kamala's Jersey City.
And, when asked about maintaining the continuity between Spider-Man: No Way Home and Ms. Marvel, given the fact the two were filming at the same time, Amanat noted that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is "aware of everything" and that "all executives are always talking to each other:"
"Kevin's kind of looking at everything and aware of everything. That's kind of across the board and is something we're always considering, always talking to each other, all executives are always talking to each other about what's happening in one another's projects and productions. And so, it wasn't that challenging for us as long as it made sense for the story and it made sense for the world. It happened quite seamlessly."
Much like Spider-Man: No Way Home, and all three of Tom Holland's MCU Spider-Man films, Ms. Marvel is a coming-of-age story about a teenage superhero.
Amanat recalled wanting to see "more stories about kids in high school" within the Marvel Universe, which is why, when pitching Kamala Khan, she says, "we went in that direction:"
"For me, I personally love coming of age stories, and I remember when I joined Marvel many years ago, Tom Brevoort, who's an executive editor at Marvel, was asking us what kind of stories we wanted to see in the Marvel Universe. Honestly, I just want to see more stories about kids in high school. Those stories are always so fun. I love teen comedies. I want more of that. Later on, when we were pitching Kamala, that's kind of why we went in that direction because we felt like we could explore that world when you wanted to live in it. When you weren't just with Kamala and you went off with Nakia, you were off with Bruno, we wanted to understand their world a little more."
In taking a successful teen story from print to the screen, Amanat noted that "classic American comedies" were an inspiration and how the Ms. Marvel team wanted "to follow that mold and then bring a fresh perspective:"
"I think that was quite important to me and translating that to the screen, it kind of makes sense. There are so many classic American teen comedies that were inspiring to us, and we wanted to follow that mold and then bring a fresh perspective through the lens of this young Muslim woman who's a big fan and so quirky and fun. And, I felt like that felt so classically Americana and so classic teen comedy, and the differences we have are some super-heroics in it. That's kind of why it made sense and came together in such a natural way."
How Ms. Marvel Bridges Fans to Life Within the MCU
Even though audiences have only seen one episode of Ms. Marvel, the reaction has been positive and fans seem to be enjoying the genre, as well as the show's many MCU connections.
The fact that Avengers fans on Earth have been speculating and theorizing about Endgame's climactic battle isn't just fun but also echoes what real-world MCU fans do with trailer footage, posters, and set photos.
It will be interesting to see if future episodes show more of that and other ways Earth has responded to what they know of Thanos' attack on Earth. And, since the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special has hinted at a visit to Terra, perhaps viewers will actually get Rocket's reaction to how the Terrans have interpreted him.
Now, while it's true that Tom Holland's Spider-Man trilogy was also a coming-of-age teenage tale, Ms. Marvel is different in several ways. First of all, Kamala Khan shows what it is to be a young Avengers fan in high school, but within the confines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While Peter Parker knew of the Avengers and Tony Stark and clearly wanted to be an Avenger himself. His room wasn't covered in fan art, he wasn't cosplaying in his free time, and his videos were of his own interactions with his heroes as opposed to Kamala's speculation about hers. In many ways, of the two, she is most like the individuals who are watching.
Secondly, while a Spider-Man film had around two hours to tell an action-packed story, Ms. Marvel's six-episode series format has the benefit of being able to fully flesh out her daily life at home and at school and her relationships with her family, friends, school, and community.
So, while Ms. Marvel isn't the first MCU project to tackle the genre, it has more time to truly do so and to provide more context on the current state of the MCU.
New episodes of Ms. Marvel premiere on Wednesdays on Disney+.