Marvel Studios has been as busy as ever this year with movie releases for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder on top of new expansions in the Disney+ sphere. Most recently, the MCU continued with Iman Vellani's Ms. Marvel on Disney+, bringing Kamala Khan into the greater Marvel universe for her first solo story.
A big part of Kamala's journey was her status as the MCU's biggest Avengers fan, consistently referencing the franchise's other big-name heroes before gaining her own set of incredible superpowers. There are high hopes for her to have more interactions with Earth's Mightiest Heroes in future adventures after her appearance in The Marvels, which will allow her to find out what being part of the superhero team is really like.
On top of those specific nods to the Avengers, there were even some comparisons to those heroes in regard to how Kamala's powers work and the history behind her bangle. Thanks to a recent chat with Ms. Marvel's head writer, fans now have more of an idea of how this mythology and history hit Kamala when she learned more about who she truly was.
Ms. Marvel Writer on Thor Easter Egg Impact
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Ms. Marvel head writer Bisha K. Ali shared new insight into Kamala's powers and her history with the Clandestines in the show.
When asked about how they decided to bring the djinn into play, Ali referenced their history and mythological ties to Islam while sharing how the reveal connected to her emotional journey:
"Yeah, I mean djinn are a part of Islam, but then they also exist as this long-running mythology that predates Islam as well. In terms of what we were looking at, what we were thinking about, we were really thinking about the emotional journey of this character and the world that she’s from. You can see the specificity in everything in her life, from how she spends her day, when she goes to mosque, where she’s at school, to the Eid celebrations, to the wedding, to every single part of her life. So I don’t know why it would suddenly stop because we’re scared of portraying something that other people have done poorly before. That’s not really how I operate."
Specifically looking at the "Pakistani experience," Ali noted how important it was to the "Pakistani writers in the room" to include the historical connection in the show the right way. The biggest part of that was avoiding any kind of negative connotations that were associated with the djinn throughout mythology and how it affected those bringing the story to life:
So when we’re thinking about djinn and we’re thinking specifically about Pakistani experience, it’s very specific to us Pakistani writers in the room, is this historical idea that whenever something seems supernatural or bad luck, the accusation is like, 'There’s something to do with the djinn here,' or, 'The djinn’s got you.' There’s such a negative connotation with it. Whether that’s true to theologically or whether that’s true in terms of mythology, that’s culturally how it’s used as a colloquialism in terms of how we talk about it, certainly in my childhood.
After the revelations about the djinn in Episode 3, she turned to the conversation with Waleed in Episode 4, where he explains to Kamala how the djinn was classified.
"I mean, if Thor landed in the Himalayan mountains, he too would have been called a Djinn." - Waleed in Episode 4
She noted Waleed's conversation with Kamala where he mentioned Thor as something that might have been referred to as a djinn since he's something unknown:
"So in that episode 3, when Kamala hears the words 'These are all the names that we have, but we’re most commonly known as djinn,' that’s the worst possible thing that she could be. This is the moment where her fantasy completely collapses. It’s not until we meet the Red Daggers that Waleed says, 'Well yeah, we call them djinn because there’s some weird paranormal stuff. If Thor turned up here, we’d call him a djinn too.' That is what we do. That’s how we’d phrase it."
As a whole, the biggest thing to keep in mind for the writing team was the idea of perception and how that perception lined up with the story being told:
"The whole show is about perception, how we perceive stories and what other people say about us. So thematically, it all linked up."
Thor Another Unknown in Ms. Marvel's World
Over the past 14 years, people within the MCU have been introduced to one new wild entity after another - everything from the God of Thunder to the Guardians of the Galaxy. It seems that the point Ali makes with these quotes isn't necessarily that Thor has anything to do with Kamala's backstory as a Clandestine or a Mutant, but that he's simply another mystery that the people of Earth had to learn about.
The simplest way to look at this is that Kamala's history lined up with the Clandestines the same way it would have lined up with Thor if the God of Thunder had been the one to crash into the Himalayas.
In the end, this was developed to give Kamala even more ties to her family history as she learned about both her superhero powers and her legacy through Islam and the Clandestines. All of that only served to push her character development forward more fully before she took on the responsibilities of being a superhero for the first time.
All six episodes of Ms. Marvel are now streaming on Disney+.