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Ms. Marvel: When Iman Vellani & Co. Opened MCU Door to Mutants, X-Men

Ms. Marvel star Iman Vellani, head writer Bisha K. Ali & Kamala Khan co-creator & Sana Amanat on opening the door to mutants in the MCU.

Over on the comics side of the pop culture universe, folks are buzzing over the news that Kamala Khan is returning in a new Marvel Comics comic book series penned by Ms. Marvel star Iman Vellani & series writer Sabir Pirzada, with Carlos Gomez & Adam Gorham handling the art, and Sara Pichelli providing the main covers. And why's that particularly special? Because they killed her off in May's Amazing Spider-Man #26 – but in the typical Marvel Comics manner where death is just another throwaway plot device, she got better – and now? She's a mutant! Hello? I said… She's a mutant! Okay, I get it. If you live on the television/streaming side of things, then you know that was an issue addressed in the season finale of Disney+ & Marvel Studios' streaming series.

ms. marvel
Image: Screencap

As you know, Kamala's (Vellani) powers evolved over the course of the season as more intel about them was revealed. The bangle wasn't the source of her power, just a way of activating the power that was already inside of her. Deeper into the series, Kamala's told that she's a supernatural being known as a djinn. But in S01E06: "No Normal," her friend Bruno (Matt Lintz) has an even bigger reveal, telling her that there is something different in her genes… "like a mutation." At that point, you can hear the brief clip from the X-Men: The Animated Series theme song play after Bruno's comment and before Kamala responds. In honor of the comics getting in line with the MCU, we have a look at what Vellani, head writer Bisha K. Ali, and Kamala Khan co-creator & streaming series EP Sana Amanat had to share about opening the door to mutants in the MCU (paving the way for the X-Men), what it was like holding onto the secret, and more.

Iman Vellani, Bisha K. Ali Discuss That MCU Game-Changing Moment

Describing it as the "best day of my life," head writer Bisha K. Ali revealed that bringing mutants into the conversation wasn't a plan that was in play from the start. "It wasn't from the beginning [of the show]. With Marvel, something's always a moving piece, and we're trying to solve this question of, 'If any of [Kamala's family] put the bangle on, would they have powers?' The answer was always no, from a character perspective, no." So having Kamala's genetics different from her family not only served the series' storyline but it also "fit into the logic of the wider MCU."

And what about Vellani? Well, let's just say that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige's attention was clearly gotten with an all-caps email. "They sent me, and only me, the draft [of the final episode], and I immediately freaked out. I emailed Kevin Feige in all caps. I was like, are you doing this like for real? Are you sure? I'm so honored! I was like yelling at him through an email," Vellani revealed. "I was freaking out. This is the biggest deal in the world, and the fact that it's happening in our show is crazy." And if there's one person who understands the potential ramifications of the reveal, it's the Ms. Marvel star. "People are going to lose their minds. They're going to lose everything. I did. It's truly a really big deal."

In fact, her excitement didn't exactly make filming the season an easy undertaking. "It took a really long time to film that scene because any time Matt [Lintz] would say that word, I'd start giggling. I think we got the one take. The one you see in the episode is one of two that we got where I was mildly serious," Vellani explained. "It was really, really, really difficult. I think we have so many outtakes of me just breaking because I was so excited and giddy over this." As for Ali, the game-changer was the kind of thing her teenage self could've never imagined. "I feel so excited as a viewer of my show. The Bisha teen fan girl in me is like, 'I can't believe it.' And the fact that it's Kamala — it's her. It's like her wildest dream already came true over the show [gaining powers], but then we just gave her one more bit of the dream. It's incredible. I'm overjoyed," Ali added.

Ms. Marvel Co-Creator/EP Wanted Mutant Reveal Much Sooner

In a July 2022 interview, the character's co-creator & streaming series EP Sana Amanat shared that having Kamala's backstory directly connected with mutants was an idea that originated nearly ten years earlier. "We've been talking about it for some time," Amanat revealed to Empire about the plan to connect Kamala's origin story to mutants. "Here's a really important thing that people do not know – when we were thinking about the character of Kamala back, back, back in the day in 2012, 2013, when [G.] Willow [Wilson, comic book writer] and myself were ideating, we originally wanted to make her a mutant. That was the whole intention, to be able to do that." So now that the word "mutation" is out there, that means Kamala's a mutant… right? "Is she a mutant, question mark?" Amanat teased in response. "I don't know. I don't know, guys! All I know is that we use the word 'mutation,' and that's all I can say." Well, maybe one more thing to say, with Amanat adding, "I will say, I think this is opening up doors for a lot of great storytelling, obviously, as a huge fan, um… of the word 'mutation.' I'm really happy about it."

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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