Ms. Marvels season finale pays homage to a Kamala story arc loyal fans were pleading for

Ms. Marvel season one is now wrapped, with the season finale of the Marvel Studios streaming series now available on Disney Plus. And along with the expansion of Kamala Khan’s powers – she finally Embiggens! – and the introduction of her superhero costume, the episode brings back a key moment from Kamala’s comic book origins as Ms. Marvel from comic books.

But is it the same moment we witnessed at the start of Kamala’s comic book superhero career, or is there more to this MCU moment and its comic book connections than meets the eye?

Light spoilers ahead for Ms. Marvel episode 6

Ms. Marvel episode 6 features a final stinger scene that echoes a key moment from Kamala Khan’s origins in comics. At the very end of the episode, something happened that most fans expected… just not this way. 

While Kamala is relaxing in her room in costume, her bangle begins to glow, and she’s suddenly shunted into her closet in a burst of energy.

But when the dust settles, it’s not Kamala Khan who stands up out of the closet, but Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel herself (played by Brie Larson), wearing a much sleeker version of her movie costume than we’ve previously seen.

Carol-Kamala glances at her hands, looking around the room at all the posters of herself that adorn Kamala’s walls, saying “No, no, no…” followed by a title card that reads ‘Ms. Marvel will return in The Marvels,’ the 2023 theatrical film. 

So while an appearance by Brie Larson as Carol was wholly expected in the finale, whatever is going on in the scene is something of a surprise.

But what is going on in the scene? 

At first glance, it resembles a key moment from Kamala’s comic book origin story, when her powers first develop. In comics, Kamala’s powers are slightly different. 

Kamala Khan shapeshifting into Carol Danvers

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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Rather than creating energy constructs that she can also use to enhance her body, in comics, Kamala is a full-on shapeshifter who can change the size and shape of her physical form – meaning that her comic book ‘Embiggen!’ power is a lot more literal.

And when her powers first develop thanks to her latent Inhuman DNA and her exposure to the Terrigen Mists, Kamala is stuck in a cocoon, emerging with her powers activated – but also instantly shapeshifting into the form of her hero, Carol Danvers.

It’s an empowering arc in her story, and an illustration of Kamala’s lesson that she doesn’t need to look like a tall, blonde, white woman to be a superhero before finally finding her own personality and identity (a lot like her journey in the show).

In fact, that’s how the moment struck us at first – as an adaptation of that moment, an apparent callback to Kamala Khan inadvertently shapeshifting into Carol Danvers, right down to the very Kamala like “No, no, no…” and mannerisms.

When hints of the changes to Kamala’s powers first emerged, some vocal readers wondered and worried aloud if this story arc – considered an integral part of the character’s evolution – was being removed from her origin story.

Fans vocally mentioned the scene as important to Kamala’s origin story. This may be a hint Marvel Studios considered the moment important as well – even as something to pay homage to.

However, according to Ms. Marvel showrunner Bisha K. Ali, what we’re seeing in that moment is Kamala Khan and Carol Danvers physically switching places.

How? Why?

These are questions we’re clearly meant to ask, but comic books may have an answer for us already.

Captain Marvel #17 page

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

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Readers versed in Marvel Comics lore (or who have read our extensive coverage on the concept) may be aware of the possible MCU connection between Kamala’s Bangle and its lost twin to the so-called Nega-Bands, a Kree weapon of great power that connects those who wear the bands to the Negative Zone, an alternate dimension of destructive energy that could destroy Earth if they touch (sounds a lot like the home of the Clandestine, eh?).

While wearing the Nega-Bands, the original Captain Marvel, Mar-Vell, could switch places with the human civilian Rick Jones.

Is what we’re seeing in this scene an extension of the further power of Ms. Marvel’s bangle? Carol Danvers is Captain Marvel, and she’s connected to the Kree, so there’s plenty of MCU precedent to adapt some aspect of the Nega-Bands and their switching power to Kamala and Carol. 

Some way or another, Kamala and Carol have switched places – and right now, we’re betting it’s something to do with a connection between Kamala’s bangle and the comic book Nega-Bands or Quantum Bands.

What else does this mean? It’s hard to say, but if the moment is meant to reflect an aspect of the Nega-Bands from comics, and there is indeed a connection to something like the Negative Zone, that’s also a tie-in to early Captain Marvel mythos.

In the original Captain Marvel Mar-Vell’s early adventures, leading up to the landmark ‘Kree/Skrull War’, he faced off against the villain known as Annihilus, an insectoid inhabitant of the Negative Zone who commands the nigh-infinite Annihilation Wave, a swarm of cosmic locusts that devour everything – and we mean everything – in their path.

Could that be a hint at the potential villain of The Marvels, the film in which Kamala Khan and Carol Danvers will appear side-by-side?

Time will tell.

And of course, the final episode hints that Kamala is Marvel’s first mutant, so there are even more possibilities on the table than we mentioned above.

While you’re waiting on The Marvels, read up on the best Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan stories ever.

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