The Ms. Marvel TV series will reportedly feature the Inhumans, and will introduce Pakistani superhero Red Dagger. Excitement is building for the Disney+ TV series, which is expected to begin filming this summer. Ms. Marvel will feature the live-action debut of Kamala Khan, the first Muslim character to headline her own book. Kamala is then expected to jump straight into the movies, and there’s speculation she could appear in Captain Marvel 2.
But Ms. Marvel will force Marvel Studios to answer one simple question: what do they do about the Inhumans? Marvel Studios had originally intended to produce an Inhumans movie as part of the MCU‘s Phase 3, but plans changed; the film was dropped, and the franchise was passed to Marvel Television. The Inhumans played a prominent role in the first four seasons of Marvel‘s Agents of SHIELD, but unfortunately Marvel Television‘s Inhumans show flopped. Given this troubled context, fans had wondered whether Marvel Studios would simply rewrite Kamala Khan’s origin story altogether, removing any connection to the ill-remembered Inhumans.
The latest reports from The Illuminerdi suggest that won’t be the case. The Illuminerdi has obtained two casting calls for Ms. Marvel, and one of them is for a character named Kamran who’s explicitly described as “Inhuman.” In the comics, Kamran was another latent Inhuman from New Jersey who was exposed to Terrigen. He therefore gained the ability to morph into a bioluminescent form and project powerful, explosive energy charges. He was introduced as a major love interest for Kamala Khan, sharing many of her hobbies, but in reality he was manipulating her from the start. The casting call reportedly describes him as “morally corrupt,” confirming this will be a comic book-accurate portrayal.
It’s reasonable to assume Marvel Studios will reboot the Inhumans, but it will be fascinating to see whether they choose to absorb the lore from Agents of SHIELD into the main canon. Although the movies have never explicitly referenced Agents of SHIELD before, they have gone to surprising lengths not to contradict the show. Captain Marvel was particularly well-connected to the rest of the MCU, with everything from Kree architecture to subtle casting details matching up. It looks as though Ms. Marvel will be the make-or-break moment when audiences learn whether Agents of SHIELD should be completely discarded from MCU continuity.
In addition to Kamran, The Illuminerdi also reports the introduction of another love interest – Kareem, aka the vigilante Red Dagger. In the comics, he’s a youthful hero who lives in Pakistan; while Red Dagger doesn’t possess any powers, he’s a skilled marksman. It’s possible Ms. Marvel will lift an arc from the comics, where Kareem lived with the Khan family while earning foreign-language credits for his college applications. There will reportedly be “an undeniable romantic connection between [Kamran] and Kamala.” Red Dagger would join Kamala Khan in a step forward for the MCU, considering he hails from Pakistan.
All this gives a fascinating insight into the kind of show Marvel Studios is making. Ms. Marvel was created after the pattern of Spider-Man, an “Every-man Hero” who was designed to represent the complexity of the modern, multicultural society. As a result, although the best Ms. Marvel stories do focus on themes of social justice in the context of fundamentalist faith, they’re also incredibly personal. Kamala’s love life is just as much in focus as Peter Parker’s, although the names of her love interests won’t be as familiar to casual viewers as Mary Jane Watson or Gwen Stacy. It looks as though Ms. Marvel really is going to be true to the comics, aimed straight at young adult viewers, and creating a vibrant new world of allies and enemies around its new superhero.