With The Marvels struggling to stick the landing at the box office, things aren’t looking great for Ms. Marvel in terms of adaptations. Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel comics have lost popularity, with her appearances in video games, shows and movies not doing much to move the needle. Kamala Khan’s next big hope may be an MCU Young Avengers project.

The following contains spoilers for The Marvels, in theaters now.

Ms. Marvel, aka Kamala Khan was once poised to be one of Marvel Comics’ breakout characters for a new generation of fans. Sadly, this initial success hasn’t remained consistent, especially with outside media. Now, this more tepid reception has followed the character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making it questionable as to her potential future there.

The Ms. Marvel TV show was the least-watched MCU streaming series on Disney+, getting the character off on the wrong foot. Now, she’s co-starring in The Marvels, which is set to become Marvel Studios’ biggest box office disappointment as of this writing. That’s amid the changes that the shared universe made to her, not to mention some other less-than-beloved developments elsewhere. Thus, Ms. Marvel’s biggest hope may lie in a completely different set of heroes than the Marvels.

Ms. Marvel Was Once One of Marvel’s Most Successful New Heroes

Secret Invasion Was a Better Choice for Captain Marvel’s Sequel

Created by Sana Amanat, G. Willow Wilson, Stephen Wacker, Adrian Alphona and Jamie McKelvie, Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel debuted in Captain Marvel #14, though her full appearance was in the eponymous Ms. Marvel #1. A fan of the heroine Carol Danvers (who was the previous Ms. Marvel and had recently taken up the mantle of Captain Marvel), Kamala was very much a character in the “relatable teen hero” vein. A Pakistani-American teenager living in Jersey City, Kamala was something of an outcast who simply wanted to fit in. Her life changed forever, however, when the Terrigen Mists of the Inhumans activated her latent Inhuman genetics.

Undergoing Terrigenesis while thinking of Carol Danvers, she awakens from her cocoon resembling her hero. She later masters these powers, which make her into a shapeshifting “polymorph.” Becoming something of a local hero, Kamala’s initial adventures as the new Ms. Marvel were very successful. The first volume of her comics by writer G. Willow Wilson were especially lauded, with many comparing her relatable, geeky energy to that of a younger Peter Parker. Sadly, this popularity resulted in the character’s push being kicked into overdrive, which ended up proving disastrous.

Ms. Marvel’s New Series Proves Why the X-Men Are Marvel’s Most Tragic Heroes

Some fans complained that Ms. Marvel was now seemingly everywhere, a premise that wasn’t helped by her joining the Avengers a mere year after her official debut. This caused the positive reception towards her to cool off significantly, and this was compounded due to her origins. Kamala’s push was synonymous with the push of the Inhumans, a brand which only got the spotlight decades after it began due to Marvel Studios lacking the cinematic rights to the X-Men and the mutants. Thus, the Inhumans were pushed into a similar role in the comics, while mutants were downplayed, which was something Marvel fans didn’t take kindly to. Ironically, Kamala was originally going to be a mutant until she was made into an Inhuman to follow this trend.

This association with a fairly toxic property was a major damper on Ms. Marvel. The same goes with her being Carol Danvers’ “sidekick,” which failed in two ways. For one, Carol herself is as controversial as the Inhumans in many respects. Likewise, she doesn’t really have any narrative connection to the new Ms. Marvel, which keeps either of them from benefiting as a brand. Adding insult to injury was the fact that her later comic books following G. Willow Wilson’s original run weren’t nearly as successful. The result is that Ms. Marvel is now a character who seemingly can’t keep a solo title going for herself, completely removing much of the momentum of her original series. Sadly, this failure to maintain consistency also came at a time when the character experienced similar turbulence elsewhere.

Ms. Marvel Hasn’t Gotten Over In Video Games, Either

Marvel Should Abandon Plans For A Shared Gaming Universe & Focus On Insomniac’s Slate

Released in 2020, the much-hyped Marvel’s Avengers was meant to be a major video game project for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. While not set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it was clearly inspired by the versions of the characters seen there and their popularity. Unfortunately, the game had several problems, namely in terms of its lack of polish and repetitive nature. On top of that, the Avengers that fans wanted to play and were heavily touted in the marketing took a bit of a backseat in the initial gameplay to Ms. Marvel.

For a good bit of Marvel’s Avengers, players control Ms. Marvel and not the actual Avengers such as Iron Man, Thor or Captain America. Likewise, Kamala’s story took major precedent over everything else, turning what some expected to be an epic adventure into a coming-of-age story. These elements might have been overlooked if the game as a whole was better. Due to its perceived quality, however, it gave many a bad impression of Ms. Marvel. Thus, her biggest media presence outside the comics before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was in a game that’s now well-known as a sales failure. Such a young, plucky character simply didn’t fit as the focus of such a project, though the MCU did little to make her work even in her element.

The MCU Hasn’t Been Kind to Kamala Khan

Ms. Marvel Shows How Disconnected Secret Invasion Is From The Marvels

Released in 2022, the Disney+ streaming series Ms. Marvel was the first major live-action production featuring the character. Starring real-life Marvel Comics fan Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan, the series was a more youth-oriented coming-of-age show compared to the older-skewing content of the rest of the MCU. Most notably, however, the show made massive changes to Kamala’s backstory, namely by eschewing her Inhuman origins (likely due to the failure of the MCU Inhumans TV series) and making her a mutant as intended. This meant that Ms. Marvel was the first official mutant to be introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though this concept intrigued some fans, it wasn’t enough to make the series marketable.

Ms. Marvel had the lowest views of any Disney+ MCU series, with the show seemingly slipping under the radar for many. More than likely, this was due to the show’s more youthful tone, which may have alienated some older fans. Conversely, while the first two episodes were very well-received, many consider the show to have dropped in quality as it went along. A big reason for this was how quickly it abandoned its more grounded, related scope for more generic storytelling. The series’ ending set up the events of The Marvels, but Kamala Khan’s theatrical debut was even worse than her first TV appearance.

The Marvels has received tepid to negative reviews from many critics, and audiences as a whole seemed wildly disinterested in the movie. This has given it one of the lowest initial box office hauls for an MCU project, and its financial woes are sure to only increase as it faces more theatrical competition such as The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Even those who’ve criticized the movie have noted that Iman Vellani’s Ms. Marvel is easily the best part of it, but this is unlikely to move the needle in terms of making her a mainstream success or even guaranteeing her a second season of Ms. Marvel. Thus, Kamala Khan’s only real future is in teams of unrelated heroes.

Kamala Khan’s Future In the MCU

Ms. Marvel’s Iman Vellani Cosplays as X-Men’s Jubilee at Fan Expo

Following the reception of The Marvels, a third Captain Marvel movie is highly unlikely, especially given that star Brie Larson is supposedly done with the role of Carol Danvers. The future of Ms. Marvel’s show supposedly hinged upon the success of The Marvels, which all but guarantees that the show was a one-season wonder. Additionally, some fans are still upset over how the show changed so much of her classic story, meaning that her best elements were never even brought beyond the comics. Thus, this presents very few ways in which Ms. Marvel can become a mainstream and beloved character among moviegoers. At the same time, team-based projects can offer her a future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially given her heritage.

One potential avenue is to have Kamala Khan be a member of the Young Avengers in the MCU. This has already been foreshadowed by her meeting Kate Bishop (the new Hawkeye) towards the end of The Marvels. In forming this team, the MCU can finally have a new Avengers team, albeit made up of the young heroes that the shared universe has been trying to set up. This will make the Young Avengers into a cross between that team and the Champions, the latter of which Kamala was a member of. Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that a Young Avengers movie is in the cards, at least anytime soon. It’s not currently an announced project by Marvel Studios, and by the time it’s created, its members may be far from young.

The best route for Kamala is to instead join the MCU version of the X-Men, especially since she’s been retconned as a mutant, a development now shared in the comics. The X-Men are the characters that fans have been begging to see introduced for years at this point, and putting Kamala alongside such high-profile and beloved characters will actually do her far more favors than being alongside Carol Danvers ever could. Again, the main impediment is that the Marvel Studios X-Men movie is still likely years away. Thus, its release may be too late for Kamala to have a chance at true popularity. It’s a shame given how hot of a property she once was, but it seems that for the latest MCU movie hero, her current path across several mediums is less than marvelous.

The Marvels is now playing in theaters.

The Marvels

Carol Danvers gets her powers entangled with those of Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau, forcing them to work together to save the universe.

 The Marvel’s is the MCU’s deepest low point, and it sadly continues a trend of disappointment for the once promising character Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel.  Read More