Ms. Marvel is now streaming on Disney+overcamercome severe backlash over the controversial decision to change Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel’s (Iman Vellani) powers from her Inhuman polymorphic, size, and shape-shifting abilities, to the cosmic-powered hard light constructs. In episode 3, “Destined,” the new Marvel Studios original series finally revealed the origin of Kamala Khan’s new powers – and for some fans, it’s worst than they ever imagined.
*Spoilers for Episode 3, “Destined” of ‘Ms. Marvel’ Below
Ms. Marvel follows a young Muslim girl from New Jersey named Kamala Khan, who is a “Super Hero mega fan.” When she puts on a bracelet, she gains the ability to create hard light constructs and tries her hand at being a superhero, but it doesn’t exactly live up to her dreams. She is helped by her friends Bruno Carrelli (Matt Lintz) and Nakia Bahadir (Yasmeen Fletcher).
She finally starts to get answers as to where her new powers come from in episode 3. Kamran’s (Rish Shah) mother Najma (Nimra Bucha) tells Kamala that her great-grandmother Aisha (Mehwish Hayat) is a djinn from the Noor Dimension. This means that fans finally know how the Marvel Cinematic Universe has replaced Kamala Khan’s Inhuman powers and many fans are enraged.
Why do fans hate that Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel is a djinn in the MCU?
The story given in Ms. Marvel is that these characters are members of the Clan Destine, a group of exiled djinn who will stop at nothing to get home. In the show, the djinn are explained as ghosts or demons that exist in Islamic mythology, but for Muslims, this is not true. As MCUfeld explains, Muslims believe that djinn are real, not cultural myths like vampires:
“Djinn are considered very real in Islam, same level as angels. So far #MsMarvel has been a love letter to the Muslim American experience, but trivializing this could rub a lot of us the wrong way.”
Djinn are considered very real in Islam, same level as angels. So far #MsMarvel has been a love letter to the Muslim American experience, but trivializing this could rub a lot of us the wrong way. https://t.co/jSC0q3zSKy
— MCUfeld (@MCUfeld) June 22, 2022
In Islam, Muslims believe in the existence of all of the creatures Allah created, including djinn or jinn. When a Muslim prays for something to happen, they ask God, but if they were to ask a djinn for help, this is considered khit or a sin because it is subverting the will of God as only God can grant miracles.
And Muslim fans of Ms. Marvel suspect they know why Marvel Studios chose to link the djinn to Ms. Marvel, even if it is only red herring. LegoKingo says:
“Hilarious that Ms Marvel changes Kamala from being an inhuman into being a Djinn, very easy to imagine someone at Disney suggesting that her powers should be more ethnic lol”
Which they followed up with:
“It’s also a good example of cultural appropriation, where they’re taking a real word and idea from a culture and just adding a totally made up backstory to it to fit the plot lol”
It’s also a good example of cultural appropriation, where they’re taking a real word and idea from a culture and just adding a totally made up backstory to it to fit the plot lol
— Kingofied Tomato (@LegoKingo) June 23, 2022
Marvel Studios has been making strides in increasing representation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the last two years, Marvel fans got their first gay superhero Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), and deaf superhero Makari (Lauren Ridloff) in Eternals (2021). The first Asian superhero to lead a film was Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, who was also referenced in this Ms. Marvel episode. The first confirmed Jewish superhero came in Moon Knight with Oscar Isaac’s Steven Grant/Marc Spector/Moon Knight.
But for some Marvel fans, just having diversity reflected on screen is not enough if the representation falls short. Especially since they feel that the metaphor of her powers was already erased to make her more like Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel before The Marvels. roxyintheknight shared their feelings:
“no bc why the hell would they go the djinn route? weird as hell. this feels disrespectful to our culture idk”
Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah direct Ms. Marvel for Disney+. It stars Iman Vellani, Aramis Knight as Kareem/Red Dagger, Saagar Shaikh as Aamir Khan, Rish Shah as Kamran, Zenobia Shroff as Muneeba Khan, Mohan Kapur as Yusuf Khan, Matt Lintz as Bruno Carrelli, Yasmeen Fletcher as Nakia Bahadir, Laura Marsden as Zoe Zimmer, Laith Naki as Sheikh Abdullah, Azher Usman, Travina Springer, and Nimra Bucha.
During the production of Ms. Marvel, the hashtag #FixMsMarvel trended when some characters like Nakia Bahadir were whitewashed when Yasmeen Fletcher (Andi Mack) was cast. Adil El Arbi & Bilall Fallah, Meera Menon and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy will direct Ms. Marvel.
“Marvel Studios’ “Ms. Marvel” is an original series that introduces Kamala Khan, a Muslim America teenager growing up in Jersey City. An avid gamer and a voracious fan-fiction scribe, Kamala is a Super Hero mega fan with an oversized imagination-particularly when it comes to Captain Marvel. Yet Kamala feels like she doesn’t fit in at school and sometimes even at home-that is until she gets super powers like the heroes she’s always looked up to. Life gets better with super powers, right?”
How do you feel about the djinn in Ms. Marvel? Let us know in the comments.
You can stream Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and the seven series in Marvel’s Phase Four so far — Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s WandaVision, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, Marvel’s What If…?, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, Oscar Isaac’s Moon Knight, and Iman Vellani’s Ms. Marvel — on Disney+ anytime