The Fantastic Four are trending on Twitter, even though there has been no official update on the status of their Marvel Cinematic Universe debut. Marvel’s First Family are getting talked about online because of an entirely different comic property being brought to screens, and the controversial change it has made. We are, of course, talking about Kamal Khan, Ms. Marvel herself. The first trailer for her eponymous Disney+ streaming show just dropped this morning, and some MCU fans, being the reasonable people that they are immediately got into a frenzy about one particular thing. Turns out, the show has changed Ms. Marvel’s powers, and people are dragging the Fantastic Four into it. Take a look at some Tweets, why don’t you?
Let’s explain. In Marvel Comics continuity, Kamala Khan is a Pakistani-American teenager living in New Jersey who idolizes superheroes in general and Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers edition) specifically. Through exposure to The Inhumans’ (who are an ancient hidden race of people with individually specific superpowers who are neither The Eternals nor The X-Men) Terrigen Mists, Kamal developed the ability to “embiggen” her body. Which is to say, she can stretch her body (we’ll get to the Fantastic Four in a moment) to a certain degree and also can change size from very small to very large. In contrast, Kamala Khan (portrayed by Iman Vellani) in the Ms. Marvel show appears to not have her comic book-standard powers. From what we gleaned in the trailer, it looks like Kamala has energy based powers that seem to come from a big chunky bracelet she puts on. Some people aren’t having it:
So, the issue here is multi-layered. One, people often don’t like it when the adaptation of source material to a different medium makes chances to the original (even though that’s, y’know, what adaptation is), so any change to Ms. Marvel would have raised some eyebrows. But fans online are also speculating that Kamala Khan’s power change is due to the expected introduction of the Fantastic Four to the MCU, and the power to stretch one’s body is kind of Reed Richards’ aka Mr. Fantastic’s thing. The assumption is that they would not want one character’s power set to be too overtly similar to another’s (and the changing size thing would definitely be blowing up Ant-Man’s spot), although given that half of all MCU character powers are “brightly colored energy beam,” who can say. Some also pointed out that by taking away Ms. Marvel’s stretch powers and giving her energy walls and beams, they pretty much gave her the power set of The Invisible Woman from The Fantastic Four. Six of one, half a dozen of another, it seems.
We would venture to say that Kamala Khan’s power change is less about infringing on the vibes of The Fantastic Four and more about giving her a visual similarity to Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Photon (Teyonah Parris). Both of those characters basically shoot light beams and are teaming up with Kamala Khan in The Marvels, so it would make sense that they are trying to give them more similarities. But regardless of the reasoning, it looks like Twitter will have a lot to say about it.