Tom Holland is no longer the young and lighthearted Avenger; that spot is filled by Kamala Kahn's Ms. Marvel.
Move over Spider-Man, there’s a new wide-eyed teenager mixing it up with the seasoned vets of the MCU, and her name is Kamala Khan (Ms. Marvel, if you’re nasty). According to Screen Rant, now that Peter Parker has matured thanks to the life-altering events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Marvel needs new blood to fill the role of spunky kid trying to find their footing in a world of gods and monsters. That’s where Iman Vellani‘s Kamala comes in.
Spider-Man himself isn’t going anywhere (as far as we know), but he no longer fills the same role in the MCU that he once did. Spider-Man and his alter ego Tom Holland were first introduced to Marvel fans in Captain America: Civil War as a noob to the superhero life. During Civil War‘s famous airport fight scene, Peter Parker spent as much time marveling (excuse the pun) over everyone’s cool powers and costumes as he did fighting.
But over the course of three solo films and two more Avengers outings, Peter Parker did a lot of growing up. By the end of No Way Home, he was no longer the star-struck kid he once was, leaving a hole in the fabric of the MCU that Kamala Kahn now has to fill.
Aside from the comic relief Spider-Man provides through his constant one-liners, the youthful web-slinger served another purpose: audience surrogate. In a lot of ways, Peter Parker represented the fans watching the movie. He calls the Avengers’ superhero identities their “made-up names” because that’s what a regular person would call them.
Now Kamala Khan is filling that role, possibly better than Peter did. Sure, Peter Parker represented our dorky excitement at seeing the Avengers in action, but Kamala goes further. In the Disney Ms. Marvel series, Kamala Khan attends AvengerCon, a fictional stand-in for real-life ComicCons like the ones actual Marvel nerds attend.
Peter Parker’s hero worship of Iron Man mimicked many MCU fans’ obsession with Robert Downey Jr.’s flawed billionaire playboy. Kamala Khan, however, takes her hero worship to the next level. Her room is a shrine to Captain Marvel with walls covered in pictures of the hero clipped from magazines and even drawn by Kamala herself.
Back in the day, comic fans would do this exact thing, sometimes buying two issues of a book so they could read one and cut pictures out of the other.
The upcoming Captain Marvel sequel, The Marvels, will be Kamala Khan’s first MCU appearance outside of her self-titled Disney+ series. If the trailer for The Marvels is any indication, Kamala’s obsession with all things superhero gets cranked up to 11 in the film. Just from the trailer alone, we see her geek out over meeting Nick Fury, not once but twice. And both times, she harasses him about joining the Avengers.
Marvel has been tight-lipped about just when we’ll see Tom Holland’s Spider-Man again in the MCU, but chances are when he does return, he’ll be too used to living in the superhero world to offer any new insight for fans on just how weird it is living in the Marvel universe. Luckily, fans now have Kamala Khan for that.