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A while back there was a rumor going around that Ridley Scott is very interested in bringing Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, to the small screen in a TV series for ABC. Recently, El Mayimbe published an article suggesting that Ms. Marvel “is” going to be coming to ABC. So I decided to help Mr. Scott out by putting together my idea for a Kamala Khan story arc which will establish her as a character and also fit her into the larger MCU. Specifically, this will position her to be both a recurring member of Skye’s “Secret Warriors” on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a lynchpin for a whole world of young heroes on her own Ms. Marvel TV series.
The first thing to get out of the way is that Ms. Marvel season 1 will not run a full 22 episodes. And considering that the show hasn’t been announced yet, I don’t think anyone would be surprised to see a Ms. Marvel series which premiers this TV year not run 22 episodes. Instead, the season will be 13 episodes (give or take), premiering in January and running alongside Agent Carter for the first 6-8 episodes and alongside Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for the remainder. This will give the series enough time to tell Kamala Khan’s origin story, show her fighting a few bad guys, and set things up for her subsequent appearances without getting bogged down with endless side plots and the like.
The theme to be explored in the first season is that of belonging: what does it mean to be different? What does it mean to be an outsider? Is it better to be on the outside of a “good” group or an insider with a “bad” group?
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At the beginning of the season, Kamala Khan is a regular human girl, but not what one would consider “normal.” As in the comics, she is a Pakistani-American high school student whose parents immigrated to America before she was born. She is smart, though not a wunderkind like Peter Parker or Tony Stark. She does not fit in well with her European-American classmates, who pick on her for being different, but at the same time her immigrant parents do not understand her because she has adjusted more to American life. The first episode begins with a small group of people going through Terrigenesis together and walking out of the building they were in, at which point we find out that they are in Jersey City (Kamala Khan’s comic book hometown). At that point it fades to black and transitions to focus on Kamala after the credits. During the first episode, we are introduced to Kamala, her family, her school, her friends, and the bullies who tease her for being different. We also learn that Kamala is a huge fan of superheroes in general, and a couple in particular: Scarlet Witch, whose poster she has on her wall, and the original Captain Marvel (presupposing that Agent Carter introduces Mar-Vell in season 2), whose recently-declassified files she has read and whose picture she also has on her wall. In the background of one scene we see a TV showing news footage of the New Avengers fighting a group of terrorists, and Kamala seems fascinated to watch them work. While walking home from school, Kamala witnesses a purse-snatching by a newly-transformed Inhuman (one of those from the beginning of the episode). Because she is such a fan of superheroes, Kamala tries to stop the purse-snatcher and succeeds in retrieving the purse, though the criminal gets away. The episode ends with her wishing that she had been able to catch the purse-snatcher like her heroes would have.
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The second episode begins with Kamala taking an Omega-3 pill from a new bottle as part of her morning routine. She continues getting ready, but on the way to school she suddenly and unexpectedly undergoes Terrigenesis as the pill is digested. She is not feeling well and ducks into an alleyway just as her body is covered with a thin layer of stone. When the transformation is completed, the stone slowly falls away until Kamala comes out looking largely unchanged, but with a completely different outfit and different hair. She continues on to school where she discovers that she is a couple hours late, causing her first panicked shape-shift. When she realizes what is happening, she runs into the bathroom and attempts to calm down while her entire body changes shapes and sizes uncontrollably. One of the school bullies comes in, sees a little of what is happening under the stall walls, and mocks Kamala, making it harder for her to control her powers. We see her finally get her transformations under control and go through the rest of the school day trying to keep her transformations from happening or being noticed.
For the next couple episodes, Kamala starts doing research online to figure out what happened to her while at the same time trying to keep her parents from finding out about it. Meanwhile, we learn more about the other Inhumans, who were all ostracized for one reason or another and came together to form a group (maybe call them the “Revengers,” which is a group from the comics that didn’t like the Avengers) before the Fish Oil incident in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2x22. The leader happened to be of Inhuman ancestry, took a fish oil tablet, underwent Terrigenesis, and gained powers. He then had the entire group take fish oil tablets, causing most of them to transform. However, a couple members were not Inhuman, and were cast out from the group. Since their transformation, the “Revengers” have been committing petty crimes around Jersey City, partly to survive and partly for revenge on those who pushed them aside. Kamala sees news reports of the Revengers fighting the police, who are helpless to stop them, early in the third episode and resolves to do something about them. That night she goes out on her own in a costume patterned off the Avengers. She finds the Revengers trying to break into a jewelry store and stops them, though they all escape before the police arrive. However, as a result of this incident, Kamala decides to become a superhero.
We see Kamala trying to balance her strict family, schoolwork, friends, and hero career even as the Revengers start to wreak havoc in the city. Her schoolwork starts to suffer as she spends more and more nights fighting crime. Some of the episodes may even borrow heavily from the first few issues of her comic book. Her friends and family start wondering what’s going on with her because she is tired all the time. She nearly lashes out at the classmates who pick on her for being different, but narrowly avoids it. The police confront the Revengers a couple of times but find themselves completely powerless to stop them without Kamala’s intervention, hardening Kamala’s resolve that she needs to stop them herself.
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Around episode 9 or so, Ms. Marvel starts tying in with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Skye and Lincoln are doing research on people who have suddenly received superpowers since the confrontation at the end of season 2 which unleashed the Terrigen Fish Oil Tablets. This leads them to the same news reports Kamala saw in the first third of the season, along with a few new ones showing Kamala as well. Skye and Lincoln go to Jersey City to investigate on AoS. They find evidence of a number of Terrigenesis pods having broken open. They interview witnesses, including a police officer whose life Kamala saved in one of their confrontations with the Revengers. This leads to Skye’s first meeting with Kamala (in Ms. Marvel episode 10), in which she explains what happened to her and invites her to join the “Secret Warriors. Kamala initially refuses, though Skye gives her a business card anyways.
All of this builds up to a penultimate confrontation in episode 11 during which the leader of the Revengers realizes that Kamala is one of them. When she faces them down, he instead urges her to join them because she “doesn’t belong” with the regular humans; she belongs with them. Because of the bullies picking on her at school, Kamala is strongly tempted to agree with him. In her confusion, she leaves and lets the Revengers continue what they were doing unopposed.
Kamala suffers a temporary identity crisis as she tries to figure out who she is now and what she should be doing with the powers she has been given. During this time she gives in to her desire to make the bullies pay for all their insults, though afterward she feels guilty for using her powers for personal revenge instead of helping others. In the end she acknowledges that she has been given this gift for a reason and that she needs to stop those who would use their powers to hurt people. She realizes that like Captain Marvel—another outsider who fought to protect those who were completely different from himself—she also can fight for the humans against her own kind. This leads her to her final confrontation with the Revengers.
By now, however, the Revengers have collected more new Inhumans and outnumber her by about 12 to 1. Consequently, though she has some success against them, she looks like she’s about to be defeated by the leader. At that moment, however, Skye, Lincoln, and 1 or 2 more Secret Warriors show up, help her defeat the last couple, and take custody of the Revengers. Kamala thanks them, at which point Skye explains that the “business card” contains a GPS microchip. She finally agrees to join the Secret Warriors—at least as long as it doesn’t interfere with her schoolwork. This is where Ms. Marvel season 1 ends.
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This sets up her next appearance, near the end of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3. In this appearance she is fighting alongside the Secret Warriors against Ward’s New Hydra team. Though Kamala likes being part of a team, the results of the battle (heavy civilian casualties and the first calls for superheroes to be held accountable, even before Captain America: Civil War) leave her questioning her involvement with the Secret Warriors. In the end she decides to continue operating alone, but that if the Secret Warriors need her help she will consider helping them out.
Season 2 of Ms. Marvel would then be left open to continue exploring Kamala Khan’s role as an outsider to many different groups: she doesn’t fit in with her European-American classmates, but she doesn’t really fit with her immigrant parents, either; she doesn’t fit in with the regular humans, but she doesn’t really fit with any of the Inhuman groups she’s met, either. In the end, she is an outsider wherever she goes, but she can still find a way to interact with and befriend those on every side. I think this would be a great way to set her apart from the other heroes we’ve seen.
Season 2 could also begin to introduce other young and teenaged superheroes with whom Kamala Khan goes on adventures. This could start planting seeds which eventually build into these teenagers growing up and becoming members of the Avengers and other superhero teams.
Do you think this would be an interesting TV series? What do you want to see if/when Ms. Marvel comes to TV?
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