With the upcoming “Ms. Marvel” TV series premiering in 2022 on Disney Plus, the latest addition to the Marvel Comic Universe (MCU) will bring shape-shifting excitement to the screen. The main character, Kamala Khan, follows groundbreaking roles addressing ethnicity and race in “Black Panther” and “Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings” by embracing her identity as a Muslim hero who is also a Pakastani-American teenager.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Marvel’s “Ms. Marvel” TV Show

Read on to understand the place of “Ms. Marvel” in the ever-expanding MCU and get more insight into this new, quirky superhero.

Premise of the “Ms. Marvel” TV show

Played by a 19-year-old newcomer to the screen Iman Vellani, Kamala Khan is a 16-year-old Pakistani-American growing up in Jersey City. She loves superheroes — not surprisingly, Captain Marvel, in particular — is a committed gamer, writes fan fiction, and suddenly has shape-shifting superpowers herself.

You would think that her troubles fitting in at school and home would be solved by her newfound abilities, but well, not in the MCU where heroes are plagued by doubts and personal conflicts, only to redeem themselves in a battle against dark forces.

As far as the kind of popular and social impact that the role might have, actress Vellani has said, “I don’t really have to go out of my way and talk about being a Muslim and being Pakistani — it all comes out in the show. People seeing a person like me involved in a project as big as this is, I think, is inspiring enough.”

How Does “Ms. Marvel” Fit Into the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

“Ms. Marvel” is intended to be the sixth TV series in the MCU and shares continuity with the many films in the franchise, such as “Captain Marvel” and “Avengers: Infinity Games.” The MCU is broken into phases, and so “Ms. Marvel” is part of the latest one, the Fourth Phase, which includes releases like “Black Widow” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

In the MCU, characters, storylines, conflicts, and references are shared among the different Marvel superhero shows and films so that every story stands on its own and is part of a greater shared narrative. 

The “Ms. Marvel” TV series is intended to set up next year’s movie release of “The Marvels,” the 31st film in the MCU.  It’s the sequel to “Captain Marvel” (2019) and a continuation of the Disney Plus series “Ms. Marvel.” In the film, Brie Larson is back as Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel), Vellani and the other TV series actors will reprise their roles, and having played the role in “WandaVision,” Teyonah Parris will appear as the grown-up version of Monica Rambeau.

Who Is Ms. Marvel?

“Ms. Marvel” was originally a best-selling comic created by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, released in 2014. The six-episode series is created by Bisha K. Ali and directed by Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah, Meera Menon, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy will be based on the character from the original comics. Still, it’s hard to say what will be kept from the comics and what will be changed for the small screen. Disney and Marvel play their cards close to their chest. 

Her life in a Jersey family with strict parents and high school will probably be part of Kamala Khan’s story. The tricky balancing act of honoring her heritage while trying to fit into school will be part of the story. Her obsession with Captain Marvel/Carol Danvers and her fan fiction signal the change to come.

What will connect her to other brooding characters in the MCU, such as Spider-Man/Peter Parker, is her soul-searching, questioning of identity, and trying to figure out important family and friend relationships. At the same time she struggles to make sense of this brew of personal issues, she’ll have to rise to the occasion to use her newfound superhero powers to save herself and others without tipping the delicate scales of her psyche.

She may get her powers by sneaking out to a party, like a typical teenager, and being exposed to a mutation-causing mist.

What Are Ms. Marvel’s Superpowers?

Again, until we see the show, we don’t know what her powers will be. But judging by the comic book series, Ms. Marvel will develop marvelous shape-shifting abilities, including the power to “embiggen” — enlarge parts of her body to help her in fights. She’ll also likely be able to take a beating and heal quickly. Following in the steps of her hero, Captain Marvel, she’ll adopt her own moniker Ms. Marvel and dedicate herself to defending the streets of New Jersey.

Who Are the Villains in the “Ms. Marvel” TV Show?

According to the Marvel comic bio, “The first Super Villain Kamala clashes with comes in the bizarre form of The Inventor.” In this caper, a local scientist tries to clone Thomas Edison — an experiment that goes wonky when his pet cockatiel gets involved, resulting in a monstrous creature with a “mad, but brilliant brain.” Ms. Marvel gets her feathers ruffled when her “avian adversary” uses his killer robots and genetically augmented alligators to cause problems in Jersey City. 

Next, she must deal with Kamran, a family friend whom she secretly likes more than a little, only to learn that he has, as well, his own special abilities and might be connected to a sinister sect. Then, she must cope with the swarms of Hydra as they plague Jersey City in a special fashion when the Hope Yards development group attempts to make the area go upscale using unauthorized endorsements from Ms. Marvel as part of their nefarious scheme.

But again, these are conflicts with villains in the comic universe. We’ll have to see how it plays out in the TV series.

When Will the “Ms. Marvel” TV Show Premiere on Disney Plus?

The six episodes of “Ms. Marvel” originally had a release date sometime in late 2021 but was bumped to sometime in 2022, perhaps because the MCU “Hawkeye” TV series is slated to run in November 2021. Some commentators say the need to put space between the series probably prompted the Disney/Marvel date shift.

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Heather Reinblatt

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV