Warning! This article contains spoilers about the Season Finale of Ms. Marvel.
Kamala Khan finally has the courage to step into her full potential. Season finale Ms. Marvel, which dropped July 13 on Disney+, the teen superhero is able to draw on her ability to “embiggen” when she needs it most—stretching out her limbs to become a bigger, more powerful version of herself. After fighting to keep the world from collapsing in on itself—all while balancing the tensions of being the daughter in a Muslim immigrant household, sneaking out to attend Avenger Con, traveling to Pakistan, and learning about her family history—Kamala is ready to become Ms. Marvel.
Of course, the teen superhero’s story won’t end here. Iman Vellani (Canadian Pakistani actor) will play the role. MarvelsThe film was directed by Nia Daccosta, and stars Brie Larson as Carol Danvers (a.k.a. Captain Marvel. That film isn’t scheduled to premiere for a year—its release date is in July of 2023—but the creative team behind Ms. MarvelThe season finale left plenty of things for viewers to chew on. In Wednesday’s season finale, there was a clear hint that Kamala’s story may have something to do with the X-Men, a mysterious cameo featuring Danvers herself, and more surprises.
Learn MoreAll You Need to Know Before You Watch Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel creator and head writer Bisha Ali, who is British Pakistani, spoke to TIME about Kamala’s connections with Captain Marvel and the X-Men, her embiggening powers, and why it was important to her to incorporate a storyline about the traumatic 1947 partition between India and Pakistan into the show.
TIME: Let’s start with the very end. In a post-credits scene, we see Brie Larson, as a confused Carol Danvers, appear in Kamala’s bedroom. What’s going on there?
Ali: I can’t say a single thing about where it’s going to lead, but I’m really excited to see the collision of these two characters. When we think about the relationship we’ve seen in the comic books between the two, we can see that Kamala is such a big fan of Captain Marvel—to the extent that when the teenager first gets her powers, she transforms into a physical manifestation of her idol.
In what ways will the series tie in with the movie? Marvels?
I’m not involved in MarvelsHowever, they did read our story while writing the movie. I know that Nia DaCosta is aware of Kamala’s journey, because it’s really important to see a continuation of that. There are things we’re setting up in this show that will have wider implications in the MCU.
We are talking about Kamala’s mutation in her genome. Fans have made many connections to Kamala. X-Men, theorizing that she’s a mutant. You can confirm this or reveal more.
I will say: we weren’t pulling any punches. It’s possible to hear the music. X-Men playing in that moment, so I don’t know that we could be any more on the nose if we wanted to be.
“Ms. Disney+ has the season finale of ‘Ms. Marvel’, which aired July 13, 2013.
Chuck Zlotnick—Marvel Studios
Kamala’s powers have been a hot topic, as some fans have complained about them being different from how they manifest in the comics. But in one of the final scenes of the season, we hear her say “embiggen” before stretching her limbs to morph into a bigger version of herself—a key feature in the comics. These powers are worth showcasing at the very end.
It’s not as though Kamala was holding back on embiggening the whole time. When she finally says it, she doesn’t shout it. It’s almost like a prayer: I need to be bigger than myself in this moment to fight this, and I don’t know if I’ve been bigger than myself in the past. This internal and emotional journey is connected to her physical abilities. Also, it’s a six-hour TV show that’s an origin story; if she’s doing all the flashy stuff from the second or third episode then it’s like—what are we doing here?
Kamala is humiliated by her parents’ surprise gift of a green and baggy shalwar kameez inspired by the Hulk. However, in the end, when the family is back from Pakistan her mom gives Kamala a Ms. Marvel outfit that looks a lot like her. This is the end of it all. You get the point.
Symmetrical things are my favorite. Both scenes show that Muneeba’s daughter was showing love to her even though she feels humiliated. But there’s an evolution. Kamala has a greater understanding of Muneeba’s needs and is open to her affections, while Muneeba has a deeper understanding and can give Kamala the love she requires.
The season was a big part of cultural and family history. In the first episode, a member of Kamala’s family says, “Every Pakistani family has a partition story.” Partition is a painful and common traumaMany families from Pakistan and India are grateful for this season. As the season progresses we discover more about their lives, but with a twist. This story is important.
We felt it was very important in our writers room. Of all the things I’ve worked on so far, this felt like such a personal excavation for us. When we unpack partition, it’s so personal on a visceral, generational level. I can’t speak for every household, but for many families, we don’t really talk about it much. You may catch small bits of conversation or stories, but if you think about it too often, you will realize how significant the impact of each event. These ripples can be felt across the generations.
Something that’s important to me in storytelling is that when something feels personally dangerous—like I have fear around it or I’m coming up against this squishy wall of vulnerability that I’m scared to poke through—that’s where we have to go. Kamala was forced to travel there so we wanted to make it happen.
Learn More Ms. Marvel A Groundbreaking Celebration of Pakistani & Muslim Culture
In my experience, Muslim Pakistani families and immigrant families in general aren’t always the best at talking about their emotions. But in one episode, we see Kamala, her mother, and her grandmother talking openly about their pain—and healing intergenerational trauma. These scenes were created by whom?
It’s all about aspirational thinking. I’m so proud of Fatimah Asghar, who wrote that episode, bringing so much of her personal self and all our hopes and wishes onto the page. Kamala is witnessing to her grandmother and mother, which really helps them heal. It’s a TV show, so obviously it’s more complicated than that in the real world, but it’s shorthand for what that kind of honesty, sharing, and empathy can really do for a family.
In the finale, Kamala’s friend Kamran, whose mother was the villain of the season, learns of her death. It’s the first time we see him so full of pain, almost vengeful. What’s in the cards for him? He could be his own villain?
It was more about revenge for me. There’s an element of it, certainly, when you have a thousand things running through your mind. But there’s so much more. Kamala just healed her relationship to her line. He didn’t get any of that, and only gets a second-hand reporting of her death from Kamala. He has grief not only for the fact that his mother is gone but also over the version of the relationship he didn’t get to have with her. That’s what feels emotionally explosive.
I can talk about what my intentions and hopes are for the character, but I don’t know if Marvel will run with this. I always wanted Kamran to find a home with Kamala and her community—her friends, her family, and the Red Daggers. It was never my intention to make a young Muslim male villain. It just isn’t in my nature to write something like that, given the media landscape of the last 20 years.
There’s a poignant scene in the finale about how Kamala gets her Ms. Marvel name, as part of a conversation with her father. Is there any story behind that scene?
This was part of the pitch I made to this show. It was like “Boys, that’s it!” kamaalWhat does it mean? marvel? I thought I was just picking up on what the character’s name was, but they hadn’t clocked this little piece of it, maybe because it’s not a direct translation. Kamaal More literally, it means a wonder—something to be marveled at.
Are you aware of a possible season 2?
Not that I’ve heard. Please let me know what you discover.
The following interview was edited and condensed for clarity.
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