There have been many comments on a lack of connection between the various projects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s elusive Phase 4. While it’s echoing the days of when the MCU was in its infancy, long before anyone made heads or tails about Thanos’ brief grin at the tail end of Avengers, there has been a running theme going throughout the season. Many of the stories explored here are about identity and uncovering what we are capable of. There’s also the mystery set out in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, as mysterious tools are appearing with uncertain origins. The same goes for the recent Disney+ series Ms. Marvel, where she uses bangles that are a mystery to even the Clandestine seeking them.
Yet, the latest episode introduced a surprising twist to a familiar aspect of Kamala Kan’s power. In the comics, she doesn’t actually shapeshift but rather borrows mass from herself throughout time. In the series, she actually gains the literal ability to travel through time and ends up during the Partition to help her own family’s history come true. It’s a rather surprising twist that not only gave us time to explore an important part of history but also continue to evolve Kamala’s power set. This does lead to more questions regarding the mysterious origins and how they might tie to the Kree, given it was on a blue arm and the Ten Rings logo.
Once I started thinking about the time travel implications in this series, the more I started to think about the loose connection at play here. We did have an entire scene where no one could connect the origins of the Ten Rings, a weapon that’s been part of MCU’s history long before we even witnessed it ourselves. How would technology that advanced find its way into the hands of Wenwu that not only give him seemingly eternal life but also the power to take down an entire army and how would it connect to the mysterious bangles passed down in the Khan family? The Disney+ series producers did hint that they adapted them for a bigger story, and perhaps they weren’t hinting at just The Marvels but even beyond that.
Well, there is actually one connective tissue that would tie it together. It’s not stated outright but I believe these two mysterious items are linked. In a way, they likely have a similar origin and that is one that doesn’t lie in the past. In Loki, we’ve met a Variant of the man that would be known as Kang the Conqueror to many. Time travel and dimensional travel have been at the forefront for most of the season, as the MCU cleverly tied these elements together to avoid having to explain two distinct sci-fi concepts.
Fittingly, both elements come together in this season of Ms. Marvel. Similar to the dimension introduced in Shang-Chi, the Clandestine are actually from another dimension they refer to as Noor and have been on Earth for a long time. Both projects feature a mysterious object that gives its wielder mysterious powers of an unknown origin that could potentially open up the MCU’s mythos in new ways. Perhaps these objects have these powers because they aren’t from any past civilization but rather originate from the future.
Kang the Conqueror has that name for a reason. With an arsenal unlike any other at his hand, it wouldn’t be too surprising that he’d also find a way to echo the words of Thor’s explanation of how Asgardians combine magic and technology. He’s found a way to harness exactly that to create an arsenal of weapons he used for his own conquering throughout history only to leave them behind when he made his jump. Moon Knight almost featured the man that was a pharao in another timeline, which further pushes a connection.
Perhaps Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness introduced the only weapon that would be able to take him down, someone who can literally bend reality to her knees. Wanda may be the piece of the puzzle that won’t become apparent until much later. In a way, the unnamed bangles and Shang-Chi‘s Ten Rings are actually Phase 4’s new Infinity Stones. Instead of literal embodiments of powers, they are objects all hinting at one major threat and the power he truly holds. Kang the Conqueror doesn’t need to collect any stones to accomplish his goals, he already has done so in another time. Yet, his arrogance of leaving these objects in the past may also become his undoing.