As Marvel Studios’ latest series Ms. Marvel continues its run on Disney+, critics and fans alike have held near-universal praise for how much Iman Vellani’s portrayal as Kamala Khan has felt like she was just ripped from the comic pages. While some still hold questions as to why her power-set was switched from polymorphing to being able to create cosmic light constructs and why they’ve seemingly removed any connections she’s had to the Inhumans, the reception has been overwhelmingly positive.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Sana Amanat, who co-created the character in the comics, discussed her role in helping shepherd the character from the comics to the screen and some rationale for changing some of the specifics of her backstory.
I came on for this project, specifically to shepherd it into production, and work with the writer’s room that [head writer] Bisha [K. Ali] and her team put together. They were trying to steep the story in a different kind of mythos that was one linked to larger MCU stories, but also linked a little bit to the lore of Islamic and Asian mythology. My first thought when I came in was, “well, people are going to be really mad we changed these powers.”Sana Amanat
She goes on to highlight how they wanted to use the show to explore an aspect that didn’t get as much focus in the comics.
I was very aware of what we were walking into. But supervising producer Jenna Berger understood that the show needed to have a balance of what made the comic so special and unique, while at the same time evolving it and making it a true adaptation. That was Kevin’s first challenge to me. He was like, “can you adapt this? You’re so close to the comic, do you think you can adapt this?” I think I took up to that challenge of saying, “Okay, well, the thing that captivates me the most was this story about Kamala and her lineage and her past.” There were only a few issues that were done about it in the comics. I told Bisha, “no matter what we do, the story of the show is this lineage,” which we didn’t really delve into in the comics. Yet, there’s a lot of things that they did pull from the comics that, so the essence of the comics are in the show. I think that’s really how we found that balance.Sana Amanet
At least from the first four episodes of the series, there is no denying that the concept of lineage is ever-present by focusing heavily on Kamala’s distant relatives and the bracelet that connects to both her powers and her heritage. And this has generally been well received by the show’s audience, even with its deviation from the original source material.
It certainly can be argued that tying the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Kamala Khan towards Islamic mythology is more emotionally resonant than connecting her with the Inhumans, a concept that hasn’t been established within the universe beyond the critically panned television series (that very likely will be decanonized, if it hasn’t been already). The debate about whether or not it was worth making these changes to Kamala Khan’s powers will continue (and will likely continue for the foreseeable future), but if nothing else, Sana Amanat and the team behind the Ms. Marvel series certainly have their reasoning for it.