Ms. Marvel Show Head Writer Addresses MCU Djinn Orientalism Concerns

The Ms. Marvel show’s head writer Bisha K. Ali addresses concerns of Orientalism regarding the inclusion of Djinns in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Ms. Marvel show’s head writer Bisha K. Ali addresses concerns of Orientalism regarding the inclusion of Djinns in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Premiered June 8 on Disney+ and wrapped on July 13, Ms. Marvel introduces the titular 16-year-old Pakistani-American high school student and Captain Marvel superfan who gains superpowers from a magical bangle that has links to her family’s secret heritage. Newcomer Iman Vellani leads the Ms. Marvel cast as Kamala Khan alongside Matt Lintz, Yasmeen Flecther, Zenobia Shroff, Mohan Kapur, Saagar Shaikh, Laurel Marsden, and Azhar Usman.

Bad Boys for Life’s Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah leading the directing team, Ms. Marvel broke a record for the highest-rated MCU show on Rotten Tomatoes. Despite the critical acclaim, Ms. Marvel is the least watched MCU show on Disney+, with the most frequent criticism being the changes made to Kamala Khan’s powers. There have also been concerns regarding the show’s depiction of the Clandestines, a group of enhanced beings claiming to be Djinns who are trying to return home after being exiled from the Noor dimension.

The ClanDestines? Ms. Marvel changes up the ClanDestine and Djinn from the comics considerably, but their new backstory and origin make perfect sense in the MCU. Ms. Marvel episode 3 confirmed once and for all that Kamala Khan is not an Inhuman, as in the comics, but one of the ClanDestine, Marvel’s version of the Djinn. Even before Ms. Marvel premiered, it was made clear that certain fundamental aspects of Kamala Khan’s (Iman Vellani) story would be changed for the live-action MCU show. The first and most notable of these changes was to Ms. Marvel’s superhero origin and powers, which have been modified from her “embiggen” morphing abilities in the comics to powers based more on cosmic energy. But the other biggest question surrounding Kamala’s origins as Ms. Marvel was whether or not she’d be an Inhuman as she is in the comics. Since the failure of the Inhumans TV show, Marvel has worked to bury the Inhumans in the MCU, clearly hoping audiences don’t remember the show. Recently, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness went a step further, bringing back Anson Mount’s Inhuman leader Black Bolt and promptly killing him in a gruesome and darkly hilarious fashion.

Ms. Marvel episode 3 finally confirmed once and for all that Kamala/Ms. Marvel is not an Inhuman, or even a Nuhuman, but one of the ClanDestine. It adds a brand-new dimension to Kamala’s origins, an MCU origin that’s arguably even more fitting than in the comics. Her culturally appropriate new backstory as one of Clan Destine now has strong ties to Kamala Khan’s Muslim faith and Pakistani heritage. Here are Ms. Marvel’s ClanDestines explained.

Some Muslim fans have also claimed that Kamala’s Djinn origins violate the Quran, which prohibits Djinn worshipping, though Ali and several others involved with the show have now offered reasonable defenses of the decision to make Kamala part-Djinn. The debate will likely rage on, though it is becoming increasingly apparent that the show’s writers intended to respect and honor Islamic tradition and culture. With the entirety of Ms. Marvel now streaming on Disney+, audiences can watch and make up their minds for themselves.

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