TV Shows
Published July 13, 2022

‘Ms. Marvel’: What Kamala Khan’s DNA Reveals About Her Genetics

“It's like her wildest dream already came true over the show, but then we just gave her one more bit of the dream.”

ms. marvel

What do you do when you learn you’ve got a different genetic markup in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? You email Kevin Feige in all caps — or at least that’s what Iman Vellani did.

While Episode 6 of Marvel Studios’ Ms. Marvel wraps up all the main storylines of the series (Kamala Khan and her family reconcile, Kamran charts a new path, D.O.D.C. realize they can’t fight a bunch of kids, etc.), there’s one huge revelation waiting just around the corner. Knowing that his sister can harness the Noor energy, Aamir Khan asks Bruno Carrelli if maybe he, too, might have powers? So Bruno does some tests on Aamir only to find out that Kamala’s an outlier in her family for a different reason — there’s something different with her DNA.

Bruno’s not exactly sure what’s going on with Kamala’s genetics, so he offers up this simple explanation, stating there’s “something different in your genes.” Not knowing the weight of this, Kamala shrugs it off: “Whatever it is it’s just going to be another label.”

Are you freaking out? If the answer’s yes you’re in good company, as the cast and crew of Ms. Marvel are also freaking out about this huge reveal (and yes, you heard that music cue correctly).

“Oh my god, best day of my life!” Head writer Bisha K. Ali tells when asked about being able to include that word.

However, this wasn’t always the plan. The creative team wanted it to feel organic and not forced, and as Ali continues, “It wasn't from the beginning [of the show]. With Marvel, something's always a moving piece, and we're trying to solve this question of, ‘If any of [Kamala’s family] put the bangle on, would they have powers?’ The answer was always no, from a character perspective, no.” So, right from the get-go, making Kamala different from the rest of the Khans made sense.

When the opportunity to actually give Kamala this backstory to explain why she could harness the power of the bangle while others couldn't, it simply “fit into the logic of the wider MCU.”

And when Vellani learned this was happening? That’s when she emailed Feige in all caps.

“They sent me, and only me, the draft [of the final episode], and I immediately freaked out,” Vellani recalls. “I emailed Kevin Feige in all caps. I was like, are you doing this like for real? Are you sure? I'm so honored! I was like yelling at him through an email. I was freaking out. This is the biggest deal in the world, and the fact that it's happening in our show is crazy.”

Kamala’s DNA was the biggest secret behind-the-scenes, with very few knowing what was going to happen at the end of the episode. Matt Lintz, who actually breaks the news to Kamala in the episode, eventually had to be let in on the secret — but it took some time.

“They didn't even have it in [the script],” he explains. “I remember I was having a conversation about it and [the directors] were like, ‘Yeah, you say this crazy thing.’ They wouldn't even tell me what it was! I was like, ‘What's the deal here?’ They were very secretive about that whole thing.”

Vellani also knows that the reaction to this reveal is going to be through the roof. “People are going to lose their minds. They're going to lose everything. I did. It's truly a really big deal.”

When it came time to actually film the scene it was a challenge, not but for the obvious reasons. Vellani and Lintz simply kept giggling every time the cameras were rolling, knowing the weight of the word.

“It took a really long time to film that scene because any time Matt would say that word I'd start giggling,” Vellani explains. “I think we got the one take. The one you see in the episode is one of two that we got where I was mildly serious. It was really, really, really difficult. I think we have so many outtakes of me just breaking because I was so excited and giddy over this.”

“Iman could not get through a take because…she was beaming, like, out of character beaming,” Yasmeen Fletcher, who plays Nakia and is just out of earshot in the scene, adds. “They had to cut and refilm that so many times.”

“Iman was laughing,” Lintz continues, with a laugh himself. “She was laughing almost every second. It was hilarious because she just was like, ‘This is so cool.’ She couldn't believe that I was saying this to her. Obviously, it's so big for her character. We were going through the scene and she kept laughing. It was making me laugh.”

Elsewhere on set, the whole crew was freaking out and giggling, too. As Lintz recalls, “I remember…you could just hear in the background [the crew] all screaming and the excitement and joy that they had was really, really funny. It's a very big moment. I was just blessed and lucky enough to be able to share that with Iman and everybody else.”

Vellani still can’t believe she’s allowed to even say the word out loud now. “It makes me so excited, I can’t even put it into words. I feel very, very honored, very, very lucky.”

Ali shares this same sentiment, knowing that her teenage-self would be beside themselves knowing what’s happening now.

“I feel so excited as a viewer of my show. The Bisha teen fan girl in me is like, ‘I can't believe it.’” The writer recalls. “And the fact that it's Kamala — it's her. It's like her wildest dream already came true over the show [gaining powers], but then we just gave her one more bit of the dream. It's incredible. I'm overjoyed.”

As for what happens next? No one knows, but everyone’s excited for what’s to come.

“So many people have been waiting for this,” Lintz adds. “There have been so many people excited about it. It's even cool for me and Iman as viewers because we don't know what's going to happen. [This is] something that the fans, and me included, are so excited to see.”


Looking for more Kamala? Follow Ms. Marvel on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram, and find Marvel on TikTok


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