The X-Men have long been some of the most beloved characters in the Marvel Universe. It’s why Charles Xavier and his mutants are currently the most eagerly awaited addition to the MCU. And in the final moments of Ms. Marvel’s season finale, the show hinted at an MCU-shifting event: the arrival of mutants to the MCU’s main timeline. While the notion of Kamala as a mutant deviates from Ms. Marvel’s comic book canon, the episode itself channeled the absolute best of what makes the X-Men so special. The story showed just why this could be an exciting evolution for both Kamala Khan and the MCU as a whole.
Ms. Marvel episode six shifts the series’ tone from its opening moments. Suddenly, we’re high above the epic landscape of New York City, the Statue of Liberty standing proud. Deep under the city on the subway, Kamran and Bruno—in classic MCU espionage baseball cap fashions—are sneaking around trying to evade a terrifying threat in the form of the Department of Damage Control. Young kids navigating a swiftly changing world where they’re hated and feared for their powers—it all feels like it could come directly out of the ’00s X-Men movies. And it’s intentional.
Throughout this episode, the creative team smartly returns again and again to themes from the X-Men stories—at times literally—to establish their big final act reveal. At the heart of the X-Men is a conflict between those with powers and those without them. Ms. Marvel has spent its six episode season sowing the seeds for that discord in the MCU. But in its finale we see it taken to its obvious conclusion as the Department of Damage Control begins to target New Jersey’s Muslim community under the guise of hunting for “enhanced individuals.”
Evil government agencies have long been the bane of the X-Men’s life, but Ms. Marvel makes text what has always been analogous in the comics. Yes, the government is oppressing superpowered people. But the oppression also shows the real world reality of racism and Islamophobia rather than just metaphorically fictionalizing it.
One of the most impactful moments of the episode saw Sheikh Abdullah say of DODC, “Just because someone makes you their enemy, you don’t have to make them yours.” Those words could have come straight out of the mouth of Charles Xavier. It’s the kind of generosity and hope that are vital to who Professor X and the X-Men are.
In contrast to that, we saw Kamran struggling with the most relatable parts of coming to terms with his powers. Not only did he go through what was essentially a mutant transformation, but he also wanted to use those powers to hurt those who had caused him so much pain. His cries to Kamala that the people would never accept her and that she’d never be one of them are very much in line with Magneto’s arguments for why the mutants shouldn’t protect the people that want to destroy them.
It’s not just the bigger conflicts and themes that lean into the most powerful parts of the X-Men, though. Small setups and location choices all hearken back to that most famous of Marvel found families. As the kids establish their base for the coming battle, they choose their high school. As the DODC storms the halls, it evokes the imagery of Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters being raided by the government that so desperately wants to shut them down. In a truly wonderful Easter egg, the kids utilize many softballs through the school. In X-Men fandom we’re all obsessed with the quiet moments of the team, some of the most famous of which are the team playing softball/baseball on the grounds of Xavier’s mansion.
Tonally Ms. Marvel’s series has a lot of similarities with the best of the X-Men. The coming of age story, found family aspects, and slice of life teenage adventures are all part and parcel. So the final reveal makes a lot of sense. In the comics, Kamala is already a member of a group that’s ostracized by the world at large. In fact the Inhumans moved to the moon because of the extent of that separation. Being a mutant would be an unexplored journey that could easily dovetail into more of her comic book history. Also, in a sweet potential crossover nod, Xavier’s first student in the comics was Jean Grey, a.k.a. Marvel Girl. So it would be pretty cool if Kamala Khan’s Ms. Marvel took on that role in the MCU.