Ms. Marvel episode 4 is now streaming on Disney Plus, and with a trip to Karachi, Pakistan, Kamala Khan is learning much more about the secret family history that lies at the root of her newfound powers.
And rather than connecting to the relatively well-known Marvel Comics concept of the Inhumans, Kamala has instead discovered that she's descended from an MCU adaptation of the obscure Marvel team and family known as the ClanDestine, a group of secret super-beings descended from a mythical Djinn.(opens in new tab)
"Who the hell are the ClanDestine?" most of you may be asking. And maybe more importantly, how does one of the least known concepts ever adapted to the MCU help fill in the blanks on how Kamala Khan's origin as Ms. Marvel will change from comics?
Kamala Khan's comic book origin as Ms. Marvel involves her developing her powers after exposure to a substance known as the Terrigen Mists, which gives the hidden race of beings known as the Inhumans their powers, activating her latent Inhuman DNA.
One of the two key components of that core version of Kamala's comic book origin, a catalyst that is related to her secret heritage that awakens her hidden powers, has been explained by her bracelet, a family heirloom from her maternal grandmother. And it's that last bit that ties Kamala's MCU heritage to the concept of The ClanDestine, as the roots of that hidden family tree of immortals lie with their matriarch, a being known as a Djinn, adapted from Arabic and Islamic lore.
Considering Ms. Marvel's connection to themes of heritage, identity, and religion in both comics books and in her upcoming Disney Plus streaming series, a shift in her origin that incorporates cultural traditions tied to real word Islamic religious ideas isn't particularly far-fetched - even if the Marvel Comics roots of that potential change are fairly obscure.
The ClanDestine may work hard to keep their secrets for themselves, but Newsarama has answers about how they could wind up tying into Kamala Khan's MCU origin as Ms. Marvel.
Who are The ClanDestine?
The ClanDestine are a family line of secretly powerful, immortal beings hiding in the Marvel Universe. Created by writer/artist Alan Davis in 1994's Marvel Comics Presents #158, the origin of The ClanDestine (opens in new tab) was told in a subsequent eight-issue limited series. A five-issue sequel followed in 2008, along with a two-issue X-Men co-starring limited series, and ClanDestine appearances in a handful of annuals for Fantastic Four, Daredevil, and Wolverine, all of which including the 2008 series are collected as The ClanDestine: Family Ties (opens in new tab).
And that's… pretty much it for the ClanDestine in Marvel Comics.
Despite their fairly limited appearances, the history of the ClanDestine is remarkably complex, involving different lives lived across different eras of history, numerous intertwining branches of the same family tree, and a whole web of interpersonal relationships and politics to rival the Eternals, Inhumans, and mutants in terms of innately powerful races of people in the Marvel Universe.
For their connection to Ms. Marvel, the most important thing to know about the ClanDestine is the story of how their bloodline started and the nature of where their powers come from.(opens in new tab)
That story starts way back in 1168 CE, with a man named Adam from the Saxon village of Ravenscroft who was given the name Adam Destine after a vision of a mysterious woman imbued him with great power, including immortality and invulnerability.
Long story short, despite Adam's belief that the woman of his visions is an angel, she's a Djinn who is trapped in a gem that is controlled by an evil wizard - fairly standard fantasy stuff.
After eventually freeing the Djinn, whose name is Elalyth, from the wizard, Elalyth and Adam fall in love, starting a family who each inherits Elalyth's power in different ways, and whose own progeny spread out across the globe as the centuries go by - the so-called ClanDestine.
There are a lot of members of the ClanDestine in Marvel Comics, as well as many more hinted at but not shown or introduced. But we'll save a little time and say that there's not one with powers or a story that resembles Kamala Khan's apparent MCU incarnation.
The big takeaway from that being - while the idea of a Djinn matriarch and a magical gem that provides a connection to Kamala's secret ancestry and special abilities seem to line up just right with what we know of Ms. Marvel on Disney Plus, Marvel Studios is likely to do a little bit of massaging to get it all to fit with their bigger picture.
How the ClanDestine connect to Ms. Marvel
The key component of the origin of The ClanDestine that connects the largely unknown Marvel characters is of course their relationship to their Djinn matriarch and the magical gem she once inhabited.
Djinns are mythical beings derived from Arabic and Islamic religious traditions who inhabit a multitude of spiritual roles in different situations and cultures.
Given Ms. Marvel's strong focus on her family, religion, and heritage, it makes some sense that Marvel Studios has adapted one of the few aspects of Arabic and Islamic lore that has made it into Marvel Comics - even though the show itself distances its version of the Clandestine from being actual 'Djinn' by establishing that the already existing term was used to describe them, rather than the Clandestine being the origin of the Djinn story.
In fact, the show states that even Thor (who is himself bringing in Greek mythology via Zeus and Olympus in Thor: Love and Thunder) would have been called a 'Djinn' if he appeared in the same time and place as the Clandestine.(opens in new tab)
Though Ms. Marvel incorporates the concept of the Clandestine into its story, the Clandestine themselves are far different from their comic book counterparts. Rather than a secret family of immortals descended from a Djinn, they are the inhabitants of another dimension that exists on top of the human world.
With the power of Kamala's bangle, and its identical counterpart, the Clandestine could rewrite Earth with their own home dimension, meaning Kamala is, in fact, the key to saving the world from a cosmic invasion force.
How exactly this will play out remains to be seen, though it seems one of the show's Clandestine, Kamran (who is one of Kamala's fellow Inhumans in comic books) is being set up as a potential turncoat from the villains to join forces with Kamala.
Ms. Marvel continues with new episodes streaming every Wednesday on Disney Plus.
While you're catching Kamala Khan fever, now's the perfect time to read up on the best Ms. Marvel comics of all time.