kamala khan ms marvel suit

Marvel’s First Muslim Superhero Isn’t Who Fans Thought It Would Be

Disney Plus, News, Spoilers, Streaming
Nick Davis

SPOILERS AHEAD FOR MOON KNIGHT:

For a while now, fans have been anticipating Marvel’s first Muslim superhero. Kamala Khan, AKA Ms. Marvel, is a Pakistani-American from New Jersey and a practicing Muslim. She’s been a hit character in the comics since her debut in 2013. Naturally, Kamala fans have been waiting patiently for her debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since the announcement a while back. It was thought that Kamala Khan would be the first Muslim superhero in the MCU.

But recently we found out that is not the case.

The Scarlet Scarab, Marvel’s First Muslim Superhero

In the finale of Moon Knight, Marvel’s most recent Disney+ exclusive show, the MCU got its first Muslim and Middle Eastern superhero. Layla El-Faouly AKA the Scarlet Scarab. Layla is one of the main characters of Moon Knight. Her inclusion is a bit strange. She isn’t a character from any comic source material. The Scarlet Scarab is a niche character originally from the Invaders comics in the ’70s. But that Scarlet Scarab was Abdul Faoul. In the show Moon Knight, Abdul Faoul is Layla’s dead father.

The original Scarlet Scarab is a bit controversial nowadays. He was a character consistently made out to be a villain. In spite of the fact that his intentions were to free his native Egypt from colonial rule. Thankfully, Layla doesn’t seem to have anything to do with that.

layla el faoul moon knight scarlet scarab
Layla El-Faoul as the Scarlet Scarab in ‘Moon Knight’

Technically, it is unknown whether or not Layla is actually a practicing Muslim. Her religion is never explicitly mentioned throughout the show. However, she is Egyptian (A country that is %90 Sunni Muslim) and is being portrayed by an Islamic actress from Bahrain. So, while the character’s faith is never brought up, we can almost certainly say she’s Muslim from context.

Ms. Marvel Controversy

Maybe it’s for the best that Layla is the MCU’s first Muslim superhero. The reception to Ms. Marvel ever since the release of the first promotional trailer has been very mixed. The main issue is that Marvel Studios are opting to change Kamala’s powers. In the comics, Kamala is an Inhuman with a kind of rubber body akin to Mr. Fantastic. Her most signature move is to expand her fists into enormous size for pummeling her enemies. In the Ms. Marvel show, it appears as if she’ll have control over a type of energy crystal for her powers. This is Marvel’s first time changing the powers of one of their major heroes from the source material. And fans aren’t happy about it.

Ms. Marvel premieres June 8th on Disney+. It’s unknown when the Scarlet Scarab and Moon Knight will be returning.

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