This week, Disney and Marvel debuted Ms. Marvel, the newest inclusion to Disney+’s original TV show portfolio and to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The show, based off the latest Ms. Marvel comics that started in 2013, follows the story of a young Pakistani girl named Kamala Khan living in Jersey City who is obsessed with superheroes. After finding a magic bracelet, Kamala gains superpowers — in the comics, body manipulation; in the show, cosmic energy. Despite the difference in the powers, both mediums show Kamala as a teenage girl who is struggling with normalcy and yet is still excited about her new life.
In the first episode of Ms. Marvel, Kamala is speaking with her friend Naika at school and discussing some afterschool plans. Naika, assuming Kamala wants her to come over, asks “Are you inviting me to play Super Smash Bros.?”
So, one, not that it was in any doubt, but Nintendo’s crossover fighting game Super Smash Bros. exists in the MCU. While it’s obviously not a 1:1 parallel with the real world, the MCU pulls a lot of entertainment references from the real world. The Chitauri attack of New York in 2012 seemingly did not disrupt the world enough that Nintendo did not produce more Smash Bros. games, though maybe it did affect the launch of the Wii U even worse.
Now that we know Smash Bros. exists, and we know Kamala plays it, the question can — nay, must — be asked: Who is her main? We have some guesses.
If there’s one thing we know about Kamala pre-powers, she likes strong women in her hero fantasies. She idolizes Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers, and believes she was pivotal in defeating Thanos during Avengers: Endgame. There’s no way Kamala isn’t a huge fan of Samus Aran. The bounty hunter and Metroid protagonist is one of gaming’s superheroines. Hell, the grapple beam is in some small way a prototype version of her own stretchy/energy-grabbing powers. I’m not positive Samus’ slow style fits her ideal method of play, but I bet she likes Samus so much that she has gotten incredibly good at her. When Kamala drags the icon over to Samus, all of her friends likely feel a palpable sense of dread as she slowly ticks one-by-one to her favorite costume and prepares to destroy them. Samus is the most likely choice for her main.
At her core, Kamala has always been a character that revels in the extraordinary hero story. The idea of someone coming from nothing and, out of the goodness in their hearts and fate thrusting a specialness onto them, leading an epic battle to save the world. This makes me think she would enjoy playing as Link, even if her playstyle is mostly raining down bombs and throwing boomerangs to cause as much chaos as possible.
Sure, this one may be a little bit on the nose, but there’s some good logic here. Min Min has more to her than just stretchy arms, she also has a bunch of style options. For someone like Kamala, who excels at keeping her opponents on their toes by switching things up, she probably picks Min Min because no one knows exactly what to expect. Is she going to go with twin-dragon arms? Is she going to press the opportunity to with a Megawatt Smash? Or is she going to fake you out switching to the Ramram and then jumping in your face with an air-kick? Also, you know, stretchy arms.
That mask idea had to come from somewhere. Joker, in Persona 5, also represents a lot of what Kamala thinks about. She’s frustrated with her place in the world, with adults that are always trying to treat her like a fragile thing that will break at the slightest touch, and are keeping her from living an exciting life because of that. I can see Kamala finding Joker’s whole deal in Smash Bros. difficult to acclimate to, but she loves picking the character and going to his stage and rocking out to some tunes.
Kirby and Kamala have more in common than just initial letters. Both characters are frequently underestimated for their appearance but are ridiculously powerful given the right motivations. Kamala also venerates the Avengers and desperately wants to be in their shoes for only a moment. Kirby absorbs the essences of another fighter and — in a small way — channels those things to do what they do best. That small way is undoubtedly appealing to Kamala.
Okay, so we’re getting a little capitalistic here. Technically, Sora and Kamala are corporate cousins, both being wholly-owned by the Disney corporation. But I also think, given the overall themes of Kingdom Hearts, there’s a spot in the superhero’s heart for the series. The fight against evil, the fierce belief in justice and light, the ever-extending and branching drama that arises from it all, it’s the perfect kind of thing for a teenage girl obsessed with the idea of a heavenly good. Also, I bet she uses the Kingdom Hearts III outfit.
This is only a small smattering of options for her preferred character. Which Super Smash Bros. character do you think Ms. Marvel would use the most?