Who is the main villain in Disney Plus’ ‘Ms. Marvel?’

Image via Disney Plus

Hype for Ms. Marvel has never been higher, as fans finally get the chance to enjoy the first episode of the highly-anticipated Disney Plus series.

The latest in Marvel’s impressive selection of films and television series dropped its first episode to the streaming service on June 8, inviting a wealth of new fans into the story of Kamala Khan, played by the talented young Iman Vellani. The first season is set to run through July 13, releasing weekly episodes to what is likely to be an eager fanbase. Centered on one of the lesser-known heroes in Marvel’s lineup, Ms. Marvel will likely set the tone for what Disney and Marvel can expect from future series. If the series does well, fans are likely to see far more obscure, young, or sidelined characters get their moment in the spotlight, but if it flops we may see the franchise pull back on fresher, riskier projects like this one.

Quite a few questions still swirl around Ms. Marvel, including how audiences will react to the MCU’s first Pakistani-American character. As interest in the series surges, fans are also curious about the direction it will take. Trailers have made it clear that Ms. Marvel is poised to tell a non-traditional coming-of-age story with Kamala as the centerpiece. It follows the teenaged character as she navigates the typical complexities of teenagedom while also discovering and mastering a new set of super powered skills, but trailers have yet to reveal what she will use those powers against. No primary villain has emerged in teasers or behind-the-scenes details, but fans have plenty of theories about who Kamala will face-off against.

Who is the main villain of Ms. Marvel?

Every Marvel offering has a villain baked into the storyline. The sprawling franchise has carefully sprinkled cookie crumbs and tiny hints throughout its many releases, linking many of its most popular shows and films together, and often sharing villains across releases. Loki has appeared in quite a few, as have a few of the franchise’s major villains, but cross-series sharing isn’t always a factor in Marvel releases. While it’s all but guaranteed that we’ll see at least a few nods to other properties in Ms. Marvel — namely, Captain Marvel — it’s not assured that the show’s villain will be a familiar face.

In fact, the series seems poised to introduce a brand new baddie into the MCU’s array of malefactors. Over months of awaiting the show’s official arrival on Disney Plus, fans have proposed dozens of theories as to who Kamala will face-off against in the first season of her solo series. While a few options seem too far-fetched to make sense in the debut season of a feminist coming-of-age story, some of these scoundrels would pair perfectly with Ms. Marvel‘s youthful hero.

Kamran

Kamran - Ms. Marvel
Ms. Marvel/Disney Plus

One of the villains established in the comics Ms. Marvel is based around, Kamran has already been introduced in the Disney Plus adaptation. In the series, Kamran — played by Rish Shah — is introduced as Kamala’s crush early on. Thus far, he appears to be nothing but a charming love interest for the show’s titular hero, but there is far more lurking beneath the surface of this character. In Marvel comics, he is a Nuhuman who’s latent super abilities were triggered following exposure to Terrigen Mist, a substance that can force mutations in seemingly average humans.

Following his exposure, Kamran gains glowing skin and the ability to essentially turn everyday objects into mini energy bombs, as well as expel energy from his body in a burst. He can turn this ability on and off, however, which allows him to pass as a normal person in his day-to-day life.

Following his discovery of Kamala’s secret super-life, Kamran sets his sights on the young hero. In comics, he even kidnaps her and delivers her to Lineage, a shady crime-boss who may be seeking out super-powered individuals for experimentation. Kamran ends up joining with Lineage and attempting to convince Kamala that they, as supers, are superior to regular humans and thus should feel no urge to protect them.

Deaver

Another potential option — as proposed by Marvel aficionado @MyTimeToShineH — is N.I.C.E agent Deaver, played by Alysia Reiner. Images of the actress cropped up a few months back, spurring theories and sparking rumors about Reiner’s involvement in the MCU. One such theory comes from @MyTimeToShineH, who believes that Deaver is “a villain and working for N.I.C.E. an organization dedicated to capture and imprison super-powered individuals they consider to be ‘dangerous.’

Not much is known about N.I.C.E thus far, but fans are broadly comparing it to an insidious version of S.H.I.E.L.D, one that hunts and harms super-powered individuals instead of helping them. The Twitter account behind the rumor has been correct countless times in their theories and leaks regarding the MCU, so fans should give this option extra attention. Redditors are already flocking to the theory with their own spins, with one noting that, in light of the ever-growing ranks of super-powered people in the MCU, the governments of several countries may have banded together to create N.I.C.E. The organization, according to u/KostisPat257, exists to track and keep an eye on supers, and to capture and deal with any who veer from N.I.C.E’s vision.

Valentina

Valentina - MCU
Black Widow/Marvel

An add-on to u/KostisPat257’s theory brings forth another intriguing possibility, one that situates Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s Valentina as Ms. Marvel‘s titular villain. Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, entered the MCU as a slightly shady but seemingly well-intentioned mystery woman whose connections weren’t immediately made clear. She also cropped up in the post-credits scene of the Black Widow film, sparking even more rumors that the MCU is maneuvering her into a vital role. Her true intentions may just be revealed in coming Ms. Marvel episodes.

In Marvel comics, Valentina is far from an ally to our favorite heroes. While she does manage to secure herself a high position in S.H.I.E.L.D., she is eventually revealed as a double agent. Her behind-the-scenes work for Hydra is vital to the organization’s continued prosperity, and could just lead to the formation of a secret team far removed from the Avengers. Fans are theorizing that Valentina may be in the process of forming a Dark Avengers team, according to Distractify, one that will eventually face-off against the heroes behind the MCU’s success.

Red Dagger

Red Dagger - Kamala Khan
Average Wil/YouTube

It’s not certain he’ll qualify for villain status, but the first season of Ms. Marvel does intend to introduce Red Dagger, a masked vigilante whose family ties are intertwined with Kamala’s. Casting lists tap Aramis Knight of Ender’s Game fame for the role, which could see him turn from heroism to villainy. Red Dagger is not a villain in Marvel comics, but his presence as a vigilante may eventually see him transition into villain in the MCU.

The man behind the Red Dagger moniker — Kareem — is originally from Pakistan, and his mother and Kamala’s aunt have been close for years. Kareem spends much of his youth in Pakistan working as Red Dagger to protect the local citizenry, before his transition to Jersey City — where Kamala is located — changes things up. It’s hard to say if he’ll be presented as an enemy or ally in the upcoming series, but there’s certainly a chance that he and Kamala will come to blows early in her story.

Doc.X

Ms. Marvel - Doc.X
Ms. Marvel/Marvel Comics

A final theory, proposed by Distractify, is too tantalizing to ignore. The publication taps Doc.X, a sentient computer virus that Ms. Marvel faces-off against in comics, as its pick for the most likely villain in the Disney Plus series. An artificial intelligence that is capable of taking over huge swathes of the country via our digital connections — of which we all have plenty — Doc.X discovers Kamala’s secret identity, thanks to her digital activity, and attempts to blackmail her into introducing the virus into the S.H.I.E.L.D servers.

It is entirely feasible that Doc.X has already been introduced in Ms. Marvel, and viewers just haven’t caught it yet. Distractify proposes, in fact, that the super virus and Reiner’s character are one and the same. The idea is certainly alluring, and could inject a fascinating tech element into the MCU. With the world’s exponentially-rising reliance on the digital world, a storyline with Doc.X at its core may come at the perfect time.