How Ms. Marvel Captured Kamala’s “Telekinetic” Powers

Ms. Marvel cinematographer Jules O’Loughlin discusses how the show created Kamala Khan’s talents on set and defines them as “telekinetic” in an exclusive interview.

The cinematographer for Ms. Marvel episodes 4 and 5, Jules O’Loughlin, has explained how the series captured Kamala Khan’s “telekinetic” abilities. Ms. Marvel is one of Marvel Comics’ most popular “Legacy” characters, second only to Miles Morales’ Spider-Man in terms of cultural impact.

It was only a matter of time before Ms. Marvel debuted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but when she did, she underwent a drastic transformation. In this year’s Ms. Marvel, Kamala was portrayed for the first time by Iman Vellani.

Marvel revised Kamala’s origin narrative to separate her from the Inhumans and give Ms. Marvel a new set of abilities.

In the comics, Ms. Marvel is a polymorph; in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, she is capable of generating “hard light” constructs.

The Ms. Marvel Disney+ TV programme included numerous references to Kamala’s comic book abilities, most notably with “embiggened” hand-shapes, but physically, her new abilities resembled those of a lesser-known X-Men character named Armor. The change was inevitably controversial.

O’Loughlin, who portrays Ms. Marvel, now discusses exclusively with Screen Rant about how Marvel made these powers a reality.

The creative team took a practical approach to one of Kamala’s powers, despite the fact that it required a significant amount of visual effects work. Explained by O’Loughlin:

As far as Kamala’s powers, she has a telekinetic power and there’s an energy emanating from her, but also a crystalline structure that she creates. It’s an energy that gives off an interactive light. For myself and for our VFX supervisor, it was really important we did as much in camera as possible. We didn’t want to leave it all to our VFX guys. The more in camera you do, the more realistic the effect’s going to be. For Kamala, you’ve got this blue and purple hued light, my challenge was to create as much of that interactive light on set as possible.

It’s a real dance between getting lighting fixtures on to the set but hiding them from the camera. I used larger lighting fixtures off-camera for energy walls and the like, and then smaller LEDs behind her arms or in her clothes, hiding smaller units around the set. Occasionally there’d be no other way but to have a lighting fixture in-shot that the VFX team erased in post, but I didn’t want to do that. Their job is big enough as it is, time and money is of the essence. As much as I could, I hid those lights off-camera.

It’s not just about the color; it’s about the timing of the light as well. As her powers grow, or when she deploys her power, the timing of those lights has to be right as well. In this day and age, you have precision control over the timing of those units, so it’s either me handling the on-and-off, fade-up or fade-down, or it’s my gaffer doing that.

This strategy is reasonable. Kamala’s light-based talents create a light that organically alters an image’s composition, and by integrating these effects as much as possible into the actual filmmaking, the Ms. Marvel director and cinematographer knew just how each shot would seem.

Surely Vellani would have found it humorous that, whenever she made a motion, her hand would suddenly illuminate, simulating superpowers. It must have been a dream come true for her, a devoted Marvel fan.

O’Loughlin’s suggestion that Ms. Marvel’s abilities are “telekinetic” in nature is the most surprising aspect of this explanation of her abilities. This obviously strengthens the parallel with the X-Armor, Men’s as her exoskeleton has always been portrayed as telepathic.

Comics are a visual medium, thus creators did not want to just depict characters levitating without fascinating effects. Ms. Marvel’s “harsh light” is likely a method of adapting this to the small screen.

Telepathy and telekinesis are typically linked with mutants in the comics, therefore Ms. Marvel’s final retcon – establishing her as the MCU’s first legitimate mutant – fits well with this.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.