Ms. Marvel episode 3 — now streaming on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar — introduces a new race of heroes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They refer to themselves as Clandestines, though they are usually called Djinn by others. (They have a whole lot of other names too, as one of the Clandestines points out on Ms. Marvel episode 3, including Ajnabi, Majnoon, and Unseen. Ajnabi and Majnoon are Urdu for foreign and crazy/ maniac, respectively.) Despite how all of this might sound, the Clandestines and Djinn have their origins in the Marvel comics, right down to those very names. Of course, the MCU is putting its own spin on it, as it has always done.
Here’s what the comics say about the Clandestines. Or rather, ClanDestine or the Destines. Created by Alan Davis in 1994, they are a secret family of supervillains who have been around for a while. It all began long ago in ancient Persia when the sorcerer Sujanaa Min Raghbah got hold of a magic gem. Said gem contained a djinn known as Elalyth who served Raghbah for centuries. Meanwhile in 12th-century England, one Adam Ravenscroft made contact with the djinn after nearly dying. Owing to the miracle that kept him alive and thinking of his dream to be a prophecy, he was named Adam of Destine.
Then, two decades later, Adam travelled to the Holy Land for the Third Crusade, where he encountered the djinn in the flesh after a Bedouin mage called Al Kadhdhaab captured him. Al Kadhdhaab took Adam to Raghbah’s realm, where Adam killed the Raghbah but was — once again — mortally wounded by Al Kadhdhaab. But as Adam cut the rope that was hooked to the gem, it shattered and released the djinn. Elalyth killed Al Kadhdhaab and healed Adam. The two became lovers, giving birth to several children over centuries. These children would come to be known as the Destines.
Of course, as anyone who’s seen Ms. Marvel episode 3 can tell, the MCU is making some big changes. While the Djinn concept is very much involved, there’s no reference to Persia or Adam. In fact, the MCU’s Clandestines are not even from our world. Kamran’s mother Najma (Nimra Bucha) — one of six Clandestines we met on this Ms. Marvel episode — revealed that they come from the Noor Dimension. They were exiled into our dimension, and were trying to get back, but they were caught amidst everything going on during British India’s last few years.
Kamala Khan’s (Iman Vellani) great-grandmother Aisha was also one of the Clandestines, who got lost while they were looking for the bangles — the same one that Kamala now has — in 1942 British India. A pair of bangles is referenced on Ms. Marvel episode 3, and I’m pretty sure the other one will come into play sooner rather than later on the new MCU series. After all, Kamala and her mother were called to Karachi at the end of this week’s episode. And I can bet that the show isn’t taking them there for some routine family trip. There’s got to be more than that to it.
Anyway, back to Noor for now. It’s the Noor Dimension that slows down the Clandestines’ ageing — they have been around for a hundred years, as Fariha (Adaku Ononogbo) says on Ms. Marvel episode 3 — and what gives Kamala her powers. (She briefly considers calling herself Noor Girl.) But the Clandestines seemingly can’t access Noor’s full potential in this dimension, as Najma notes. (The four Clandestines seem to be pretty capable as it is, after they go from being saviours to villains on Ms. Marvel episode 3.) But as Kamala is (partly) from here, Najma believes it might be different for her.
Now that the Clandestines have been introduced to the MCU, with Kamala being one of them, it makes sense why Marvel Studios chose to excise the Inhuman angle of Kamala’s comic book origins. Not only would that have not fit with where the MCU was right now, Ms. Marvel creators were also going for something different. By tying Kamala and her South Asian story to djinns, Ms. Marvel gives it a further local flavour — on top of everything else that we’ve seen already.
Ms. Marvel episode 3 is out now. Ms. Marvel episode 4 drops June 29, followed by Ms. Marvel episode 5 on July 6, and — the series finale — Ms. Marvel episode 6 on July 13 on Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar wherever available. In India, Ms. Marvel is available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam.