The MCU Just Broke The First Rule Of Time Travel

This article contains spoilers for Ms. Marvel episode 5.

Ms. Marvel episode 5 features Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) and the MCU breaking the first rule of time travel. The cliffhanger to Ms. Marvel episode 4 saw Kamala transported back in time to 1947 during the Partition of India. Ms. Marvel episode 5, "Time and Again," reveals the reason for Kamala's time travel and brings her face to face with her legendary great-grandmother Aisha, who requires her to play an integral role in the Khan family's Partition story.

The MCU is no stranger to time travel, having deployed it to reverse the effects of Thanos' snap in Avengers: Endgame. The Avengers' cavalier trip back through MCU continuity was later smoothed over by Loki's TVA, but Kamala's trip back in time presents a more complex problem. Traveling back to the Partition of India in Ms. Marvel allows Kamala to play her part in reuniting her young grandmother and great-grandfather at the railway station. In essence, Kamala has played a crucial part in her own eventual birth, breaking a fundamental rule of time travel.

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Ms. Marvel's Djinn bangle is the means by which the MCU has subtly changed Kamala Khan's superpowers from their comic book origins. Sent by her grandmother in Ms. Marvel episode 1, the bangle has given Kamala her abilities to generate hard light to protect the innocent and face off against the villainous ClanDestine. It's also given Kamala the intriguing new power of time travel. In Ms. Marvel episode 5, it's revealed that by sending the bangle, Sana has enabled Kamala to reunite her childhood self with her father, creating a confusing MCU causal loop, breaking the first rule of time travel.

What Is A Causal Loop & How Ms. Marvel Breaks Time Travel Rules

Ms Marvel's Grandmother Sana As A Child In MCU's Latest Time Travel Plot

A causal loop or bootstrap paradox is when someone or something goes backward in time and becomes trapped in an infinite cause-and-effect loop until it has no recognizable point of origin. In the case of Ms. Marvel episode 5, Kamala helps Sana board the train that will begin her new life and set off the chain of events that eventually results in Kamala's birth. This means that for Kamala to eventually be born to Sana's daughter Muneeba, she has to already exist to set the causal wheels in motion. Kamala's involvement in saving her grandmother, therefore, creates a cause-and-effect loop by which Kamala's Ms. Marvel origins become indefinable. Sana has essentially saved her own life by sending Kamala the bangle in Ms. Marvel episode 1, which has allowed Kamala to essentially self-create herself and Ms. Marvel to break a time travel rule.

These types of paradoxes are generally frowned upon by scientists as a violation of the Law of Causality. If baby Kamala only exists because teenage Kamala travels back in time to secure her future, then her origins become hard to define. This uncertainty suggests that the past is no longer dead and the future is not undetermined, and the two can take place simultaneously. If past, present, and future do co-exist, then Kamala's origins become meaningless, and future Kamala can interact with past Sana without breaking the Law of Causality. The causal loop keeps the Khan family history on its fixed course toward Ms. Marvel's clash with the ClanDestines. The older Sana practically spells this out when she says of her parents that they "created something much bigger than either of them could have created alone." Muneeba and Sana then look up to Kamala, emphasizing that Ms. Marvel's rule-breaking time travel has always been part of Aisha's bigger plan to protect Earth from the Djinn dimension.

2022-07-07T15:51:20.000Z

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