The Inhumans have had a bit of a jumbled existence and role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. First, we were surprised by the announcement of an Inhumans movie as part of Phase Three. However, for unknown reasons, that fell off the schedule, and the Inhumans were instead repurposed comfortably in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., effectively serving as a substitute for the Mutants, since 20th Century Fox still own the rights to the X-Men. Earlier in May, we got our first glimpse at the Inhumans television series, but the first promotional photo of the cast was met with a very critical response. For beings called Inhumans, the characters look very human and dull. Of course, it is early days. The series could turn out to be amazing.
In the meantime, some readers may be wondering who these Inhumans will be. Well, they are in fact the central characters of this franchise, teased at beforehand, and now will make their way to the small screen. The Royal Family of the Inhumans originated in the early issues of the Fantastic Four in the 1960s and have been around for quite a long time. Their kingdom of Attilan originally existed as an island which can move, but for the TV series, it is being moved to the Moon of all places. I have a thousand questions about how that works and why no one has noticed it, unless it is covered by the government. Anyway, let’s take a look at who is who in the Inhumans, who is playing them, and how their characters may be depicted on television.
The King of the Inhumans and ruler of Attilan, Black Bolt is the most iconic of the Inhumans. His ability is a very sensitive, destructive voice which can level whole cities with a mere whisper. Because of this, Black Bolt prevents himself from speaking or uttering noises, relying on sign language or other people to communicate for him. Right away, that is quite the challenge for a screenwriter to take on where a character can’t even utter noises. They could have easily just said he needs to whisper, but the show writers are determined to honour the character. Black Bolt is played by Anson Mount, who showrunner Scott Buck has praised as taking on the role, ruling out use of a voiceover but instead Mount will use a unique brand of sign language.
The Queen of the Inhumans and Black Bolt’s wife, Medusa will be played by Serinda Swan, but her costume in the promo photo frankly looks like a strange attempt at cosplaying for the character gone wrong. However, let’s not be harsh. Medusa has remained a major character in some sections of Marvel Comics, most prominently being a backup member of the Fantastic Four, also once a member of the Frightful Four. She serves not only as Black Bolt’s wife, but also his key interpreter, advisor, and confidante. Though usually depicted as fair-minded, she can be pretty ruthless if someone does wrong, as seen in the comics where she punished and tortured Venom with fifty lashes from her deadly hair. Yes, her ability allows her to manipulate and weaponise her hair, described as acting like extra limbs.
The implied antagonist of the series, Maximus the Mad is Black Bolt’s brother who really, really wants to rule over the Inhumans and overthrow his brother. While his comic book self is more of an archetypal villain, the show promises to flesh him out a bit more, dedicated to the people of Attilan and believes he would be a better king than Black Bolt. However, I wonder how well this change will work onscreen when Maximus is to be played by Ramsay Bolton himself Iwan Rheon, who coincidentally is perhaps the most well known actor in the series and the first to be announced. No doubt Maximus will be heavily publicized as a result and compared to the bastard Bolton from the word go.
Black Bolt’s cousin and closest advisor, Karnak serves as a strategist and philosopher. In the comics, he has a bulbous, tattooed head, though here, he is played by the more ordinary-looking Ken Leung, who has had previous superhero experience in X-Men: The Last Stand. Interestingly, Karnak was never exposed to the Terrigen Mist that unlocks powers in Inhumans, instead developing martial arts skills and an ability to let him sense a person’s weak points, but will freak out if someone tries to figure out his. Karnak sounds like an intriguing character, as an Inhuman who isn’t technically an empowered Inhuman, but holds a powerful position in the kingdom.
Black Bolt’s cousin and leader of Attilan’s military, Gorgon will be played by Eme Ikwuakor. Gorgon has superhuman strength, can generate seismic shockwaves, and has the legs of a bull. A warrior through-and-through, Gorgon will likely provide a lot of action scenes and fighting in the series. However, he will likely not be just an angry thug who likes fighting, but believes in a greater cause than his own existence, namely the future and survival of his people, and he is willing to sacrifice anything for that.
The youngest member of the Inhuman royal family and Medusa’s little sister, Crystal possesses the most powers in the series, capable of controlling the four classical elements like she is the Avatar. Unlike the others, she is more prone to emotional outbursts, acting childish, and pursuing personal passions – i.e. sleeping with every character in sight. In the comics, Crystal has dated Johnny Storm, married to Quicksilver, having a daughter with him named Luna, and then married Ronan the Accuser. We’ll have to see what Isabelle Cornish brings to the role.
Perhaps the most visually striking of the Inhumans, Triton is Karnak’s brother, and resembles a gil-man, complete with green skin, a huge fin on his head, and an ability to breathe underwater. It was his striking transformation that led Karnak’s parents preventing him from going into the Terrigen Mist. However, he is unable to breathe on land, however a device was made that allows him to overcome this. Triton will be played by Mike Moh, though we shall see if the series will maintain his fishy exterior or go for a more mundane approach. Make up really isn’t that expensive to apply, though considering the various special effects needed to pull off the powers of the Inhumans may decide the fate of Triton’s appearance. Perhaps they’ll relegate him to a supporting role or even apply visual effects in place of make up.
Another unusual Inhuman, Auran is leader of Attilan’s royal guards, and will be played Sonya Balmores, whose most notable achievement til now is participating in the Miss Teen USA pageant. Seems quite ambitious and impressive of her to play a character with yellow skin and donkey ears. Auran’s ability to extensive hearing thanks to her peculiar ears. More specifically, her hearing allows her to choose any words, and when it is spoken, she will hear who said it and where it was spoken. Auran has had a minor role in the comic books, only debuting in 2014 as a detective of sorts.
Oh, boy! They’re even throwing in the giant, 2000-pound, teleporting, sometimes talking bulldog. Lockjaw definitely will be one of the stranger things added to the MCU since Rocket and Groot. Filming photos have shown that Lockjaw will presumably be CGI, but I’m curious how the immigrating Inhumans will hide a gigantic dog in Hawaii. Additionally, Lockjaw possesses “super canine” strength in his lower jaw, and can devour any form of matter without harm. This will definitely bring some hilarity to the proceedings if the series takes a more gloomier route in its plot.
Additionally, Ellen Woglom as been cast in a new, as-of-yet-unnamed role, namely a character who works for an aerospace company connected to the Moon. Presumably, this newcomer will act as both an audience representative, possibly similar to The Defenders’ Claire Temple. Whether or not any of the Inhumans introduced in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will make an appearance remains to be seen.
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