At the end of last year we learned that, instead of the long-in-development feature film, Marvel’s Inhumans would be getting their own TV series, joining Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.—where the Terrigen mist-powered super-humans first appeared—on ABC. We know that the show will debut its first two episodes in IMAX theaters in September of this year, followed a few weeks later by its premiere on the small screen. Beyond that, however, there have been no real concrete details about the story or cast of the show.
That changes now, as we’ve gotten an exclusive look at the casting breakdowns for the principle members of the Inhumans cast. While the characters were all given nondescript placeholder names in the breakdowns, if you know your comics it’s clear that they’re describing the Inhumans Royal Family. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise; since the Royal Family were the intended stars of the Inhumans movie, we’ve all been expecting that this would remain the case for the series. These breakdowns just give us the opportunity to officially confirm which characters we’ll be seeing on the show.
To see exactly how the characters are described in the breakdowns, check out the video at the top of the page, where Joe and Javier run through them and figure out which Inhuman is actually being described. Here, let’s go a bit more in-depth on the background of the Royal Family members and how they might work in the show.
(First, a brief historical note about all of the characters we’ll be looking at here. The Inhumans and the characters that comprise the Royal Family were all created by the duo of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, and made their various first appearances between Fantastic Four issues 36-47.)
Black Bolt is the king and ultimate ruler of the Inhumans, and one of the most powerful characters in the entire Marvel universe. His voice, even at a whisper, creates a sonic shockwave capable of leveling buildings. As a result, Black Bolt never speaks, lest he lay waste to everything and everyone in his path.
Vin Diesel, the voice of Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy, was long rumored to be playing Black Bolt when Inhumans was still planned as a movie. Now that it’s moved to TV, a medium much less dependent on A-list star power to pull in viewers, the non-verbose nature of the character means Marvel Television has the latitude to cast anybody from a Diesel-level star to a complete unknown. All they really need is someone who can manage to look imposing in a onesie with a tuning fork on its forehead, which come to think of it might not actually be an easy task.
Medusa is queen of the Inhumans and Black Bolt’s wife. Before marrying as adults, she and Black Bolt spent a large portion of their childhood together, to the point where they’re so intimately connected that Medusa is able to expertly read Black Bolt’s body language. Since Black Bolt can’t talk, Medusa is forced to act as his interpreter, a role that—despite her love for her husband—she frequently chafes in, as it often prevents her from speaking for herself or having her own opinions taken seriously by the people around her.
Medusa’s super power is her hair. She is able to completely control her the growth and movement of every strand of hair, frequently portrayed in the comics as numerous whip- or tentacle-like strands. It’ll be interesting to see how crazy the show gets with this effect, given a TV level VFX budget. My last notable experience with CG hair—Amy Adams in the climactic moments of Arrival—didn’t make a strong impression, and that was on a much smaller scale than Medusa’s hair will have to be.
Maximus is Black Bolt’s younger brother. He’s basically the Loki of the Inhumans. He’s an extremely smart, gifted inventor, and frequently serves as an antagonist for the Inhumans as he tries to usurp his brother’s place on the throne. Expect him to serve a similar role on the show. His powers are psychically based: a limited form of mind control, along with inducing amnesia and exchanging consciousness.
Karnak is Black Bolt’s cousin, and Medusa’s chief advisor. Trained extensively in the martial arts, Karnak’s Inhuman power is the ability to see the weak points in anything, both living organisms and objects. He then uses his keen strategic mind to exploit those weaknesses with maximum effectiveness.
There’s no mention in Karnak’s casting breakdown that the character will require significant makeup effects, so I’ll be interested to see if they go with the elongated head design he has in the comics, which you can see in the above image. It’s not really necessary, though (at least not to me; not a die-hard nitpicky Inhumans fan here), so the show can get along just fine without it if it makes things easier.
Gorgon is the heavy hitter of the Royal Family, and another one of Black Bolt’s cousins. As the breakdown suggests, he’s an impulsive guy with a short temper. You may have noticed by now that these characters all fit into pretty well-established archetypes, and Gorgon is no exception. He’s also got goat legs like a satyr, so I guess that’s cool.
His power is that he can stomp his goat legs real hard and create earthquakes. He’s basically a less versatile Quake, although he does also have general enhanced strength, as well. Honestly, I’m not particularly enamored of Gorgon, and anticipate the character being the weak link in the ensemble of the show. (those goat legs tho)
Crystal is Medusa’s sister and, in my opinion, has the best powers out of the Royal Family: she can manipulate the four elements. She’s the Avatar of the Inhumans, basically. Maybe not the most original powerset, like Medusa’s hair stuff, but I’m a sucker for the classics and it’s a very versatile and visually dynamic powerset, which makes it perfect for a TV show.
In the comics, Crystal is married to Quicksilver at one point. Obviously Quicksilver is dead in the MCU, but even if he had made it out of Age of Ultron alive, given how reluctant Marvel Studios seems to be to do anymore direct crossovers with the TV shows, I doubt we’d ever have gotten the chance to see that storyline happen. Come to think of it, Crystal married Ronan the Accuser in the War of Kings storyline in the comics, and he’s dead in the MCU, too. I have no point here, just some interesting trivia.
And lastly, we have Triton. As noted in the breakdown, this character will involve extensive special effects makeup, which makes sense considering—as you can see from the picture—he’s a frigging fish dude. He’s also Karnak’s brother and, like Karnak, Gorgon, Crystal and even Medusa, Black Bolt’s cousin.
His powers are being a water guy. He can breathe underwater and swim real good. In fact, the Terrigen Mists turned him into such an aquatically oriented being that he can no longer breathe air, and will actually weaken and die pretty quickly if he’s not in physical contact with water.
Triton’s inclusion in the lineup is actually a telling detail. We know from the announcement of the series that portions of The Inhumans will take place on the Moon. Now, thanks to Triton, we can assume that the breadth of settings the show will encompass will stretch from outer space all the way to the depths of the sea.
While these seven characters will comprise the principle cast of The Inhumans—and we don’t have any additional information about what to expect from the show beyond these breakdowns—it’s safe to say that they probably won’t be the only prominent Inhuman characters from the comics that we’ll see, especially if the show runs for more than one season. I’d like to take this opportunity to put forth my own number one desire for a character I really, really hope shows up at some point, and I bet I’m not alone in this desire:
Lockjaw, the giant, teleporting, mustachioed bull-dog with a tuning fork on his head. I mean, come on. If we live in a world where people will embrace Rocket Raccoon and Groot, then we can totally have Lockjaw.
Which member of the Royal Family are you most looking forward to seeing brought to life when The Inhumans hits IMAX screens in September? Are there any other characters you’re hoping will show up? Let us know in the comments.