Last Friday, only a day after Marvel announced Ant-Man and The Wasp and their changed Phase Three plans, a rumor hit that that Inhumans was going to be removed from the release schedule. This was later debunked by other outlets, and until Marvel says otherwise, the film is still set to be released in 2019. This is likely pleasing news to a select group of fans, but for everyone else, they’re probably wondering what the big deal is. After all, Marvel has barely given any updates on this project’s progression, so what does it matter if a movie four years away doesn’t get made? To put it simply, not only has Marvel dedicated too much energy already in setting these characters up, but their overall presence is key to the MCU’s future.
As a basic refresher for the uninitiated, the Inhumans are a group of superpowered people that have lived on Earth for millennia. Their ancestors were humans experimented on by the Kree, to be weapons in their war against the Skrulls, and after the Kree abandoned the experiment and left Earth, these ancestors formed their own civilization in seclusion from the rest of the world. Unlike mutants, who are naturally gifted from birth, a person with Inhuman genes is empowered or transformed when exposed to the Terrigen Mist. Movie audiences were introduced to the Kree in Guardians of the Galaxy, but because Inhumans was the last movie revealed at Marvel’s original Phase Three announcement, it was assumed at first that there wouldn’t be any setup for them until several years down the line.
That changed last December during the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2’s midseason finale, when it was revealed that an artifact called the Obelisk actually contained a Terrigen crystal within. When lead character Skye (a.k.a. Daisy Johnson) and minor antagonist Raina were exposed to the Mist, their inner Inhuman abilities were awakened, while Skye’s teammate Tripp was petrified by the Obelisk's outer casing when its fragments struck him. In the second half of the season, Skye met more Inhumans, like her guide Lincoln Campbell and her birth mother Jiaying, the latter of whom led an Inhuman settlement called Afterlife. Season 3 of the ABC series is further exploring Inhumans as more of them emerge across the globe thanks to some pesky Terrigen crystal remnants finding their way into fish oil tablets. However, it’s the movie that will be able to unleash the Inhumans' full potential.
Right now, the Inhumans are filling the "naturally powered" void in the MCU. So far the only characters with special abilities in this franchise have either gained them through scientific means or because they’re an alien. In their current role, Inhumans on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are essentially serving as the MCU’s mutants, given that 20th Century Fox has the film rights to the X-Men. Here’s the thing: as hard as Marvel may try (both in the movies and the comics), the Inhumans can’t serve as simple mutant substitutes. Yes, they both have natural powers, but there are also significant societal differences.
The main Inhuman population in the hidden city of Attilan practices a caste system where once someone powers reveal themselves via the Terrigen Mist, they are assigned a place within the society that cannot be changed. Quite frankly, aspects of their life are just as alien as the extraterrestrials that have been visiting Earth, and while comic book storylines have been more lenient with these elements in recent years, it’s important they are eventually explored onscreen.
This brings us to the Inhumans movie. Although no plot details have been revealed yet, it’s a good bet the main characters will be the members of the Royal Family: ruler Black Bolt (who Vin Diesel is rumored to play), his wife Medusa, Crystal, Gorgon, Karnak, Triton, the teleporting dog Lockjaw, and their nemesis Maximus the Mad. Not only are all these people perfect for using in a blockbuster adventure, but it would be great to learn about a sect of Inhumans that’s more unusual than the ones seen in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s also the perfect opportunity to fully delve into how the Inhumans came to be, which has only been briefly touched upon on TV. Besides, as we all know, not everyone who enjoys the Marvel movies partakes in the TV shows, which makes it all the more important that the cinematic-only audience gets to meet the Inhumans and what they have to offer this grand universe.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is taking the time to establish the Inhumans, so Marvel scrapping the Inhumans movie would be a stupid movie both story wise and business wise. Featuring these unique beings on the big screen will open up new possibilities for the franchise in Phase Four while also peeling back layers of the MCU’s past. Above all, fans will need a welcome respite following Earth’s Mightiest Heroes defeating Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War Part II, and Inhumans can serve as an important, but self-contained, story/epilogue to Phase Three.