When Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. introduced the Inhumans in Season 2, it was only a select group of individuals who were having their abilities awakened by Terrigen, and their existence was a mystery from the general population. Thanks to that substance getting into fish oil tablets in the Season 2 finale, now regular people across the world have undergone Terrigenesis and are discovering their new powers. As both the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and the rest of the world deal with new Inhumans, viewers are going to learn more about what their purpose is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 continues, series star Clark Gregg told TV Insider that the philosophy behind why the Inhumans exist will be explored in upcoming episodes. As he put it:
There are [Inhumans] who were students of Jiaying, Daisy's mom, who feel that it's a fabric and that they are all complementary and that they're meant to fulfill some unified effort. And suddenly there are people who are Inhumans who are very dangerous, and [other Inhumans] are the only way to deal with them. It puts Daisy in a very uncomfortable position and it creates an 'us' and 'them' vibe on the team that puts every character in a complex position.
Despite the changed status quo in Season 3, there are conflicting viewpoints among the folks on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. about what the Inhumans are meant to do/be. Daisy Johnson is bringing Inhumans into the Secret Warriors to help keep Earth safe, while Gideon Malick, Hive and HYDRA want to use them for their own sinister purposes. Then there’s Lash, a.k.a. Andrew Garner, who, despite being an Inhuman himself, believes that this entire group of humanity needs to be eliminated. As the previews for upcoming episodes have shown, there’s going to be a lot of in-fighting.
Just like in the comics, the MCU’s Inhumans came into being thousands of years ago when the Kree (the same alien species seen in Guardians of the Galaxy) visited Earth. The intention was to genetically modify humans and use them as soldiers in their war, a process they’d completed on other planets. However, before these experiments could be completed, another faction of Kree shut the project down, and eventually all of them left. These humans then passed their altered genes across generations, and the result was the Inhumans, whose powers could only be activated by the Terrigen Mist. The Afterlife settlement was created as a haven for the Inhumans who had powers, while those hadn’t gained abilities yet could either live there or go about their regular lives. Of course, now it’s not as easy for them to stay hidden.
In addition to what’s happening on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., there’s also an Inhumans movie coming in 2019, which is suspected to feature the Attilan Royal Family. While it remains to be seen whether the movie will directly reference what’s been happening with the Inhumans on TV (frankly, it’d be a weird decision not to), the world’s changed now that the Inhumans are publicly known, so viewpoints will continue to differ on how to deal with them.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. kicks off the latter half of Season 3 tonight at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.