Rumours are flying right now that Marvel is planning an Inhumans film, after Vin Diesel teased mention of the group on Facebook. Now, Marvel tends to develop stories for virtually all its properties and then only moves ahead when they’re 100% happy with what’s on the page, so this is no confirmation of a release. But at the very least it shows that the Inhumans are on the list of possible films, and one of the more obscure titles there. So what or who are the Inhumans? And what can we expect from a film about them? We bring you the basic facts, and speculate wildly on how the movie might work…
A million or so years ago, when mankind was still learning to use pointy rocks to cut things, two alien races had a massive war. The Kree (think Ronan the Accuser in Guardians Of The Galaxy) and the Skrull (think Avengers’ Chitauri, but don’t tell the Skrulls we said so) engaged in a conflict that ranged across the galaxy, with the Kree establishing a strategic base on Uranus (hur hur) during that time. The Kree examined prehistoric Earth and spotted that primitive man had immense genetic potential thanks to the tinkering of another ancient race, the Celestials (Knowhere in Guardians, the gigantic skull habitat, is built in the severed head of a long dead Celestial. They’re big). So the Kree decided to make like the giant guys, and spliced DNA from the Celestial-created Eternals – try to keep up – to create the Inhumans. Despite creating superpowered beings in this way, they abandoned the experiment and went on their merry way, leaving the Inhumans to form their own society on Earth.
SO THEY’RE MUTANTS?
Not technically, more a distinct species that’s an offshoot of humanity. But helpfully, they use a Terrigen mist that can give a normal Inhuman – who is merely much stronger and longer-lived than even the strongest human – honest-to-goodness superpowers. It’s this mist that gave their biggest names their powers, which are many and varied (we’ll get to those). If those wide-ranging powers make them something of a substitute for the X-Men in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, well, we imagine that's just a bonus. It's also worth noting that they have a highly stratified society that gives the royal family enormous authority, in contrast with human royalty, and immense physical gifts, also in contrast to human royalty.
WHERE DO THEY LIVE?
Their home, Attilan, is a much-moved city that was originally built as a refuge from humanity on a small island south of Iceland. When humans developed such pesky technologies as radar and flight, the Inhumans used anti-gravity to move the entire city to the Himalayas – and when even that proved insufficiently remote, they relocated to the ‘Blue Area’ of the moon, a place where – for reasons far too long and complicated to get into – there’s a breathable atmosphere and Earth-friendly gravity. Don’t even worry about it. None of the Inhumans are great at dealing with Earth pollution these days, so long spells on the planet tend to make them sick.
The Inhumans first appeared in a Fantastic Four comic of 1965, so they’ve been around for a while. They have had their own comics on occasion – in 1975, in 98-99 and most recently in 2003-4 – but never quite made the Marvel A-list. Still, their combination of super-powers, interesting internal politics and weirdo looks meant that they have regularly cropped up in the wider Marvel universe, variously fighting or allying themselves with heroes like the Fantastic Four, Avengers, Silver Surfer and the X-Men. They tend to turn up when things get seriously cosmic in scope - and since the Marvel Cinematic Universe has just expanded further into the cosmos with Guardians, perhaps now is the right time to talk about them.
NAME SOME NOTABLE INHUMANS
Let’s go through the most notable members of the tribe which basically means, meet the Inhuman royal family. And their super-dog.
1. Black Bolt
His real name, marvellously, is Blackagar Boltagon. He’s been the Inhuman King for some time now and was responsible for moving Attilan from its original location. Due to a voice that can destroy planets with his "quasi-sonic scream", he has trained himself not to make a sound and communicates with his wife telepathically, letting her do the talking. By turning the force of his voice inwards (eh?) he can power himself up, helping him to fly or punch people really hard.
A distant cousin of Black Bolt but also his wife – royalty, eh? – Medusalith Amaquelin Boltagon was previously afflicted with amnesia and wandered the world earning her living as a thief, where she tangled with the Fantastic Four among others. She has immensely long, extremely strong, psionically-controlled hair. Yes, really. It can be used for brute force, like a whip, or to pick locks. Eat your heart out, Rapunzel.
3. Maximus The Mad
The bad sheep of the royal family, Blackagar’s brother has a less-than-stable personality, as you can probably tell by that title. Problem is that he’s also gifted with considerable mind-control powers, a genius-level intellect and a hunger for the throne. He should be pen pals with Loki, basically.
Medusa’s sister Crystallia Amaquelin briefly became Crystallia Amaquelin Maximoff in the comics after marrying Quicksilver, but that was annulled and now she’s been married off to a familiar Kree so is presumably known as Crystallia Amaquelin The Accuser. She can manipulate the four elements of earth, air, fire and water, and has been a member of both the Fantastic Four and Avengers.
Like a superpowered Mr Tumnus, the powers that Gorgon acquired thanks to the Terrigen Mist left him with hooves that he can stamp to ground-shaking effect. A cousin of Black Bolt, Gorgon’s super-strong and tough, but also possibly a little silly looking. No offence, dude.
Another cousin, Triton’s exposure to the Mist left him unable to survive outside of water but perfectly adapted to the dark and pressure of the deeps. He now has breathing apparatus for everyday land use, but he’s still something of a cold fish (sorry). Think Abe Sapien in terms of looks, a mutation so extreme that his parents forbade his younger brother from being exposed to the Terrigen Mist.
Triton’s younger brother never underwent the Terrigenesis process and therefore remains a benchmark for Inhuman-normal. That said, he’s an accomplished martial artist and stronger than any human so he is still not to be messed with, and he has an uncanny ability to sense other’s weak points.
So, yeah, Lockjaw is a large bulldog. He has very strong jaws, as the name implies, and even The Thing can’t get him to let go of his arm once he’s engaged them. But, er, basically a big dog. He can eat non-organic matter, which is handy if you’re ever attacked by evil robots or whatever, and is also able to teleport, so presumably takes himself for walkies.
WHAT MIGHT THEY DO ONSCREEN?
Well, that remains to be seen. The Marvel writer who has written the current script draft is Joe Robert Cole, whose only released film to date was a Rashomon-style thriller about three half-sisters – which doesn’t give us much to go on.
On the face of it, the alien(ish) civilisation / royal family thing might seem a little too close to Thor, but presumably it can be designed differently. Perhaps a human mountain-climber will find the Inhuman civilisation high in the Himalayas; perhaps they’ll play with the Medusa-goes-missing plot to bring humans and Inhumans together (and would that involve a female lead? In a Marvel movie? The dream is alive!).
If Vin Diesel is to be trusted (and he's teased us all before), he would presumably be playing Black Bolt - a neat solution to the fact that his voice is already associated with another Marvel character in Groot, since ol' King Boltagon can't afford to speak much. Christina Hendricks might make a good Medusa - hey! She's a red-head and she'd be an interesting match for Diesel - while Billy Zane has been suggested as Maximus online, which is at least amusing. You need someone big and hulking as Gorgon, some thinner and a bit more lithe as Triton and a gifted martial artist as Karnak. Beyond that, it's wide open to interesting casting - give us your suggestions below!