Following a handful of leaks, the teaser trailer for Marvel’s Inhumans officially premiered earlier today, offering a glimpse at the conflict that splinters the Royal Family, sends Black Bolt and his allies fleeing to Earth, and places Maximus on the throne of Attilan.
It requires a good deal of setup, a heaping dose of drama and more than a little CGI. However, everything is relatively faithful to the Inhumans’ comic book roots, from Maximus’ schemes and Black Bolt’s destructive voice to Gorgon’s feet and everyone’s favorite teleporting canine. But Medusa’s hair? That’s another story.
Below CBR breaks down many of the key elements of the teaser trailer — people, places, things — and asks, “What’s in the box?”
From the Earth to the Moon
The trailer opens by juxtaposing images of Earth and its moon, immediately establishing the (apparent) roots of the discord within the Inhumans and their Royal Family. In Marvel Comics lore, the race of genetically altered humans originally lived on Earth in the technologically advanced city of Attilan, which was located for thousands of years in the North Atlantic before being moved in modern times to the Himalayas out of fear of discovery by humanity. When the Inhumans began to fall ill from pollution, their king Black Bolt transplanted Attilan to the Blue Area of the Moon, an artificial, Earth-like environment created millions of years earlier in a competition between the alien races the Kree and the Cotati.
In the footage, Black Bolt’s brother Maximus (played by Iwan Rheon of Game of Thrones) refers to Earth as “our rightful home,” suggesting elements of that backstory remain intact in the TV adaptation. His speech to the crowd also indicates their race may not be faring so well on the Moon. “If we were on Earth, we would have a glorious planet to live on,” he says, “thrive on!”
For the continuity-conscious, the lunar setting also would help to explain why, despite the Inhumans storyline on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., neither Attilan nor its Royal Family were mentioned on that series.
It’s a Family Affair
Already telegraphed in voiceover, the divide between Maximus and Black Bolt (Anson Mount of Hell on Wheels) is illustrated as most of the Inhumans Royal Family sits down for what looks to be an incredibly uncomfortable meal. To Black Bolt’s left, that’s Serinda Swan as Queen Medusa; Isabelle Cornish as Medusa’s sister Crystal; Maximus; Ken Leung as Black Bolt’s cousin Karnak and close adviser; and Eme Ikwuakor as another cousin, Gorgon.
There are a couple of Royals missing from the meal, but they show up later in the trailer.
Again we see the divide in what may be an Attilan temple, judging by the presence of the two hooded women in white. While we can theorize about their identities, the truly important element in this shot is Gorgon’s lower extremities: In keeping with the source material, Gorgon Petragon possesses the legs and hooves of a bull, a mutation resulting from exposure to the Terrigen Mists, a substance that imbues the Inhumans with superhuman abilities.
The voice of Iwan Rheon as Maximus Boltagon is heard throughout the trailer, in part because his brother Black Bolt is the strong and silent type, but also, no doubt because it’s the plotting of Maximus the Mad that lead to the show’s inciting act: the military coup and the escape to Earth.
The relationship between the two brothers goes well beyond sibling rivalry, as the mentally imbalanced Maximus sought in the comics to publicly humiliate and discredit Black Bolt from an early age. Black Bolt’s ascension of the Inhumans throne was followed swiftly by a vow from Maximus to end his rule, resulting in numerous coups (only some of which were successful, at least for a time). In the trailer, Maximus appears to be driven not so much of envy but by devotion to the Inhumans and a concern for their prosperity.
The King Stands Silent
Even those unfamiliar with Marvel’s Inhumans will get a sense from the trailer that it’s best not to be anywhere near Anson Mount’s Black Bolt when he speaks. Maximus asks, “Are we supposed to follow our king and remain as silent as he is?,” and then later taunts Black Bolt with, “Are you going to use your voice killing your only brother?” He panics when Black Bolt begins to open his mouth, only to be stopped by the swift intervention of Lockjaw.
So, yes, Black Bolt’s voice is dangerous, so much so that a mere whisper can level a city and awaken dormant volcanoes. That’s why the king remains silent.
The first image of Serinda Swan as Medusa received, let’s say mixed reactions from fans, as the Queen of Attilan’s signature red hair lay limp like, well, normal hair. However, as her name implies, Medusa isn’t “normal”; she possess the ability to control her hair. While it was widely presumed her prehensile locks would be added in post-production using CGI, the trailer shows no evidence of that.
In keeping with his comic book depiction, Ken Leung’s Karnak warns Black Bolt of the danger posed by Maximus. “You’re blind to his intentions,” he says. “Right or wrong, he’s dangerous.”
Unlike the other Inhumans, Karnak was never exposed to the Terrigan Mists and, therefore, never developed superhuman abilities. Instead, he became a master hand-to-hand combatant who can identity the weakness in virtually anything, and then exploit it. Here, he clearly detects the weak spot — or perhaps blind spot — in his king.
In the first good look at Medusa’s sister Crystal, played by Isabelle Cornish, she’s being escorted away by guards, presumably in the immediate aftermath of Maximus’ coup. The youngest of the Royals, she possesses the ability to psionically control earth, fire, water and air. Before Marvel Comics began raising the profile of the Inhumans in recent years, Crystal was among the best-known members of the Royal Family because of her associations with the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, and her marriage to Quicksilver.
The TV series manages to mimic the character’s comic book depictions with the horizontal black streaks in her hair.
On the Run
Absent from earlier promotional materials, Black Bolt’s cousin Triton (played by Mike Moh) is at last seen in the trailer, on the run in Hawaii with who appears to be actress Ellen Woglom. Although the name of her character hasn’t been revealed, Inhumans showrunner Scott Buck said she doesn’t originate in the comics, but rather was created for the series. She’s almost definitely human, though, and works at a private aerospace company.
Triton, as his name and appearance may suggest, is at home in the water. He was mutated by exposure to Terrigen Mists, gaining green scaly skin, a dorsal fin, membranes between his fingers and toes, and the ability to swim underwater at great speeds and depths.
Perhaps the most intriguing mystery of the teaser trailer is what’s in the box. (Go ahead, get the Seven reference out of the way.) Transported in this scene with a reverence reserved for the Ark of the Covenant, the box likely contains the Terrigen Mist, a natural mutagen, or the Terrigen Crystals that emit the vapor.
Exposure to the substance at an early age alters the biology of Inhumans, who often gain superhuman abilities. Terrigenesis will be a familiar concept to viewers of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., in which Terrigen Crystals played a prominent role in the second season.
Putting His Foot Down
Pursued on Earth, Eme Ikwuakor’s Gorgon displays the power of his legs and feet with a stomp that leaves a crater and creates a shock wave that knocks his pursuers off their feet. As we see, he’s skilled with his fists as well.
Black Bolt Speaks (OK, Grunts)
We’re provided with a glimpse of the destructive force of Black Bolt’s voice as he’s pursued by police in Honolulu. As he’s assaulted with batons, the Inhumans’ king is struck in the back, which causes him to involuntarily grunt. The resulting concussive wave hurls a police cruiser through the air, end over end, and down the street.
Awwww, Lockjaw …
Lockjaw is seen earlier in the trailer, teleporting Black Bolt from Attilan to a busy street in Honolulu, Hawaii, but he’s spotlighted in the final seconds, because Marvel knows what’s up: This CGI canine is going to be the breakout star of Inhumans.
Already beloved by many comic book fans, Lockjaw is the escort of the Royal Family, capable of teleporting about a dozen people at a time across great distances. His origins remain a mystery, so much so that it’s unclear whether he’s a dog with superhuman powers, perhaps bestowed by the Terrigen Mists, or an Inhuman in the form of a dog.
The first two episode of Inhumans will premiere Sept. 1 in IMAX theaters, followed by their broadcast debut Friday, Sept. 29, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
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