Inhumans was a rare, but enormous, misstep for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making growing indications the TV drama has been canceled by ABC utterly unsurprising. If you didn't witness the show's shortcoming firsthand, by now you've certainly read its autopsies, which point to shoddy production values -- from costumes to sets to special effects -- as the primary cause of death. Even IMAX, which partnered with Marvel and ABC, and gave the series premiere a limited theatrical release, acknowledged Inhumans wasn't up to snuff. Yet, some fans still hold out hope for a second season.
An online petition lobbying for ABC to give Inhumans a "soft reboot," with a new showrunner, has attracted more than 4,000 supporters who are, granted in the minority. Yet, there's little denying Marvel Comics' race of super-powered beings -- and, specifically, its Royal Family -- have great story potential; the Inhumans wouldn't have stuck around for more than 50 years, first as supporting players and then as stars in their own right, if they didn't.
While another season of Inhumans on ABC is highly unlikely (petitions or no), there are still opportunities for Marvel to explore the property's characters and themes on television. Here are two ways to give Black Bolt and the Royal Family a second chance at life.
Tie Into Marvel's Agents of SHIELD
The drama centered on the desire by the revolutionary Maximus to usurp the rule of his brother Black Bolt, and return the Inhumans from isolation on the lunar city of Attilan to Earth, where they can thrive. His military coup led the Royal Family to flee to Hawaii, before Black Bolt returned to reclaim the throne. But upon defeating Maximus, it was revealed he had a fail-safe implemented, where should he be killed, Attilan would be destroyed. In the season finale, Attilan did end up falling, but after Black Bolt marooned his brother there in a secret prison, the king managed to save his people by teleporting them to Earth to reside permanently.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the perfect place for the next chapter, as the ABC drama introduced the concept of Terrigenesis, Inhumans and NuHumans (humans who posessess Inhuman gene) to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and dealt with the alien Kree, which created the Inhumans through genetic experimentation. This season, Sals-Bek (a Kree assassin who tried to kill Black Bolt's inner-circle in the comics), is coming to AOS, thus laying the foundation for a potential war between both species, should they cross paths.
AOS can also address the Inhumans seeking haven on Earth. Under the terms of the Sokovia Accords, such super-powered refugees living on Earth without permission are viewed as dangerous. That may well attract the attention of Agent Coulson and his team, who have already embarked on alien adventures and would undoubtedly be looking to safeguard the planet from future cosmic threats. The sociopolitical nature of Inhumans as unwelcome migrants is also something we've read in the comics, in which Attilan and its inhabitants have tried to survive either in the Himalayas or with the entire base as a floating fortress.
Continue As An Animated Epic
Marvel fans have enjoyed animated series focusing on the likes of the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Spider-Men on Disney XD in recent years, but there hasn't been any cartoons directly connected to the MCU. An animated Inhumans could break such ground, allowing the narrative started on the live-action series to flourish without the budgetary constraints that hampered the original version.
There's a lot of story left to be told, and this animated approach would allow the creative team free rein to go grand when picking up plot threads like the fate of Maximus, why the Inhumans were created, and who were the enemies Black Bolt tried to protect them from.
An animated run could even adopt a mature approach, instead of coming off as too lighthearted in comparison to the Inhumans' previous appearances on cartoons like Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., or on Fantastic Four from the 1970s and '90s. That would also provide the MCU the perfect opportunity to compete with shows such as Star Wars Rebels, Voltron: Legendary Defender and Castlevania, cinematic cartoons that have set the kind of high standard fans have come to expect from the MCU.
Available for streaming on ABC.com, the eight-episode first season of Marvel's Inhumans stars Anson Mount as Black Bolt, Iwan Rheon as Maximus the Mad, Serinda Swan as Queen Medusa, Ken Leung as Karnak, Isabelle Cornish as Crystal, Eme Ikwuakor as Gorgon, Mike Moh as Triton and Sonya Balmores as Auran.