The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been expanding on film since 2008’s Iron Man effectively launched the sprawling shared world that has come to include The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. However, Marvel TV has additionally expanded a great deal since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premiered in 2013, especially in recent years as Netflix launched their street-level corner of the MCU. Although ABC had a second Marvel TV series in the form of Agent Carter, the network cancelled the show after two seasons. Now, ABC is again doubling down on its Marvel Comics content with the upcoming Inhumans television series.
With the show set to premiere at the start of the Fall 2017 television series, Marvel has been busy lately filling out the Inhumans main cast – which will be comprised of the Inhuman Royal Family. Game of Thrones‘ Iwan Rheon was cast as Maximus, Hell on Wheels‘ Anson Mount as Black Bolt, and most recently Graceland’s Serinda Swan as Medusa. Now, another member of the Royal Family has joined their ranks with the latest Inhumans casting news.
EW is reporting Ken Leung (Lost, The Night Shift) has joined the Marvel and ABC series in the role of Karnak. Marvel TV head and Inhumans executive producer Jeph Loeb spoke highly of Leung, saying, “Ken brings both a wisdom and a power to the role that no one else could match. His Karnak will be awesome.” Additionally, showrunner Scott Buck said of Leung, “Ken Leung has a great natural intelligence that reads clearly and will add depth and complexity to the very complicated character of Karnak.” Meanwhile, ABC issued a description of the Karnak character:
His gift is an ability to see the fault in all things – people, plans, structures, everything. He’s Black Bolt’s most ardent supporter and strategist and is often seen as the royal family’s planner and philosopher.
In addition to his drama chops, as displayed in both Lost and The Night Shift, Leung has plenty of experience in action roles – and has, in fact, appeared in a comic book property before, as Kid Omega in 20th Century Fox’s X-Men: The Last Stand. Plus, Leung is also no stranger to massive cinematic universes, having had a role in Disney and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, appearing as Admiral Statura.
In terms of Karnak Mander-Azur, he is unlike the other Inhuman Royal Family members since he has never been exposed to Terrigen Mist and, as a result, never developed extra powers through the process of Terrigenesis. He is, however, a skilled martial artist, a puzzle solver, and strategist. In 2015, Karnak received a solo Marvel Comics series, written by Warren Ellis with art by Jorge Zaffino. Based on the description of Karnak’s character in Inhumans, it appears much of the hero’s personality and skills will be adapted to the television series.
With Leung joining the cast of Inhumans, the series has officially solidified four members of the Royal Family, but it remains to be seen who else will join the show’s roster. Given Leung’s past work, it’s likely he’s the actor referred to in the recent report of a Lost star joining Inhumans, while previous rumors pointed to Gorgon and Crystal castings – though they’ve yet to be officially announced. Since the Inhumans cast is coming together, fans won’t have to wait much longer before the final roster is filled out and production will then begin on the show’s pilot. Still, with the series not set to debut until early September, fans still have quite a few months before they’ll get a chance to see these actors in costume as the Inhumans.
Inhumans comes to IMAX theaters for two weeks starting Labor Day weekend, prior to its television debut on September 26, 2017 on AMC.