A few months back, news of an Inhumans film was finally laid to rest as Marvel announced the characters would be getting their own show on ABC in the fall. The Inhumans would, however, still be heading to theaters. Thanks to a new partnership with IMAX, the first two episodes of the series will be filmed in the format and shown at cinemas before moving to television.
A recent casting description has since confirmed the show will focus on the core characters of the Inhuman Royal Family. There have even been rumors that Queen Medusa, along with a few other Inhumans, may have already been cast. So far, nothing official has been revealed about the actors taking on the roles, but that all changed today.
Word broke earlier that Game of Thrones star Iwan Rheon has been cast as Maximus the Mad, brother to the ruler of the Inhumans. The news is already being met as a stellar piece of casting, and we couldn’t agree more that Rheon is perfect for Maximus.
Who Is Maximus?
Premiering in 1966’s Fantastic Four #47 and created by the all-star team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Maximus is the younger son of Agon and Rynda and the brother to Blackagar Boltagon. While still a young child, Maximus went through the process of Terrigenesis that grants Inhumans their powers. Already possessing a gifted mind, the Terrigen Mists slowly augmented his abilities, granting him a variety of psychic powers.
Whether because of his powers or in spite of them, Maximus is shown to be erratic and prone to antisocial behavior. He’s often presented as wildly unstable, which prevents him from fully utilizing his incredible gifts. While this is likely for the best, given his often nefarious inclinations, he’s still fully capable of bending others to his will and even erasing their memories. On top of that, he’s constantly inventing new forms of technology and creating a variety of weapons to aid in his schemes.
As the Inhumans generally lean towards the side of good and Maximus clearly has love for his brother and family, his proclivities have often made him a villain. Like Loki to Thor, this has forged a contentious relationship between Maximus and Black Bolt, and much of the Inhuman Royal Family doesn’t trust him.
Marvel’s Ramsay Bolton
At this point, it should be pretty clear not only why Rheon was cast in the role, but why fans are so excited. Still, it’s a boon to the series and marks Marvel’s attempts to bring the prestige of their Netflix shows to cable. While they’ve certainly cast known names in television projects before, Rheon’s singular turn on Game of Thrones makes him quite the draw for the series as it looks to distinguish itself amongst the many comic book series out now.
Given the relative obscurity of the names rumored for Inhumans so far, and the fact that Black Bolt by nature can’t utter a word without causing untold devastation, it looks like Marvel may be positioning Rheon as the lead of the series. It’s a smart move, as Maximus by far has the most complex and compelling personality out of the entire Royal Family. Just as Loki has been hailed as one of Marvel’s best villains, Maximus will present a similarly multifaceted rogue.
As Ramsay Bolton, Rheon proved that he could make the audience squirm and play a character who possibly rivals Joffrey in terms of fan hatred. Though the series made a few small attempts to shade Ramsay by showing how his bastard status filled him with an intense need to belong, it also never shied away from showing just how much of a monster he was. Even without everything he put the often despicable Theon through, his treatment of Sansa alone makes him irredeemable. That’s not even touching on his brutal murder of his mother-in-law and newborn brother.
Still, the appeal of Ramsay as a character was Rheon's intense charisma and magnetism, despite all of his character's atrocities. While Maximus will likely be shown to be far less immoral than Ramsay, Rheon will need to channel much of the young Bolton’s nature in his portrayal of the Inhuman.
The Key to Maximus’ In-Humanity
Long before Rheon was cast in Game of Thrones, he’d already proven himself as a capable actor able to tackle a truly complex role. While many will look to Ramsay for why Rheon was cast as Maximus, it’s his time on Misfits that actually speaks volumes about him as a performer.
Premiering in the UK in 2009, the show found success in the States after it was picked up by Hulu. It followed the story of a group of juvenile delinquents who are gifted extraordinary powers while doing community service. The dark comedy offered a hilarious and nuanced look at what average teenagers would do if they were actually granted amazing powers, and Rheon’s Simon was the heart of the group.
Like Maximus, Simon is shown to be socially awkward and many fear the darkness he clearly has under the surface. He’s actually quite sweet at heart, but his powers bring him into conflict with himself and others. Capable of turning invisible, seeing the future, and time traveling at various points in the series, he wants desperately to be a hero; he can’t help using his abilities selfishly and even violently at times. As the show progresses, however, he becomes a full-fledged superhero, and gains confidence in the process. It’s an incredible journey for the actor, and the role that certainly landed him a spot on Game of Thrones. It’s also a part Rheon will surely be pulling from as he works to craft his own version of Maximus the Mad.
Over the years, Maximus has been made to be more of an antihero than a straight villain. With an actor of Rheon’s popularity and caliber in the role, it’s clear that Marvel and ABC are hoping to develop a complicated character who walks the line between antagonist and protagonist. While we still don’t know much about Inhumans, the casting of Rheon is a positive sign that Marvel may have another powerful hit series on its hands.
Inhumans comes to IMAX theaters for two weeks starting Labor Day weekend, prior to premiering on television September 26, 2017 on ABC.