The look of Marvel's Inhumans could have been radically different, based on concept art for the show's costumes. Long before Inhumans premiered to bad reviews, fans were worried about the effort being put into the series. After being changed from a film to a TV show, the narrative and character possibilities seemed intriguing. Worries quickly arose about the budget for a series that would involve moon bases, teleporting dogs, and part-alien royalty. Sadly, the first cast photo from Inhumans seemed to confirm everyone's worst fear: that the show would look cheap.
Despite the Marvel name and the backing of IMAX, Inhumans has been widely criticized for having subpar production design. From drab costumes to uninspired effects to the relatively tame look of Attilan, Marvel's usual panache is missing from the TV show. This has led to claims that the show must have been rushed through development (for whatever reasons), seeing as it fails to live up to Marvel's pedigree. Now, we have a look at how things could have differed, as well as another hint that production was indeed rushed.
Marvel comics artist Max Brooks posted the following concept art that he designed for the costumes on Inhumans. Right away, it's clear that the TV series could have looked much more vibrant and grandiose, had Brooks' designs been used. Focusing on Crystal, Karnak, and Auran, we see echoes of the original comics, alongside a hybrid of the old and new for the royal garb of the elite Inhumans (see below).
Costume designs I did for the Inhumans TV show. Done months ago during preproduction when ideas are thrown around before the producers decide on their final look. Only had 2 days to produce these so they're were done quick and dirty. #Inhumans #Marvel #MarkBrooks
Crystal's costume on the show is arguably the closest to the comics, but her designs certainly play up her role as a princess. The outfits in the comics for the royal family are more superhero costumes than clothing befitting regents, but Brooks' designs lean into the exalted position these characters hold. Auran's look does the same, and we also see variations of her signature yellow skin and floppy ears that were nixed for her TV appearance. In fact, almost nothing remains of the character Auran from the comics in Inhumans.
Karnak's look is perhaps the most intriguing. It borrow shades from his more recent look in the comics, while adding elements of the quasi-spiritual role he now holds. The overall approach gives him a mystical look that perfectly fits with his ability to see the flaw in all things. Sadly, the show version settles for some muted green leathers that hardly separate the character from other Inhumans.
It's also worth noting Brooks' caption about how rushed he was with these designs. Though he did some stellar work in the short amount of time, it hints at the issues Inhumans had behind the scenes. As a result, the final look of the show doesn't appear to have gone through the typical Marvel vetting process. If we're lucky, perhaps these outfits will show up if Inhumans ever lands a second season.
Marvel’s Inhumans continues tonight with 'Something Inhuman This Way Comes...' at 9pm on ABC.
Source: Max Brooks