Warning! SPOILERS ahead for Marvel's Inhumans!
Marvel Television President Jeph Loeb has long boasted that when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe series, "It's all connected." Despite the gap between the MCU TV series and the feature films from Marvel Studios, what happens in the latter affects the former. This is even moreso the case where the various TV series are concerned. Despite the absence of crossovers between the ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the various Netflix series about The Defenders members and soon The Punisher, it all takes place within the MCU.
Marvel's Inhumans has arrived in IMAX theaters, with the first two chapters of the eight episode series combined into one 75 minute feature called "The First Chapter," before it premieres on ABC on September 29th. Originally earmarked as a feature film series to join The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, Inhumans was repurposed to join the Marvel Television lineup. The concept of the Inhumans has already been introduced to Marvel fans via its sister series on ABC, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which has largely been centered around the concept of Inhumans for its four aired seasons. The most prominent Inhuman thus far in the MCU has been Agent Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet), who discovered she was Inhuman in season 2 and assumed the codename Quake. Meanwhile, fans have waited to see the Royal Family of the Inhumans, who were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the pages of Fantastic Four back in the 1960s, in the MCU - and that day has finally arrived.
Marvel's Inhumans formally introduces the Inhumans Royal Family: their mute king Black Bolt (Anson Mount), their queen Medusa (Serinda Swan), Karnak (Ken Leung), Crystal (Isabelle Cornish), Maximus (Iwan Rheon), and their giant teleporting dog Lockjaw. The series depicts a power struggle within the Royal Family, where Maximus - Black Bolt's human younger brother - leads a coup to take over the Inhuman city of Attilan on the moon. Before this, however, Inhumans syncs itself up to the events that have previously occurred in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
HOW IT'S ALL CONNECTED
Inhumans begins with a new Inhuman girl being hunted by soldiers through the forests of Oahu, Hawaii. Before she is killed, she runs into Triton (Mike Moh), a member of the Inhumans Royal Family. Triton reveals that he has come specifically to rescue her, telling her tidbits of how he'd come from a place called Attilan where Inhumans live safely. Unfortunately, the soldiers descend upon them and attack. The girl is killed, while Triton is chased through the forest and shot before he's able to dive off a cliff to the safety of the ocean. Later, Maximus is informed on his commlink that Triton was killed. Maximus interrupts the rest of the Royal Family at dinner to inform them that Triton was killed by humans. It's revealed that Triton was sent to Earth by Black Bolt on a secret mission to find other Inhumans who were created by the 'contamination.' This is in reference to the events at concluded Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2.
In S.H.I.E.L.D., after Agent Skye discovered she was an Inhuman with earthquake powers named Daisy Johnson, she and S.H.I.E.L.D. worked to stop a group of Inhumans led by her mother Jiaying (Dichen Lachman) to use a Quinjet to spread Terrigen around the world, which would simultaneously kill all humans while creating new Inhumans. Daisy used her powers to crash the Quinjet into the ocean; unbeknownst to her or S.H.I.E.L.D., the Terrigen seeps into the ocean and becomes absorbed into the ecosystem and marine life. Soon, Terrigen ends up in fish oil pills and other things ingested by humans. This 'contamination' helped spread Terrigen around the world. and sparked the manifestation of new Inhumans everywhere.
Even though they are sheltered on the moon in their own closed off society, Inhumans shows that the Royal Family have access to human television news broadcasts, and are thus aware of the events unfolding on Earth, at least in terms of the creation of new Inhumans. As Inhumans have become more and more common on Earth for a few years now, Black Bolt has taken it upon himself to try to rescue some of the new Inhumans and have them brought to Attilan.
However, no one else in the Royal Family (except perhaps Medusa, this is unclear) was aware that Black Bolt had sent Triton to Earth to start saving the Inhumans being born there. As there is no indication that there have already been new Inhumans brought to Attilan in "The First Chapter", it seems like this was Triton's first rescue attempt, which failed miserably. (We later learn it failed because of Maximus, who already knew about it and was in communication with the soldiers who hunted down and shot Triton.) The revelation that their king was keeping such a huge secret from them sparked a schism in the Royal Family and a breach of trust and confidence in Black Bolt, which Maximus uses to his advantage when he launches his coup.
S.H.I.E.L.D. is never mentioned by name in "The First Chapter," and Inhumans has already been announced as a standalone series that will have no crossover with its sister series on ABC, though showrunner Scott Buck (Iron Fist) has indicated a crossover of some sort could materialize in the future. It's far more likely the events of Inhumans will be referenced in some way during the upcoming 5th season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. However, it's truly unfortunate that Inhumans in its current run won't benefit from Black Bolt, Medusa and Karnak rubbing shoulders with Agents Daisy Johnson, Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). Considering where and in how much trouble the closing moments of "The First Chapter" leaves the Royal Family after Maximus takes over Attilan, it's already obvious the Inhumans could use a big assist from S.H.I.E.L.D. and need all the help they can get.
Marvel's Inhumans is in IMAX theaters on September 1st and premieres on ABC @ 9pm on September 29th.