It’s never been easy being an Inhuman, but these days, it seems worse than ever for them. Marvel’s Inhumans, the most maligned property the Marvel Cinematic Universe has released, is soon nearing its end. With the fifth episode of the 8-part ‘event’ series posting its lowest ratings yet, the prospect of second season looks bleak for the Inhumans’ Royal Family (but not necessarily impossible). In episode 5, ‘Something Inhuman This Way Comes’, the Royal Family, which had been banished from their lunar city of Attlian and scattered across the island of Oahu, finally reunited and declared their intention to get revenge on Maximus (Iwan Rheon). Regardless, Inhumans‘ fate is sealed with most fans who have long since abandoned the series. Marvel fans are already sweeping Inhumans under the rug, but can Marvel itself do the same?
Let’s not sugar coat it: Inhumans is a failure. It’s a failure creatively, it’s a failure in ratings (in an admittedly difficult Friday night slot), and unlike Iron Fist, the previous effort from Inhumans‘ showrunner Scott Buck, Inhumans doesn’t even take advantage of its connection to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to help prop it up like Iron Fist does The Defenders – at least, it hasn’t yet. The Marvel Studios films have had some underwhelming efforts relative to their massive and beloved hits, but none have been the epic disaster the Marvel Television division now has on its hands, which is even worse than Iron Fist. However Inhumans wraps up its story, in the real world, the story is what becomes of the property now. The Inhumans remain a major part of Marvel’s publishing plans and will continue to play a large role in the comics, but in terms of the MCU, where do the Inhumans go from here – if anywhere?
The word “Inhumans” has never been uttered by anyone in a Marvel movie, and it looks like it’ll stay that way. When asked about it, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige cannily dodges questions about Inhumans, which was at one time slated as one of his film projects for 2019, while another architect of the cosmic side of the MCU, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, has indicated he doesn’t see much in the way of salvaging Inhumans. While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has the Inhumans locked into its DNA for however long it will continue to air on ABC, in terms of the MCU films, the Inhumans essentially do not exist and likely will never exist. Even though the MCU films share the alien Kree race, the Inhumans’ progenitors, with Marvel Television, the Kree in the movies never mention their superpowered creations. As a business move, this is smart – it keeps the taint of the Inhumans mess far away from the movies. The message seems to be: Inhumans is Marvel TV’s embarrassment, not Marvel Studios’.
Instead, Marvel Studios is merrily marching onward with a rapid expansion of their outer space characters and concepts. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 introduced the golden-skinned Sovereign race and Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russell), while Thor: Ragnarok takes fans to the planet Sakaar and introduces far-out Marvel beings like the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), one of the ancient Elders of the Universe. When Thanos makes his play for the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Infinity War, he’ll bring the alien monsters called The Children of Thanos with him. The shape-shifting Skrulls are also set to make their movie debut in 2019’s Captain Marvel, which is expected to depict an MCU version of the classic Avengers story ‘The Kree-Skrull War’. This means the Kree will continue to play a role in Marvel movies as well. Feige, Gunn and the braintrust at Marvel Studios are currently mapping out the future of the MCU on Earth and in outer space in Phase 4 and beyond.
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