Following his wicked turn as Ramsay Bolton on Game of Thrones, Iwan Rheon's name carries with it certain expectations when it comes to delivering a memorable villain. And though he returns to television in another antagonistic role, as Maximus in Marvel's Inhumans, the actor says his character is not just a one-dimensional villain but rather someone forced into a position of conflict in order to enact social change he deems necessary.
That change is at the heart of what drives the plot of Marvel's upcoming miniseries and television/IMAX experiment, as Maximus's coup of Attilan causes the Inhuman king Black Bolt to seek refuge on Earth, kicking off another yet another phase of Marvel's television universe. But while deposing a king who is also your brother might seem like the actions of a jealous, power-hungry mad man, Rheon warns viewers to not be too quick to judge.
While at San Diego Comic-Con 2017, Rheon and the rest of the Inhumans cast were on hand to discuss the upcoming event series and how their character dynamic essentially makes the conflict a familial one. But Rheon also says that he agrees with Maximus's point of view, as the character is essentially being ruthless in order to change a societal system he views as incredibly unjust.
"Maximus is a conflicted character. He loves his family on one side and he's incredibly loyal, but on the other side he believes now is the time for change. He's threatened that humanity is going to discover them. Black Bolt's idea of how to do it is very, very different how Maximus thinks they should deal with the situation, so they get the conflict between the two brothers. He's not evil; he doesn't want to hurt people he wants to resolve this peacefully. He's ruthless in his ideas, but he thinks this is the only way to do it and he may be right. His ideas about how he wants to change this archaic caste system where the people who get a rubbish power go and live in the mines and dig for all the rich people who have better powers. He thinks that's wrong and I agree with him. He's conflicted in the idea that he wants to save people, but the only way he can do it might be to clash with his own brother who's the king."
Rheon brings up an interesting detail about the society of the Inhumans, one that may have been unexpected for viewers, whether they are familiar with the characters and their story or not. The idea of a caste system based on, essentially, the luck of the draw when it comes to the abilities granted the people who call themselves Inhumans certainly presents the possibility of more complex storytelling than was first thought. Then again, if a "rubbish" power lands you in the mines, it might be interesting to know just how bad other people's powers have to be when a woman who can control her hair winds up being queen.
Marvel's Inhumans premieres in IMAX on September 1, the series begins on ABC on September 29.