How Marvel's Inhumans is Adapting Karnak and Crystal

Marvel's Inhumans stars Ken Leung and Isabelle Cornish spoke to us about how their characters were influenced by the comic books when we visited Hawaii production earlier this year. Leung, who plays Karnak, and Cornish, who plays Crystal, explain how the source material influenced the characters as they're portrayed in the MCU.

From what we know of Marvel's Inhumans so far, it's become clear that Marvel is trying to smoothly place advanced and secretive people into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while at the same time finding a balance between that world and the world of the comics. Though color schemes and outfits are similar for most of the characters, Black Bolt's iconic comic book costume won't make an appearance, and actors Eme Ikwuakor (Gorgon), Sonya Balmores (Auran), and Iwan Rheon (Maximus) also pointed out to us the differences between the Inhumans comics and the TV series for their characters in the ABC-IMAX series.

Related: Who’s Who in Marvel's Inhumans Trailer

Liberties certainly must be taken to ground the show and make it fit the live-action atmosphere of the MCU. However, the creators of the show have managed to translate certain aspects of the comic book characters onto the screen accurately, including the otherworldly giant teleporting bulldog Lockjaw and Medusa's long, sentient-esque hair. In an interview with Screen Rant on the set of Inhumans, Ken Leung says that though they're creating their own world, he does look to the comics for reference - including Karnak's own series, which ran for six issues in 2015:

There’s a fine line there too because we are not strictly basing these characters on the comics. We are creating our own world but however, knowing that it exists, obviously I read them and kind of still do and I reference them from time to time just for a germ of something. So, for my part, I’d say the Karnak comics.

Isabelle Cornish spoke about the influence the comic books had on her character in the show:

I based Crystal a lot off the script and then created my own elements that I wanted to put into her. But I did also read the original comics too, which I found very useful, but we are definitely our own thing because I read the scripts and then I went back and looked at the comics and I realized how different we are and what bits we’ve taken from there, but we’ve also created this original show.

Since Crystal has changed drastically over the course of 50 years in Marvel history, outside of some interesting relationships, it's hard to say which books may be used for inspiration for this take. Considering her young age, we could see Crystal as she was presented in the 1960s Fantastic Four comics, when she was a teenage girl whose ties to the Inhumans interfered with her desire for a normal life. She later matured, married Quicksilver and became a mother. As a full-time member of the Avengers in the 1990s, Crystal was more involved in the superhero community than any of her fellow Inhumans at the time although in modern Marvel Comics lore, the publisher has included the Inhumans in a big way to various Avengers teams and major crossover events.


Karnak, on the other hand, has always been less concerned with the outside world than he is with the Inhumans themselves. Karnak believes in upholding order and respecting the long-established rules of the royal family. As an intellectual person who can see the weaknesses in anything, Karnak is generally portrayed as the logical one in the group, the one who applies reason when solving problems - unlike other characters who might be inclined to think with their hearts instead of their heads.

Next: Marvel’s Inhumans Trailer Breakdown

Inhumans premieres in IMAX on September 1, and on ABC on September 29.

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