Anson Mount will not suit up in Black Bolt's comic costume in Marvel's Inhumans, as part of a larger effort to better ground the series. Sounds familiar to showrunner Scott Buck's other Marvel TV series, Iron Fist, right?
Mount was one of the first actors to join the ABC/Marvel/IMAX show, signing on for the series as its lead, Black Bolt - without even having to audition for the part thanks to his relationship with Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb. As the silent but deadly King of Atillan, Mount will have the chance to take on a new challenge in his acting career. Dating all the way back to his debut in the pages of Fantastic Four #45 in 1965, Black Bolt has been burdened with the decision to hardly ever use his voice. Thanks to its incredibly destructive abilities, this king cannot even whisper.
While it is his unique power set that helps him standout, in the comics it is also his traditional black and white suit (capped off with a tuning fork in his mask) that makes him so easily recognizable. Unfortunately, this classic suit will not be featured in the Inhumans TV show.
Screen Rant had the opportunity to visit the set of Inhumans earlier this year during production to get a look at the show and interview its cast members. When we had the chance to speak with Mount, he was asked specifically about dawning Black Bolt's unique costume, to which he discussed the decision to not wear the classic attire to try and ground the series:
Do you wear a costume? Is it similar to the costume in the comics? We’ve got to talk about it.
Dude, one of the tricks of this kind of adaptation from the graphic novel world to a live-action is to, you have to ground it. You have to ground it in a way that makes these characters more accessible to a viewing audience rather than a reading audience. It’s a colder medium. They are not participating. Even if the novel is graphic, it’s still a hotter medium. There are certain aspects of the character in the world that are a bit more grounded than what you’d see in the graphic novels, but, uh, I was about to make a brilliant side thought and it just left my head, but, it’ll come to me.
For fans of the character's comic look, especially that forehead tuning fork, this is undoubtedly disappointing news - but also some that is not surprising. Even though the Inhumans are some of the most fantastical characters in Marvel Comics, the show will be very different. Early set photos from Inhumans gave the first look at Black Bolt's grounded costume, but the Inhumans trailer and stills have provided better looks. The MCU version of Black Bolt still has the bolt pattern on his chest, but the lack of his head piece is noticeable and somewhat strange, even given Mount's explanation.
Keeping a mask with a tuning fork off Black Bolt or ditching the bright white stripes may fit the idea of grounding this property, but this is also Inhumans. The show will keep Medusa's wildly floating hair, have the group live on the moon, and features a giant teleporting dog in Lockjaw. None of these elements necessarily ground the series, and some would argue it would be best to let Inhumans be as weird as necessary, rather than play it safe to try and make the property accessible to more viewers.
At the end of the day, no matter how someone feels about Black Bolt having a modified costume for live-action, it will not be his look that makes or breaks the show. Hopefully, Mount's portrayal of the character will push aside any thoughts on how he dresses. If he and the rest of the cast can make the Inhumans world feel believable as the show takes advantage of the luxuries of IMAX, then maybe a more accurate costume could be in Black Bolt's future in the MCU.
Inhumans premieres in IMAX on September 1, and on ABC on September 29.