Disney's Fox Buyout Will Effectively Kill the Inhumans
One of the reasons why Marvel's efforts to push the Inhumans as an X-Men substitute failed was that Fox hasn't let the X-Men movie rights go to waste. Bryan Singer's X-Men, along with Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, marked the beginning of what would eventually become the comic book movie renaissance that today has come to completely dominate Hollywood. It was a bold, memorable, and effective introduction of the superhero team for mainstream audiences, many of whom hadn't before encountered the idea of superheroes as a persecuted group. It may be almost two decades old, but X-Men still holds up as a cornerstone of modern superhero cinema - not to mention simply being a great movie.
Comic book fans actually make up a relatively tiny segment of the audience for comic book movies. Because of this, Marvel tinkering with the Inhumans and trying to phase out the X-Men within the comics had virtually no impact on the popularity of the X-Men within mainstream audiences. X-Men: Days of Future Past, which was released amid Marvel's most concentrated efforts to downplay the X-Men in comics, became the series' highest-grossing movie worldwide.
With the Disney-Fox deal only recently approved, it's currently unclear how the X-Men will be folded into Marvel Studios' existing mega-franchise. It's possible (though unlikely) that Marvel may even decide to keep the X-Men separate and continue with the established universe. One thing is certain: Disney won't wait long to cash in on such a successful and well-known franchise that already has a lot of momentum, with X-Men: Dark Phoenix, New Mutants and (supposedly) Gambit all coming out next year. Moreover, Marvel Comics no longer needs to keep the X-Men suppressed in order to avoid promoting a rival studio's franchise, which means we'll see a resurgence of X-Men in the comics and, concurrently, the Inhumans will be phased out. In fact, that process has already begun.
Death of the Inhumans & Return of Wolverine
The recently-launched Death of the Inhumans comic event has already started to shake things up, killing off eleven thousand and thirty-eight (and counting) members of the Inhuman race, and introducing a new race of "Super-Inhumans" (genetically engineered by the Kree to have superpowers, but no "problematic humanity") led by the villainous Vox. In the first issue alone, Vox, who has the power to project devastating blasts of energy with pinpoint precision when he speaks, appeared to kill off both Black Bolt's faithful companion Lockjaw, and his not-so-faithful brother, Maximus. Triton, another of the original Inhumans, was also killed off.
Although one of the golden rules of comic books is that no one is ever really dead, it does seem clear that Marvel Comics has switched focus from pushing the Inhumans into the spotlight to quite literally burying them. In 2014, when Marvel's efforts to smother the X-Men were at their peak, the publisher released a miniseries called Death of Wolverine, which killed off the X-Men movies' star player. Surprising no one, Wolverine will now be making a comeback in a new miniseries titled Return of Wolverine, which debuts in September, and the rest of the X-Men were recently put back on the front-burner via the somewhat clunkily-titled ResurrXion event. Meanwhile, the Fantastic Four are also returning in a new series, which launches in August.
Though they never quite achieved the same height of success as the X-Men, the Inhumans do have fans and there are many who will be sad to see their turn as Marvel's pet project come to an end. But with Death of the Inhumans already off the a strong start, hopefully we can trust that Marvel will at least give them an epic send-off.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) release date: Jun 07, 2019
- New Mutants (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
- Gambit (2020) release date: Mar 13, 2020