As most Marvel fans know, mutants are never going to exist within the world created by Marvel Studios on the Disney side of things. FOX and Disney have no plans to work together anytime soon and that means the only possible way for Marvel to get enhanced individuals into the fray would be through their Inhumans property. At first Marvel was planning to include them at the end of Phase 3, but those plans have since changed. So what does this mean for enhanced individuals in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and the Inhumans? This piece explores the journey of the Royal Family from the silver screen back to the television, and how it may or may not factor into the larger picture we see with the Marvel films.
The Inhumans are the logical replacement for X-Men within the MCU, which Marvel Studios would very much love to have back, but FOX has no interest in ever letting the property go. While Sony was limited by a vastly inferior stable of characters, what really pushed them into an agreement with Marvel Studios was the sudden lack of interest in seeing the same movie five times in a row. The news came as a crushing blow to Sony and fans alike.
In an attempt to recover from an unforeseeable dilemma, Sony opted to enlist the help of Feige and Marvel Studios on the condition that some of the MCU mainstays feature in their films. The first thing Marvel Studios announced was that the movie would be a soft-reboot and feature an already experienced Spider-Man dealing with the day-to-day norms and mores of being a high school student. This move dealt a major blow to FOX, who immediately got to work re-tooling things of their own, but I digress.
The only thing really missing from the Marvel Cinematic Universe was the equivalent of mutants. By the time they would have reached Inhumans for release, fans would be well-versed with the ideas of a multiverse, dimensional transportation and teleportation, all of Asgard, the Cosmos and all the warring factions they can legally include, and the base of heroes constantly saving New York. The only thing left to bring in en masse are the Inhumans, which instead made their debut on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (AoS) and will now follow that up with a self-titled series.
So now we get the Inhumans as a seeming compromise between film and television divisions. The series will be shot in IMAX and the first couple episodes will be aired in IMAX theaters across the nation. These episodes will air several weeks ahead of the television debut, so there is incentive for Marvel fans to go check it out as it was meant to be seen and before everyone else sees it. But there is still no sign that the Royal Family or enhanced individuals of any type will make their way to the big screen. That said, it’s not like the Inhumans show is being set up to fail.
While the show has had mixed reactions to some of the costume choices, the showrunner, Scott Buck, is most notable for his Dexter series, but Marvel fans also got a taste of his work with the Iron FIst this past Spring. Marvel isn’t taking this series lightly and they understand the importance of the Royal Family and the Kree offspring, it’s just curious they felt it would do better on the little screen. Whether or not this assertion ends up being accurate is something only time will tell, but Marvel has been fairly careful to avoid major missteps when it comes to what they put on the screen.
Aren’t Inhumans the natural fix for the legal problems with trying to use mutants? Beyond that, aren’t the characters and Attilan worthy of a place within the MCU, because unless a lot changes between now and the time the series wraps up its first series on air, Marvel isn’t in the business of recognizing anything that isn’t shot as a movie. This fact is something that bothers a lot of fans, who can’t understand why the same company seemingly dislikes itself based on the department. The MCU was so close to being fully activated withing legal parameters, but then Marvel Studios opted to removed the enhanced individuals from the future of the big screen.
While Netflix shows and AoS use references to major events in movies, we’ve yet to see a single acknowledgement on the big screen for anything that’s happened in any of those properties. They exist within the MCU up to a point, then they become immaterial. This has long frustrated fans, who feel Marvel have a chance to do something nobody has ever done before by having interconnected properties on three different mediums, now that list grows with Hulu and FreeForm gathering smaller Marvel properties to air on their networks. But the question still looms large; Will the Inhumans suffer the same fate, to exist within their world and Aos, to a limited extent, but not be recognized on the big screen?
There are so many questions left to be answered. There is no doubt that Marvel will unveil ideas and plans for Phase 4 in the near future. The film division of Marvel studios has a well-documented relationship with the television division, and it isn’t one that suggests they’re ready to combine forces and put out an Inhumans movie or a film that, at least, featured the Royal Family. If we are being honest, there is enough at their disposal for Marvel Studios to tell countless stories without needing the Inhumans or a mutant replacement. For lack of a better term, it would suck, but they could easily do it.
Maybe Marvel Studios are content with a world featuring the cosmos, New York, and Wakanda for now. That alone is pretty expansive and could satisfy fans for years to come. Maybe the idea of Inhumans as mutants just didn’t sit well with Marvel or it polled poorly. Both FOX and Marvel Studios are missing a huge portion of the product they need to tell their stories, so it makes sense if Marvel decided they weren’t going to insult fans by having Inhumans replace mutants.
There are countless reasons why Marvel could’ve moved the Royal Family from the end of Phase 3 to a television series debuting long before Phase 3 even comes close to ending. Though we would like to know the why, those answers are kept by Kevin Feige and they will or will not be given to the press, only Feige knows. The important thing here is that the Inhumans are moving forward in some capacity and Marvel is throwing a lot of support its way.
Marvel could have pulled the entire race from the lineup and fans would have had to just deal with it. Fortunately fans don’t have to worry about that. The show is going to be its own thing, removed from Aos and still existing within the universe created by Marvel. It could also replace Aos, which nearing the conclusion of its fourth season and Inhumans looks to be airing in or around that same time. The day is definitely the same, but that doesn’t mean Aos couldn’t be moved to another day and time. Just because Inhumans are airing on Tuesday does not logically follow to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. being cancelled. It also doesn’t mean it won’t be cancelled; we just don’t know.
I will definitely be checking out Inhumans in IMAX, if you plan to do so, let us know in the comment section. The Royal Family is moving forward and there is every reason in the world to be thankful for that, even if everything is not to our immediate liking. Marvel has a unique way of making fans look silly by the time all is said and done. I don’t care how I get my dose of Attilan adventures, I just appreciate that I am getting them. The silver lining here is that the Inhumans are coming to us sooner than the end of 2019. That and the IMAX push will have to sate fans who were looking for the property on the big screen. Even still, nobody would hold it against a fan for still feeling a bit of disappointment that the product, for now, will likely be entirely separate from the “real” MCU.