What is Marvel's Inhumans? A beginner's guide to the new TV show

This September sees Marvel’s ‘Inhumans’ hit IMAX cinemas and TV channels so we went down to the Hawaiian set to get a crash course in all things ‘Inhumans’.


‘Inhumans’ follows the trials and tribulations of a superhuman Royal Family with incredible powers ranging from a supersonic voice that can destroy planets, multi-dexterous hair and telepathy to acute hearing, expert analysis and a giant teleporting dog.

Part of the sprawling Marvel Universe, the Inhumans started life as homosapiens millions of years ago, but were transformed into their mutant namesake by the Kree (as featured in ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’) when the alien race decided to experiment on humans with a substance called Terrigen Mist through a process called terrigenesis. The Kree abandoned their experiments and left the Inhumans to fend for themselves against a fearful and volatile human military.

After fleeing to the moon for safety and building a home city called Attilan, the Inhumans are back on Earth for reasons unknown at the time of writing.

Black Bolt (Anson Mount)

Black Bolt (played by Anson Mount) is the enigmatic, commanding King of the Inhumans with a voice so powerful that even the slightest whisper can destroy a city. As a result, he never talks and uses his own variety of sign language that only close friends and family can understand.

“He is the leader who must be aware of the power and potential danger of his public voice”, Anson Mount told us. “I think he’s immediately charming in that way.

“Readers appreciate Black Bolt because they see him struggling with a deep sense of responsibility. A king’s identity – a responsible king – their identity is the state. And he certainly is that”.

He learned to keep his mouth shut by sitting inside a giant cement dome that allowed him to meditate and control his power.

Medusa (Serinda Swan)

Queen of the Inhumans and Black Bolt’s wife, Medusa has the ability to use her hair as others would use their hands and fingers. In other words, she can use it to pick up and move objects, fight others when in battle and other various forms of multitasking.

Serinda Swan explains further telling us: “If I’m going to go pick this up [she grabs a bottle of water]. If I’m going to pick it up, I just look at it and my hair picks it up.”

We saw some pre-vis of the super-hair and it looks pretty silky and we cannot wait to see if come to life on the big and small screen.

Maximus (Iwan Rheon)

Maximus is Black Bolt’s brother and therefore also part of the Royal Family. He’s very much the yin to Black Bolt’s yang. In the comics, Maximus has the ability to control people’s minds, however, Rheon told us that this version of Maximus doesn’t have any superpowers as his terrigenesis made him a human. Historically, Maximus has always had his eyes on Black Bolt’s crown and has attempted multiple coups, but this seems a bit of a long-shot given he’s already at a super disadvantage.

We figure that this deviation from the comics helps set up his villainous streak.

“He’s kind of looked down on by the rest of the Royal Family and the people of Attilan because he’s not one of them, in theory,” Rheon told us. “It’s kind of the worst thing that can happen to you almost”.

Looks like a chip on the shoulder, inferiority complex sibling rivalry is brewing…

Karnak (Ken Leung)

According to Ken Leung, who plays Karnak in the new TV show, “Karnak’s ability is that he can see the flaw in everything and everyone – even an argument. Like a physical structure or a fight, he can analyse where the most efficient place to strike [is]. It makes him the perfect advisor, strategist to the King (Black Bolt).

“We’re all cousins in this Royal Family so in addition to having positions we’re family as well. So, I’m really close to Black Bolt for that reason.”

According to the comics, Karnak isn’t technically an Inhuman as he was never exposed to the Terrigen Mists so didn’t develop super-human powers like the rest of the group. However, his martial arts expertise and his incredible analysis skills still make him a crucial part of the team.

Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor)

Gorgon is the head of the Attilan military and has the ability to create seismic waves from stomping his extraordinarily powerful pins. His ability takes visible form as he has ram-like legs and hooves to help achieve the super-stomp. Eme Ikwuakor, the man playing Gorgon in the show, had to wear prosthetic legs to achieve the look of a man half ram and underwent some significant physical preparations for the role.

“I bulked up and I gained about 15 pounds”, he told us. “Then I did stuff with the legs because I knew that I’d probably have to stand there and sit in it and kind of relax. I have a lot of respect for women nowadays, that’s basically all I can say!”

Ken Leung described Gorgon as “diametrically opposed” to his own Karnak character. “He is brute strength. He’s just force. He goes by his impulses. But it also makes us very close and we have a kind of contentious banter because of those differences.”

Crystal (Isabelle Cornish)

Crystal is the youngest member of the Royal Family. She’s Medusa’s sister and was installed as a princess after Medusa married King Black Bolt. Crystal is essentially X-Men’s Storm on steroids. Not only can Crystal control the weather, she can control all elements including wind, water, earth and fire.

In preparation for the role, Isabelle Cornish (the younger sister of Abi Cornish) researched the mentality of youngsters.

“I really just looked at teenage girls growing up because Crystal’s quite young and coming into adulthood and what’s that like,” she told us. “The way you see the world when you’re young is very different to the way you see the world when you’re older.”

She also has a trusty companion in the shape of a 2000lb dog called…

Lockjaw (100% CGI)

Lockjaw is one of the most popular characters in the franchise – mostly because he is an adorable 2000lb British bulldog-like animal that can teleport.

As the loyal pet of the Royal Family and Crystal’s BFF, Lockjaw does all the things a faithful dog should do. Guarding Attilan from intruders, tracking down missing family members and transporting friends and family around the Universe via his teleporting abilities are just some of Lockjaw’s roles.

Auran (Sonya Balmores)

Auran is a relatively new character in the ‘Inhumans’ world. The character in the comics has yellow skin, giant ears and has the most incredible hearing that’s capable of pin-pointing sounds and words from anywhere on the planet. She is introduced into the comics due to her superb investigative skills (thanks mostly to her audio ability) when she is hired by Queen Medusa to find Black Bolt after he goes missing.

All we can say about the character in the TV show is that she wears leather clobber. Actor Sonya Balmores describes her costume as “all leather – like leather boots, just badass. It was custom-made for me, so that was pretty awesome. Mine is black, I’m all in black.”

However, she wouldn’t tell us if she had yellow skin or big ears telling us: “That I cannot answer sir.”

Triton (Mike Moh)

Triton is a fish-like man that can live underwater. He was exposed to the Terrigen Mist as an infant which turned his skin green and allowing him to breathe underwater and could withstand the cold temperatures and severe pressures that come with (very) deep sea diving.

Unfortunately, this means Triton can’t breathe in open air anymore and has to live in a specially designed water tank when in Attilan (which, don’t forget is on the moon). The Inhumans did him a solid and designed him a special breathing apparatus so he can now wander around the extra-terrestrial city much like anyone else.

He’s Karnak’s brother and therefore cousins with Gorgon, Black Bolt, Maximus, Medusa and Crystal. Triton’s severe reaction to terrigenisis is the reason Karnak never became a full-blown Inhuman as his parents were worried he’d see the same dramatic transformation.

‘Inhumans’ hits IMAX cinemas on 1st September exclusively for two weeks before transferring to TV.