Marvel's biggest TV series ever needs a big debut. And what better venue than San Diego Comic-Con to show off Inhumans, which will debut its first two episodes on September 1 in IMAX, before heading to ABC for the rest of the run? No better venue, that's what venue.
In the comics, the Inhumans are a royal family with superpowers -- think Game of Thrones meets X-Men and you've got the idea -- who bicker, fight, but ultimately try to stay separate from the human world. On the show, they get exiled to Hawaii. The series stars Anson Mount as the silent king Black Bolt, Iwan Rheon (who you may remember as Ramsay Bolton from Thrones) as his manipulative brother Maximus, Serinda Swan as the super-tressed Medusa, Mike Moh as Triton, Ken Leung as Karnak, Eme Ikwuakor as Gorgon, Sonya Balmores as Auran, and Isabelle Cornish as Crystal.
Also there's a teleporting, enormous dog named Lockjaw you're going to fall in love with.
That out of the way, here are all the surprising, not quite human secrets we learned:
1. It's even bigger on TV. Yeah, IMAX might have enormous screens, but the broadcast on ABC, which will also feature the first two episodes, will include bonus scenes. "Kind of like a variant cover," joked Marvel's Jeph Loeb, referring to the practice in comics of releasing the same issue multiple times with different cover art.
2. Maximus is different from his character in the comics. At least, at first. In the books he's named Maximus the Mad. On the show, he's Maximus the Cunning. "He's more of an antagonist than a villain," noted Rheon. "He's a passionate politician who just wants to change things." That change? Taking the Inhumans to Earth, rather than staying on the moon, where they currently live. Whether he'll eventually devolve into madness? We'll have to wait and see...
3. IMAX wasn't big enough for them. Director Roel Reiné played with the IMAX cameras, and thought the lenses weren't big enough for what they were trying to do for Inhumans. So they got even bigger lenses. Woah.
4. Know your pronunciations. Attilan is pronounced "at-uh-lan." Gorgon is pronounced "Gor-GONE." Neither of these are the way I thought they were pronounced from reading the comics for years, but what are you gonna do?
5. An Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.connection. In a scene shown off for the first time during the panel, Triton has gone to Earth because Inhumans have been popping up there, and meets up with a young Inhuman in a tropical location. The green-finned creature tells the newer Inhuman that he doesn't know why Inhumans are popping up... But is that teasing an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. connection? In the latter series, Inhumans have been part of the plot for the past several season, as Terrigen -- the substance that activates their powers -- has been released into the ocean. Technically all the Marvel shows and movies exist in the same universe, so it's not out of the question. But this is the first time we've heard a line drawn between the plot on S.H.I.E.L.D.
A second scene seems to confirm this connection: in the first hints of the rift coming between Black Bolt and Maximus, we learn that Terrigen has poisoned the water supply, turning descendants of the royal Inhumans -- who left for the moon -- into something, shall we say, more than human.
So no "hey, Phil Coulson shows up!" yet, but this is almost definitely a spin-off -- though not necessarily an explicit one.
6. They created a new language for Black Bolt. It's been widely reported that Mount created his own sign language for the otherwise silent Black Bolt. However, the modified ASL wasn't just an idle riff. Both Mount and Swan learned the language, and when Mount would mess up lines in sign, they would restart the scenes.
7. Karnak and Gorgon are cool. Once Maximus has "made his move," which is to declare himself king and aim to take out the entire royal family, Karnak and Gorgon are under attack. In a scene designed to showcase their different fighting styles, Gorgon attacks some soldiers on Earth with his powerful feet, while Karnak runs through the same fight sequence multiple times in order to get the best result. It's pretty neat!
8. Medusa's hair doesn't suck! One of the big discussions online was about whether Medusa's wig looked terrible, or just very bad. Turns out, it's actually kind of cool! In a scene where Medusa uses her power to control her own long hair, the tendrils turn into angry, fiery threads, attacking Maximus. You can feel the strength of them in the scene. Then it goes back to being a wig, which doesn't look that great, but what can you do?
9. Rheon didn't want to be Ramsay 2. He was very well aware that Maximus could just be Ramsay Bolton all over again. Instead, he saw him as a more tragic, complicated figure -- a man who went through the process of getting powers, and got nothing. So instead, he uses his very real power of persuasion to manipulate the people with superpowers, from behind the scenes.
Marvel's Inhumans premieres Sept. 1, 2017 in IMAX, before moving to ABC on Sept. 29.