Up until a couple of weeks ago, few people had never heard of the Guardians of the Galaxy, let alone knew that they were a group of Marvel Comics heroes with a tradition and a history stretching back to the late 1960s. However, savvy marketing, a top rate director, an incredible, approachable story, and an all-star cast helped to make Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy a hit, perhaps on its way to be Marvel’s highest-grossing movie of the year.
Marvel Studios hopes to duplicate its success it had with the Guardians in its next phase of feature films. According to Collider, Marvel is moving ahead with a script written by Joe Robert Cole centered on Marvel Comics’ characters known as the Inhumans, another group of relatively unknown misfits with the general public is largely unfamiliar. This comes on the heels of Vin Diesel dropping a not-so-subtle hint on his Facebook page that could be seen as an allusion to the Inhumans.
The Inhumans, created in the 1960s by the font of ideas that was the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby team, are a race of superhumans who originally began life as proto-humans from Earth that the Kree—who play a key role in Guardians—experimented on to make the proto-humans, well, super. Once the Kree left the Inhumans to their own device, the superhumans began exposing themselves to the Terrigen Mists, which granted further superpowers to some, deformity and madness to others. While they have largely separated themselves from the rest of humanity, they do aid Earth’s heroes on occasion to stave off threats to existence. Notable Inhumans include Black Bolt, the Inhumans’ monarch who can destroy matter with a whisper; Medusa, who controls her flowing red hair like additional limbs; and Maximus, Black Bolt’s crazed brother.
The big question is how Marvel Studios hopes to make the Inhumans approachable and form a connection with a wider audience. The success of Guardians was largely owed to the diverse personalities of the characters. With a few exceptions, I have always felt that the principal Inhumans characters featured in Marvel’s comic book tales were stoic and with uniform personalities and dispositions.
It is also worth noting that Marvel recently released an image of Medusa standing alongside other heroes in publicity for the new phase of the company’s Marvel NOW! initiative. Further, the Inhumans played a key role in Infinity, Marvel Comics’ multi-title crossover last year that focused on the renewed threat of Thanos, recently seen in Guardians. It could be that Marvel is hoping to give Medusa and her fellow Inhumans the same promotional treatment as they did the Guardians of the Galaxy a couple of years prior to the release of its eponymous film.
It will also be interesting how Marvel Studios will spin the origins of the Inhumans, which have long been tied to the world of the Fantastic Four. The film rights to the Fantastic Four and its related characters are currently owned by 20th Century Fox. However, I am sure that the studio will find a way to make the Inhumans their own, as they do exist in a grey area in which they also have connections to other Marvel heroes and villains. If both X-Men: Days of Future Past and Avengers: Age of Ultron can both feature Quicksilver and his sister in their respective films, I’m sure Marvel already has a game plan that doesn’t require Terrigen Mists to recreate the wheel.