Face front, True Believers: another season of Marvel television is upon us!
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has changed a lot over the course of the last two seasons, after starting as a procedural government drama and transforming half way through the first season into an underground spy thriller. Last season focused a lot on a mysterious group called The Inhumans and their connections to one member of Agent Coulson’s team, and this year we’ve been promised that the main premise of the show will be S.H.I.E.L.D. attempting to find more Inhumans, wherever they are on the globe.
But who exactly are the Inhumans? The short answer is, they’re off-brand X-Men. With 20th Century Fox owning the cinematic rights to Professor X and his students, Marvel have been sidelining mutants in recent years, and have instead brought a previously obscure group of superhumans to the forefront.
Let’s have a look at the Inhumans, where they came from, and what relevance they might have for the upcoming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. adventures.
It all started with the Kree, an ancient race of blue aliens, who you’ll remember as the villains from Guardians of the Galaxy. In another, much older war, the Kree experimented on humans in order to create super powered soldiers by exposing subjects to Terrigen crystals.
The Kree are a great reflection of just how intertwined the Marvel Cinematic Universe is getting – as well as appearing in Guardians, it was a Kree that Nick Fury experimented on to create Project T.A.H.I.T.I. and bring Agent Phil Coulson back from the dead after Loki got stabby in The Avengers. The Kree will also probably turn up in 2018’s Captain Marvel movie, as the original Captain Marvel was a Kree warrior. It’s possible that Ms. Marvel, aka the teenage Kamala Khan, the breakout star of Marvel’s 2014 comic line, may appear in this movie too – she’s also an Inhuman, so there may be more connections yet to come.
Bang! Zoom! Straight to the Moon!
Inhumans first appeared in comics as a colony of superpowered being living on the moon, and these are among the most famous Inhumans in the comics. Marvel have announced that 2019 will see an Inhumans movie (possibly starring Vin Diesel, there have been rumors spurred by the actor himself), and it’s expected that the moon Inhumans will be the main focus of this movie because they’re the closest thing to an X-Men team Marvel has the film rights to.
That said, with powers including magic hair and causing earthquakes by talking, these lunar Inhumans are hardly on par with Wolverine or Cyclops in terms of cinematic potential – but hey, Marvel did more with less when they made Ant-Man work.
In the comics, the Inhumans were always tied very closely to the Fantastic Four, and as Fox also has the rights to those characters, the movie may end up linking the lunar Inhumans with Inhumans on Earth in order to give it a more real-world perspective. Although thus far Marvel has avoided alienating moviegoers by directly mentioning events from the TV show. Only so many hours in the day to watch the MCU.
Aside from the group living on the moon, there are a few Inhumans living regular lives on Earth. These are the decendents of early Kree experiments who interbred with regular humans, meaning that there’s some weird Inhuman DNA floating around in the general population.
Inhumans don’t show any weird powers until they’re exposed either to Terrigen crystals or Terrigen mist – two handy macguffins which cause their abilities to manifest for the first time.
This brings us to the latest season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a new influx of Inhumans. Marvel and ABC have confirmed that season three will focus on S.H.I.E.L.D. tracking down Inhumans who are unable to control their powers. While not a lot is known about which Inhumans will show up in the new season, the trailer has given eagle-eyed fans a few clues as to who might turn up.
Daisy Johnson, aka Quake, aka Skye
Arguably the most important Inhuman in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is Daisy Johnson, who for the first two seasons was known as Skye. The TV character’s origin story is fairly similar to her comic book counterpart – she was trained as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent before discovering that she had Inhuman heritage on her mother’s side that gave her the ability to generate earthquakes and other tremors.
We’ll no doubt be seeing plenty of Daisy/Skye in this season as she comes to terms with her powers, which first manifest last season. In the comics she’s a pretty integral part of Nick Fury’s Secret Warriors team, so it’ll be interesting to see if any of her teammates make an MCU cameo over the course of the show.
Season three’s trailer shows an as-yet unidentified Inhuman struggling to control his powers whom Daisy attempts to comfort. It’s therefore believed that she’ll be taking point on a lot of S.H.I.E.L.D. missions to locate new Inhumans.
Lincoln Campbell, aka Spark Plug
Lincoln joined the show part way through season two, having been introduced as a member of a secret colony of Inhumans living in China. Lincoln is able to generate electric currents. He’s now joined S.H.I.E.L.D. to help seek out other Inhumans, but he may still be a little hesitant about trusting the organization, so it’ll be interesting to see how his relationships with his teammates develop.
The most interesting reveal of the trailer is the inclusion of Lash, an Inhuman who in the comics hunts down other Inhumans and judges whether or not they are worthy of their powers. It’s believed that Lash will be one of the main antagonists this season, and that he’ll be attempting to build a secret group of Inhumans which will butt heads with S.H.I.E.L.D. and its agents.
The Skye’s The Limit
While it’s not certain which other Inhumans are going to make an appearance in the show, it’ll be interesting to see how Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. goes about introducing new characters. So far the show has created a lot of new characters that don’t have comic book counterparts, and it’s likely that a lot of the most well-known Inhumans will be saved for the 2019 movie.
That being the case, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has introduced a few characters under unusual names and then later revealed that they’re comic book alumni, so for all we know, members of the team that have been in the show all along might be Inhumans in disguise.