The first two episodes of Inhumans are now showing at IMAX cinemas worldwide, and the series launches on ABC on September 29th. Because of this unique approach, it's difficult to tell how well Inhumans is actually faring at the box office so far (as I've discussed in an earlier post, we can't really do any like-for-like comparisons). But what may surprise fans is that the show is already likely to return for a second series.
Filming in Hawaii, Marvel transformed a 3,700-acre former Navy facility into an entire production base. Intriguingly, business analysts report that Marvel struck a deal with the State of Hawaii that indicated a commitment to boosting the local economy every year. According to the Pacific Business Review:
"The entire production is expected to create hundreds of jobs in the Isle film industry as well as pump between $80 million and $100 million annually into the state’s economy, rivaling and even surpassing such Hawaii-filmed TV series such as ABC’s 'Lost,' and CBS’ current series 'Hawaii Five-0.'"
Notice the key word "annually," which suggests that Marvel has made a long-term commitment to filming in Hawaii in order to obtain tax breaks and access to that extensive production base. Meanwhile, Marvel Television boss Jeph Loeb has recently spoken about his hopes of working with IMAX again. It's another indication that Marvel is looking forward to the future of the franchise.
All this means we should expect Inhumans Season 1 to set the groundwork for a second season, probably releasing at this time next year. If so, what direction should Inhumans take in Season 2?
Attilan Is In Crisis
Let's start with a simple fact; Attilan cannot stay on the Moon. The first two episodes include dialogue pointing out that the city barely has the resources to cope with its current population level. That's why Attilan has such a strict caste system; it's a way of coping with increasing population and resource pressure. But the people of Attilan are clearly growing dissatisfied with this way of life. It's disturbingly easy for Maximus to convince vast groups of Lower Caste workers to side with him.
We may not agree with his methods, but Maximus does have a point. The people of Attilan simply cannot continue to live the way they are doing. To make matters worse, the first episode opens with Black Bolt clearly considering the idea of bringing the newly-created Inhumans of Earth to Attilan. That will inevitably increase population pressure on the Moon.
Meanwhile, recent Inhumans have developed power-sets ideally suited to an Earth environment. Triton, for example, is aquatic. We see one girl undergo Terrigenesis, and emerge as a "flier," with iridescent wings. Both powers are more suited to a planetary environment than to the Moon. And that's significant, because both the comics and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have suggested that Inhuman mutations occur in advance of need. Somehow, Inhumans evolve in response to the evolutionary needs of the future. So the emergence of those intriguing new powersets is a hint as to the future direction Inhuman life must take. Inhuman society has come to a point where the race must return to Earth, and evolution is now preparing the race for it.
Attilan Must Head To Hawaii
Inhumans has come in for a lot of criticism, but there's one thing it does do well and that's create a strong sense of place for the island of Hawaii. The Hawaiian island of Oahu is as much a character in Inhumans as Harlem is in Luke Cage. The plot moves us from Diamond Head to Honolulu, providing viewers with a wonderful whistle-stop tour round the island. The gorgeous setting is perfectly suited to IMAX camera technology, and we're shown some stunning panoramic views. Given the amount of care that Inhumans has taken in creating such a strong sense of place, it's essential that Hawaii remain integral to the ongoing story of the Inhumans.
My suggestion, then, is a simple one: That Inhumans Season 1 should see the race move to Hawaii. As any comic book fan will know, the City of Attilan is mobile. When we first visited Attilan in the comics, it was situated in the Himalayas. It's since moved around a lot, most famously settling on the Moon, but has also spent time hovering over New York, or on the resurfaced island of Atlantis.
This plot twist would set up a fantastic arc for Season 2 as the Royal Family struggle acclimatizing to life on Earth while humanity tries its best to respond. What's more, Season 1 is heavily inspired by Paul Jenkins's iconic Inhumans run back in the '90s, and those themes and plots became central to his narrative. Moving Attilan to Hawaii would allow Season 2 to tap into some of the strongest Inhumans comics ever published.
Although the first episodes of Inhumans have endured heavy criticism, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. also launched with a weak first season that finally showed more potential after the Hydra plot twist. Since then, the show's gone from strength to strength, essentially becoming Marvel's flagship series. I can't help but hope that Inhumans will follow a similar trajectory, starting with a weaker first series that sets the foundation for everything that comes next.