ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at Creators.co
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has changed.

At first, it seemed a small thing - the shifting of a few release dates to allow for Marvel and Sony's recent deal to bring Spider-Man into the MCU. And so, Thor: Ragnarok moves back four months from July 2017 to that same November - and then Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Inhumans all move back accordingly.

Now, in many ways, that's a pretty small change. The placement of Raganarok and the first cinematic adventures of the Black Panther and Captain Marvel doesn't seem likely to dramatically alter their plots - or their relationship to the rest of the Marvel Universe.

Inhumans, Though, Might Just Change the Way We Understand the MCU

It is, after all, set to move from November 2018, to July 2019. Which takes it from a release date smack in the middle of the two halves of Avengers: Infinity War, to one immediately after the second part.

Many fans had speculated that the movie's presence in the middle of those two movies suggested it would be closely tied to their story - but now, that looks increasingly unlikely.

Instead, it looks very much as though the movie will - as the likely final film of Phase 3 - act less as a conclusion to the stories that have gone before, and more of a starting point for those that are to come in Phase 4.

Or, in other words...

Inhumans Could Define Marvel's Phase 4

How, though, could it do so? On paper, it looks very much like this summer's Ant-Man - a largely unknown quantity, based on a Marvel property no-one has all that much faith in, which has been given the unenviable task of bridging two different phases of Marvel's master plan.

In practice, though, it may be a whole lot more.

It's entirely possible that...

There'll Be a Whole Lot More Inhumans Than We Think

Specifically, there'll be a whole lot more Inhumans in the MCU than the royal family - led by Black Bolt (above) who have dominated the Inhumans' comic-book appearances.

Instead - as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D's recent transformation of Skye into an Inhuman suggests - the MCU may take as its focus the young heroes (and villains) who, having been exposed to the mysterious Terrigen mist, have been given superpowers.

Could We Even See Some Surprising Heroes Turn Out to Be Inhuman?

There has, after all, been a whole lot of speculation that the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver will turn out to be Inhumans - since Fox's possession of the rights to the X-Men means that they can't be mutants as they are in the comics.

Could we see other - unexpected - characters turn out to be Inhuman? Characters like, for instance, Captain Marvel (whose current protege in the comics, Ms. Marvel, was granted her powers via the Terrigen mist), one of the new Netflix heroes like Jessica Jones, Luke Cage or Iron Fist, or even Spider-Man himself?

It's be a break from canon - but that's never frightened Marvel Studios in the past.

The most intriguing part about it all? If enough of the new heroes are Inhuman-linked...

The Inhumans Could Replace The Avengers as Phase 4's Leading Super-Team

After all, The Avengers will have had four movie outings by Phase 3's 2019 end - with, at that point, two movies having been released in the space of two years.

Is it possible that The Inhumans, along with, say, Doctor Strange's comic-book version of The Defenders, and a third Guardians of the Galaxy movie, could take The Avengers' place as Marvel's cinematic team-up group?

It'd be a gamble, but seeing as there's a decent chance that most of the original Avengers will have moved on from the MCU by that point - Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth's contracts will all have expired, and there've been signs that they're not keen to renew them - it's entirely possible that Marvel is planning on giving the team a break.

If so, then...

2019's Inhumans Could Act as a New Beginning...

And, perhaps, as the starting point for more than one new superhero team.

One more suited to the style of the newly introduced Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Jessica Jones, Winter Soldier, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Iron Fist and Captain Marvel, maybe?

Could Marvel's forthcoming Netflix series The Defenders even make the jump to the big screen in the 2020's - with a few strategic casting additions?

Here's hoping...

What do you reckon, though? Will Inhumans change the Marvel universe more than we previously thought? Or will it act more like Guardians of the Galaxy, opening up a whole new galaxy of possibilities, while leaving the pre-existing MCU largely unchanged?

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