Your Guide To The Inhumans and Guardians of the Galaxy

When Kevin Feige was asked by Entertainment Weekly, “What’s Next for Marvel?,” he gave us five projects. Three we already knew of–Iron Man 3, Thor 2 and Ant-Man. But the other two–Guardians of the Galaxy and Inhumans–caught even the hard-core Marvel Zombie by surprise. Those two properties are obscure to most comic readers, and since Iron Man was often described as an “obscure Marvel character” in the mainstream press, there two could be considered complete unknowns to the non-comic literate.

Well, we are trying to fix that. This post will try to give the non-comic book Marvel film fans a heads-up on the two teams. Both have been in existence for over 40 years and have very twisted and complex histories. We’ll try to distill them down into what filmmakers most likely will focus on when bringing them to the screen.

The Inhumans:

First Appearance: Fantastic Four #45 (December 1965)

Created by: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

If you were to pitch it…: Arthurian Legend meets Star Wars meets Game of Thrones with a little X-Men mixed in.

The Skinny: The Inhumans are a reclusive off-shoot of humanity that reside in the Himalayas. A million years ago, an alien race experimented with the DNA of a small group of humans to give them superpowers. Over the years, these test subjects became the race known as the Inhumans, and the giving of superpowers has become a cultural touchstone. When one of the race comes of age, he or she is exposed to something called the “Terrigen Mists.” These mists cause the Inhumans to mutate and develop powers, most often with grotesque alterations to their physical appearance.

Most of the adventures focus on their king, Black Bolt, and his royal family as they fight against the machinations of Black Bolt’s insane brother Maximus, who wishes to usurp Black Bolt and become leader of the Inhumans himself.

Cast of Characters:

Black Bolt, leader of the Inhumans and king of their royal family. His power is his voice which is awesomely destructive. A whisper has the force of a category 5 hurricane, a shout the destructive power of an atom bomb. Thereforey, he cannot speak, ever. Medusa, wife of Black Bolt and the one who puts his wishes into words. Her power is her hair, which is prehensile and that she is able to control. Crystal, sister to Medusa with the power to control the elements (fire, water, air and earth), Gorgon, cousin of Black Bolt whose exposure to the Terrigen Mists left him with bull’s hooves instead of feet, which can cause earthquakes when he stomps them. Triton, a merman cousin to Black Bolt who breathes water and is able to survive underwater for extended period time, Karnak, another cousin of Black Bolt that was never exposed to the Terrigen Mists. Therefore, he has no superpowers but is an extremely advanced martial artist, his skilled honed to the point that he can identify the weak point of an person or object. Maximus the Mad, brother to Black Bolt who is a powerful telepath. And, finally, Lockjaw, an enourmous, dog-like creature (whether he be a mutated human or mutated animal is left in some doubt) with the power of teleportation.

Possible connections to the current slate of Marvel film continuity?:

Well, the aliens that gave the Inhumans their superpowers, the Kree, are the comic book arch-enemy of the Skrulls, the rumored villains featured in The Avengers. In addition, the comic book Inhumans have had numerous contacts with the Avengers, with Crystal even serving as a member for a short time.

Possible plus and minuses of a film version:

Well, the concept leads itself to an epic scope and granduer. Being that the entire race of Inhumans are mutated and they live in a hidden kingdom, the visual imagry could rival that which was featured in Green Lantern. However, the concept needs to have a human focus that can introduce us to the Inhumans and that can vicariously act as our guide. In the comics, this role was filled by the Fantastic Four, but since the rights to the FF are still owned by Fox, that won’t happen here.

And good luck on finding an actor to take on the role of Black Bolt, especially if they keep the costume similar to the comic book version. Not many actors would be up to the challenge of acting while having half of their face covered and lacking the ability to speak.

Also, this is a concept co-created by Jack Kirby. While this property wasn’t included in the termination of copyright filed by the Kirby children (who only included characters created up to Fantastic Four #21 in the termination), there is no guarantee the Kirby heirs might not file another one for these guys. So far, the courts have ruled against the Kirby heirs, so we have to see how successful their appeal is before we get an understanding of how they can threaten this property.

Guardians of the Galaxy:

Created by: Arnold Drake and Gene Colan.

If you were to pitch it…: Star Wars meets V meets The Terminator meets The Dirty Dozen by way of the A-Team with a little Planet of the Apes and The Great Escape thrown in for good measure.

The Skinny: In the 31st century, a reptilian alien race known as the Badoon has conquered most of the solar system. In a prison camp, four men,  the last of their race, meet. Together, they manage to escape and become a commando force against the Badoon, gaining allies along the way, and begin to fight back against the Badoon oppression. NOTE: This is the backstory of the original Guardians of the Galaxy. There was a more recent incarnation of the concept with different characters and which took place in the “present day” of Marvel continuity. Since the blurb in EW made reference to the characters being the “last fo their kind,” that leads me to believe that this version is the one that they are bringing to the big screen.

Cast of Characters:

Vance Astro, a 21st century astronaut who is put into suspended animation in order to explore the far reaches of the universe. When he wakes up a millenium later, he finds his homeworld overrun by the Badoon. He possesses telekinetic powers. Charlie-27, a citizen of an Earth colony on Jupiter who was biogenetically engineered to withstand the increased gravity on Jupiter. A side effect of this bioengineering is superhuman strength and invulnerability. Martinex, a citzen of an Earth colony on Pluto biogenetically engineered to withstand the environmental extremes on the planet. This bioengineering gives his body a crystalline appearance and the ability to generate blasts of heat and cold from his body. And Yondu, a native of the planet Centauri IV with limited SP and the ability to control the path of his arrows through whistling. Later, the team would add Starhawk, a powerful manipulator of energy from Arcturus IV and Nikki, the last known survivor of the Earth colony on Mercury who inherited her parents’ biogenetically engineered ability to withstand intense heat and radiation.

Possible connections to the current slate of Marvel film continuity?:

The characters in the comics followed a human given god-like powers by the Badoon by the name of Korvac back into the past and defeated him with the help of the Avengers. That seems to be a bit of a stretch to happen in the Marvel film universe, but it is a possibility.

Possible plus and minuses of a film version:

On paper, this concept seems like a great idea for a film. It is chock full of a bunch of familiar tropes–alien invasion, prision escape, loners uniting for a common cause, small band of rebels fighting against an oppressive empire–that has been very successful before. But this is going to be a CGI heavy piece, therefore very expensive. There might be corners cut to get the property up on the screen, which usually doesn’t result in a great movie.

Also, Vance Astro technically is a mutant and Fox, through their X-Men rights, supposedly owns the screen rights to any mutant that Marvel ever published. Should be interesting to see if that becomes an issue.

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About William Gatevackes 1934 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken Frontier.com, PopMatters.com and in Comics Foundry magazine.

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