Marvel’s Inhumans project is finally coming to television after years of being stuck in development hell, first announced as a feature that got put on the back burner before being removed from the studio’s production schedule altogether.
According to a recently leaked call sheet for the upcoming ABC show, The Inhumans will follow the story of the Inhuman royal family, a longtime fixture in Marvel comics, who are a group of humans imbued with superpowers after being genetically modified by alien technology and undergoing sudden transformations. And based on the leaked call sheet, they’ll all be white.
ABC declined to comment on the leaked call sheet, instead referring me to a press release about the series that will premiere in IMAX theaters in a limited run.
Both Black Bolt and Medusa, the Inhuman’s king and queen, are described as being played by white actors between the ages of 30 and 40. Maximus, Black Bolt’s scheming brother, and Crystal, Medusa’s fearless younger sister, are also white.
While the royals have been canonically white in the books, to the vast majority of people that are likely to catch The Inhumans when it premieres this fall, the royal family will be a bunch of characters that they have no real reference for and could easily be cast as people from various backgrounds.
To be fair, there are three other lead roles being cast for the show (Karnak, Gorgon, and Triton) whose ethnicities are not listed that could very well end up being portrayed by people of color, but Marvel’s decision to cast the Inhumans’ royals as white is disappointing considering what’s going on with Inhumans in Marvel’s comics right now: For example, Ms. Marvel (aka Kamala Khan), the Muslim, Pakistani-American teen born of immigrant parents, is arguably the most immediately recognizable Inhuman in the Marvel universe for people who aren’t hardcore fans of the comics.
When you look at all of Marvel’s shows, The Inhumans will be the studio’s ninth television series, and only one (Luke Cage) will have featured a predominantly diverse cast of lead characters.
The Inhumans series would have been (and still could be) the perfect opportunity to reinvent the royals as the sort multiethnic superhero family that could breathe new life into a cinematic universe that’s still overwhelmingly stacked with white heroes who save the day.
But hey. There’s always hope for Sony’s Spider-Man, right?