When Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige officially announced there would be an Inhumans movie coming to theaters November 2, 2018, he made the announcement with a caveat, “You may find out where they fit into the MCU sooner than you think.”
Could that actually mean like next week? If the clues we’re seeing on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are pointing the way we think, we may have already met our first Inhumans in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here’s what we have so far.
That Blue Alien
While he hasn’t been called a Kree on-air, actress Chloe Bennett, who plays Skye on the series (more on her in a bit), spilled the beans at PaleyFest, calling it a Kree by name. The preserved, dead body of this Kree is the source of the GH-325 formula, which brought Agent Coulson back to life after his death at the hands of Loki in The Avengers. The alien blood also been given to Skye, though she had zero negative reaction (see: no crazy impulsive need to draw/carve) to it.
Following so far?
On the November 12, 2014 episode entitled “The Writing on the Wall,” it was revealed that the alien body was “thousands of years old,” meaning the Kree had visited Earth millennia before. In the comics, the Kree came to Earth at the start of humanity, and experimented on early humans, creating the Inhuman race, people who could unlock enhanced abilities and superpowers through exposure to special crystals called Terrigen. But we’re probably getting ahead of ourselves there. Still, important to note that the Kree being here thousands of years earlier in the MCU is a big hint toward the Inhumans.
The other part of the Kree equation is that he had “the symbols” carved into him, or tattooed on him; those are the same symbols that Coulson was drawing, that the Obelisk has on it, and that we found out exactly what they lead to in the same episode.
Skye and her Father
There is every speculation that Skye is connected to the alien, and could in fact be an alien herself. Unlike the six subjects revealed (plus Coulson) on the episode that were initially injected with the GH-325, she had no compulsion to draw the symbols. That means there is something different about her physiology, causing her to react differently.
Skye’s daddy dearest (played by Kyle MacLachlan but as-yet-unnamed in the show) is another interesting part to the puzzle. He exhibited superhuman strength and slightly enhanced speed/reflexes in a terrifying display with Hydra. He has also been blamed for a massacre in China, single-handedly killing an entire town.
Also, Skye’s father was able to handle the mysterious Obelisk, laden with Kree symbols, without turning to stone, indicated there’s something more to him. He also claimed knowledge about what else it could do when making a deal with Hydra.
Skye was also the first person to intuit that the symbols were a map, though it was Coulson’s interaction with one of the other subjects who finally saw it as a 3-dimensional image.
a.k.a. the Diviner, this was the first ever 0-8-4, an object of unknown origin recovered by S.H.I.E.L.D. and its prototypical force, the SSR. At its simplest, the strange object has a tendency to turn any human who touches it nearly instantaneously to a stone statue and/or burning them from inside out, either way, killing them. There’s still a lot of mystery about this, but again, Skye’s Father was able to touch it without any negative effect, instead causing it to glow with the map symbols. He also claimed to know its real name and real abilities.
The Map – and a Mystery City
This all leads to the reveal of the map, and it being a three-dimensional model; it’s not just a map, it’s a city. So what could this mystery city be? Well, there are actually a few hidden cities in the Marvel Universe, but with the other clues given so far and where our minds are at, it’s easy to think of one in particular: Attilan.
Attilan is the hidden city that serves as the home of the Inhumans, specifically of their royal family and the core population. The map, bearing a direct connection the the Kree, almost has to be leading there. If Skye’s father is an Inhuman – perhaps an exiled Inhuman, he could want to find the city (which has been known to move in the Marvel Universe). Of course, the one thing that holds us back on this a bit is that revealing Attilan – and actually traveling there – would have to mean revealing at least a couple of the more well-known characters from the comics, and casting them now for a TV show with the expectation that they’d be jumping into a movie in four years could be difficult. Of course, Marvel Studios has made a habit of 5, 6, and even 9 movie contracts, so it wouldn’t be out of the question.
Just as the map and the symbols were a mystery for the last several episodes, this one has many pieces that all just need to finally fit together, and it looks like it’s all leading to an Inhuman reveal.
The Comic Book Factor
Marvel Comics recently informed comic book Direct Market retailers they are shipping double the amount of copies ordered of next week's Inhuman #8 at no extra charge - a rare marketing initiative for the publisher. So why the relatively unprecedented freebies?
It could just be a long-tail attempt to boost sales, with the hope readers will eventually sample the extra copies sitting on shelves. It could be Marvel Comics responding to Marvel Studios' announcement of the 2018 movie, although expecting a sudden spike in interest four years in advance might be a tad optimistic on their part.
The issue goes on sale the day after the next episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Nov. 18), the first episode after discovering the map to a mystery city connected to the Kree, which also guest-stars Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter. See where we’re going with this?
For the record, the issue centers on Black Bolt, the currently deposed king of the Inhumans, and his brother Maximus the Mad.
At press time Marvel did not respond to inquiries as to why they are doubling retailer orders of Inhuman #8 for free.