The ABC comic book series Marvel’s Inhumans explores the Royal Family of the Inhumans, led by enigmatic king Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and his wife Medusa (Serinda Swan), who have to escape to Hawaii after a military coup in their home of Attilan. Once they are in the world surrounded by humanity, they must find a way to reunite with each other and return to their home before their way of life is destroyed forever.
During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, showrunner Scott Buck (Marvel’s Iron Fist) talked about what made him want to sign on for Inhumans, ultimately having to depart Iron Fist, as a result, appealing to fans of the comic as well as those who have never read it, telling the story of two brothers, the challenges of having a character at the center of your story that doesn’t speak, Medusa’s hair, bringing Lockjaw to life, the experience of working in Hawaii, and how far ahead he has a plan for the series.
Collider: When the idea of doing Inhumans was brought to you, did you have to think about how you could work that out with Iron Fist?
SCOTT BUCK: I had just finished Iron Fist, and I was exhausted and looking for some time off when Jeph Loeb called and pitched this idea, and it was so good that I couldn’t say no to it. At that time, we did not know if Iron Fist would continue. We didn’t know if we’d get picked up for another season, so I wasn’t really thinking that there was going to be a conflict with that. I was just excited about the next project.
Would you have wanted to do both, if the timing had worked out?
BUCK: I think so, yes, but I’m so happy to do this one. Iron Fist is in great hands. I’m confident that the new showrunner is gonna do a great job.
What was it about Inhumans that appealed to you?
BUCK: I think the idea that rather than just one superhero, it’s an entire race of superheroes and, in particular, we’re following one family. We find them in a moment of great crisis, despite the fact that they all have these unique superpowers. Those superpowers don’t really do anything to help them solve this crisis, any more than any other human would be able to. It’s a crisis of two brothers who are butting heads, and who have completely different views of the world around them and how they should be living in that world. Because of that, it’s all so relatable to me.
What are the challenges of telling the story of two brothers, where one has very scary powers and the other one has none?
BUCK: That’s the fun of it. Despite the fact that Black Bolt has the most tremendous power of anyone in Atalan, it’s also, in so many ways, a curse. It’s rendered him unable to speak. Maximus had the worst Terrigenesis. As a human being, it’s a little unsettling to realize that the worst possible Terrigenesis is to end up exactly like us. For him, everyone in Atalan looks down on him because they pity him, and he’s had to live his whole life, carrying that burden. These two characters, in their own ways, have been dealt, very unfairly, through their Terrigenesis. It’s interesting to see how they mesh and come together, in their own way.
Why does Maximus (Iwan Rheon) think he’d be a better leader than Black Bolt?
BUCK: Teregensis doesn’t happen until you’re 15 years old, so he grew up as a very intelligent young boy, believing that he’d be the best person to someday run Atalan. It was a horrible blow to him to realize that he would not. He’s always believed that. He’s a very self-confident person. He’s sure of his abilities. And the truth is that a lot of his ideas might be better than Black Bolt’s ideas. It’s not that he would be the worst person in the world to run Atalan.
Would Maximus have handled things differently, if he’d felt like he was heard?
BUCK: Oh, absolutely! I think it’s a big part of his character that he has been dealt this horrible blow. It’s affected him in a tremendous way.
When you do something like this, there are the fans of the comics and there’s the audience who knows nothing about the comics. How do you balance the two?
BUCK: I think you have to respect the comic and look at the comic to see what it is that people love about it. Those are the same things that I love about it. You have to honor that and make that part of the show, but you also have to appeal to an audience that has never seen this before. They don’t have the background and they don’t know who these people are, so you have to reintroduce them, in a way, to an audience that is not going to be familiar with the Inhumans.
What should audiences who don’t know anything about the comics know about this show, going in?
BUCK: They absolutely do not have to know anything. All of the writers read as much of the comics as they possibly could, and some of them were already very familiar with them, but I was not particularly familiar with the Inhumans when I started, so I had to do a crash course. It’s a fun, exciting Marvel show, but it’s also a show about compelling characters that will draw people in. Hopefully, you’ll care about these people and want to watch to see what will happen with them. It’s a whole new world, but it’s fairly easy to leap right in and join in on the fun.
How soon will we get to see some of the interaction between the Royal Family of the Inhumans and the people that they’re going to have to deal with?
BUCK: I don’t want to give too much away, but very early on. Much of our show takes place in Hawaii, and we shoot Hawaii for Hawaii. We’re not trying to pretend it’s someplace else. Our characters will inhabit that world, fairly early on.
What has the experience of working in Hawaii been like?
BUCK: That was part of the appeal. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world, and it’s about as opposite from the moon as you could possibly imagine. It’s the opportunity to place our characters in a very strange world.