When Marvel Studios initially announced its ambitious “Phase Three,” the titles included movies like Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Avengers: Infinity War, Captain Marvel, and Inhumans, a cinematic take on one of Marvel’s weirder superhero teams. And while every other movie saw forward momentum, Inhumans seemingly stalled and was yanked off Marvel’s release schedule earlier this year.
But the Inhumans are coming to a screen near you, just not in the manner you were expecting. Marvel Television has announced that The Inhumans is now a television series that will air on ABC in 2017, with the first two episodes set to premiere in IMAX theaters prior to their television debut.
There’s a lot to take in here. First of all: Wow, they’re actually moving forward with an Inhumans television series just days after Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige insisted that an Inhumans movie was going to happen eventually. At the risk of dipping a toe into too much baseless speculation, this only adds further fuel to the stories of Marvel Studios (who produce the company’s films) and Marvel Television not getting along and refusing to play ball, despite their stories ostensibly taking place in the same universe.
But let’s turn our focus to what’s genuinely unique about this situation. According to the press release sent out by Marvel, the first two episodes of The Inhumans will be shot with IMAX cameras and will have an exclusive run in IMAX theaters for two weeks in September 2017. The series will then air on ABC that Fall. This feels like a promise that The Inhumans will look and feel different than the average superhero television show. While it has its charms, it’s impossible to imagine ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (or even Netflix offerings like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage) holding up on an IMAX screen – television shows are shot for smaller screens on budgets that pale next to major studio movies. By placing a television pilot on some of the biggest screens in the world, Marvel and ABC are inviting a certain amount of scrutiny. If they pull it off, this could be huge.
Interestingly, the Inhumans actually made their Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., where they served as both allies and enemies to Agent Coulson and his crew. It’s not clear how closely this new show will be tied to that storyline, but I’d put good money on it being a clean break. The Inhumans, genetically advanced humans whose superpowers are the result of ancient alien tinkering, are a tough sell before you ask people to go watch another television series for background.
For the record, this is also the first time IMAX has acted as a financing participant in a television series, a step that further blends the line between the big and small screens. This isn’t the first time a TV show has screened in IMAX (Game of Thrones beat them to the punch a few years ago), but a show premiering in theaters as part of a plan to entice audiences to tune in every week is new and astonishing. I honestly have no idea how this will work, but I’m certainly intrigued to watch how ordinary people respond to this.
Banner Photo Credit: Marvel Studios