Actor Iwan Rheon, after dying on Game of Thrones is moving on to play Maximus the Mad in Marvel’s Inhumans. While explaining the casting choice, showrunner Scott Buck cites Rheon’s ability “to be charming, roguish, and still completely [and] unexpectedly dangerous”, which he displayed in Game of Thrones. Though Bolton may not be much like Maximus, Rheon could channel Ramsay’s sinister energy and bring it to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In Marvel’s Inhumans, an advanced, reclusive race of humans with alien DNA take center stage (they’ve been introduced in Marvel’s other ABC action-drama, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). Maximus is the brother of Black Bolt, the mute king of the Inhumans, and Buck has described Maximus as “Likable, charming, tragic and villainous all in the same moment,” which is the essence of Rheon’s dickish Bolton but cranked to eleven. Like Jon Snow, Ramsay Bolton is a bastard son, but unlike Snow, Bolton was a manipulative prick who abused his stolen power and gleefully tortured his enemies (a Bolton family tradition). It was his control of House Stark that fired up Jon Snow to triumphant victory last season on Game of Thrones.
But while Ramsay got what was coming to him, Rheon ensured that the millions tuned in would remember him. As Bolton, Rheon charmed the Game of Thrones audience to death: No one likes a character who kills his own servants, peasant boys, and tortures his own “wives,” but it’s helpless to not admire the supreme levels of “bastard” that Bolton achieved. (The reliance on sexual assault for drama is a blotch in his otherwise great time on the series.)
“It’s impossible to defend him as a person,” wrote Lauren Sarner about Ramsay Bolton last spring, “but he has value on Game of Thrones as a character with dramatic agency.”
The Marvel Universe isn’t as savage as George R.R. Martin’s medieval fantasy. And Maximus isn’t as vicious as Bolton. But Maximus, who wields genius-level intellect with severe emotional and mental instability, is a great platform for a performer such as Rheon to further prove why he was the boss in Game of Thrones, at least for a time.
Marvel’s Inhumans premieres this fall.