Iwan Rheon's Maximus Will Make or Break Marvel's Inhumans

The SDCC panel for Inhumans was filled with surprise footage, Lockjaw plushies, and Jeph Loeb in Medusa’s controversial wig. But the real star of the panel — and most likely the show — was Iwan Rheon of Misfits fame, as Maximus.

Maximus the Mad as he’s known in the comics is brother to the King of Inhumans, Blackbolt. Unlike in many comics, however, Iwan’s portrayal of the iconic Marvel villain is less about irrevocable evil (the madness) and more about a revolutionary who believes the end justifies the means. In Iwan’s words, his Maxius has the ear of the Inhumans in a way that their king does not. Seen as a man of the people, his charms could sway many against the already tenuous grasp of Blackbolt, who’s hidden his people away in Attilian out of fear of what humankind would do to them.

After a Terrigan attack on Earth though (if you’ve read the Ms. Marvel comics, it’s the gas which transforms Kamala for the first time), more and more people with Inhuman ancestry are manifesting their powers and are subsequently attacked. Both brothers agree that something needs to be done. Blackbolt wants to bring those new humans to Attilian — a city that’s already at capacity and straining its meager resources. But Maximus has a different vision of saving his new brothers and sisters: proactively attacking Earth and taking back the land from which they were driven. Reclaiming Earth would change the life of not only every Attilian, but also every Inhuman who can’t pass for human.

From the footage shown at the panel it’s unclear which brother will succeed and how, if at all, the newly manifested Inhumans on Earth are saved. But while Maximus does make some serious powers plays that hurt a lot of people he (once) loved, Iwan Rheon shows fans a side of him often not seen in comics: his true love, is in fact, his people. Rheon was hesitant to take the part at first because he wanted to avoid being typecast as the troubled villain, but said when he saw these glimmers of humanity in Maximus’ interactions with the people, he was sold. Whether the rest of the show can keep up with Rheon’s tense magnetism remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure — Maximus isn’t the main character, but he’s truly the character that the show’s machinations revolve around.

Watch the extended SDCC trailer below.

Media via HBO