Marvel's 'Inhumans' makes television history in IMAX

Michael Swartz

In a historic partnership between ABC, IMAX, and Marvel Television, "Inhumans" hits IMAX screens across the country this Friday, making it the first live-action television series to debut exclusively on the big (BIG!) screen. Ahead of the series' 8-episode run, Marvel invites fans to take in the enormous scale of their latest addition in a first of its kind theatrical experience. Leaders of the Inhuman royal family, Anson Mount (Black Bolt) and Serinda Swan (Medusa), graced the stage at Build Series to give us a taste of what we can expect from the TV series, and this unprecedented cinematic event.

First appearing in the pages of Marvel Comics in 1965, the Inhumans are a race of superhumans with unusual abilities unique to each individual: Black Bolt has a voice that can kill, Medusa uses her hair to ensnare enemies, Crystal (Isabelle Cornish) can control the elements. Even Lockjaw, the beloved family dog, can teleport! The Inhuman race made their Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and "Inhumans" builds on that mythology, telling the story of the previously unseen Inhuman royal family, and their clash with Black Bolt's usurping brother Maximus, played by "Game of Thrones" alum Iwan Rheon.

Shot in IMAX format, the staggering size of the production took the "Inhumans" stars by surprise. "The set pieces were so big! We weren't in a regular studio," said Mount, " we reclaimed an old Navy hangar." "Three!" interjected Swan, "See, I know it was three because I [wore] heels! It was three hangars. I had to walk it every day, and it was massive!"

Swan, known for her work in "TRON: Legacy," and "Graceland," was delighted to join the Marvel Universe. A month after her audition, she discovered she'd clinched the coveted role of Medusa in a phone call with the head of Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb, a mere 36 hours before she was due on set in Hawaii. "Jeph said to me, 'Serinda, I have three words for you,' and there was this long pause, and he just says, 'welcome to Marvel.' To hear that I got it, that I got my dream role, and the opportunity to play this character, I hung up the phone and... had a little cry! It was lovely!"

For his mostly silent role, Anson Mount had the challenge of developing his own form of sign language for Black Bolt. "I borrowed some of the underlying rules of ASL to make it more efficient, but the signs were all mine." Swan and Mount worked together to give a sense of realism to their scenes. "He had done so much work to actually create this language down to each word, so I wanted to be sure what I was saying was perfectly in sync with what he was signing," said Swan. "There was a lot of thought that went into it, so I wanted to make sure it was something that I honored." Inventing and understanding this new language together brought Swan and Mount closer, much like their characters:

"That was something that Medusa and Black Bolt created together in their world, and that's part of what bonded them. And that was something lovely for [Anson] and I to do, because now we had our own secret language."

Marvel's "Inhumans" hits IMAX this Friday, and airs Fridays this fall on ABC.