How Marvel's Inhumans is connected to Agents of SHIELD

Warning: This article contains spoilers for both Marvel's Inhumans and Agents of SHIELD

Marvel's Inhumans is the most recent (and, according to critics, the most mediocre) addition to Marvel's television pantheon at ABC, joining the well-loved series Agents of SHIELD. And while the two shows might not explicitly crossover any time soon, they certainly share a common thread, a connective tissue displayed in the first two episodes of Inhumans

Rolling back time just a bit, Agents of SHIELD first introduced the concept of Inhumans to the Marvel Cinematic Universe when Daisy Johnson/Skye (played by Chloe Bennet) underwent a Terrigenesis transformation in the show's second season. That season's finale ended with an entire box of Terrigen crystals plummeting into the ocean, seeping into Earth's water supply and infecting the fish population. This then served as the catalyst for a string of Terrigenesis transformations throughout the world, resulting in a fresh new crop of Inhumans. 

The two-part September 29 premiere of Inhumans revealed that the Terrigen outbreak shown in season 2 and 3 of Agents of SHIELD didn't go unnoticed. King Blackagar "Black Bolt" Boltagon (Anson Mount) sent Triton Mander-Azur (Mike Moh) to Earth to save any persecuted or on-the-run Inhumans and bring them back to their ancestral home of Attilan. 

However, therein lies a problem that proved to be an inciting incident: Attilan is already overpopulated, forced into a rigid caste system that reprimands the weak and rewards the powerful. Realizing this seemingly insurmountable issue would need to be cleared away, Maximus "Maximus the Mad" Boltagon (Iwan Rheon) began executing his plan to overthrow the current royal regime and take over the throne. 

Showrunner Scott Buck explained this link between Inhumans and Agents of SHIELD, clarifying that while the series are undoubtedly connected, Inhumans isn't a spinoff of SHIELD in any way. "In a way [this connection] made it more fun. It was almost like there was a bit of a tease of the bigger Inhumans is going to come out eventually. Inhumans is a comic that's been around from the mid-sixties. It's a world that's already been created. We approached it more from that way, building up from the comic book," Buck told IGN. "We don't see ourselves as an offshoot of SHIELD in any way. We're just all part of the same family."

Even so, Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb stated that the Hawaiian setting of Marvel's Inhumans is meant as a way to isolate the series from the rest of the MCU. "The first eight episodes, it's more about the world of Attilan. It's much more, to use a phrase we all know of, a civil war than one that is going to break out into humanity," Loeb said. "Part of the reason why we picked Hawaii is we did want it to be a contained area that we could go 'OK, that's what happened on an island that doesn't have a lot of communication in the places that they're in and some people are going to know and some people aren't going to know.' But all I can tell you is that where the story ends, I absolutely guarantee, it is not at all what people think after they've watched the first two hours."

Loeb then teased an epic meeting of the minds when discussing future Inhumans and SHIELD connections. "Do I look forward to the day where Daisy Johnson stands in front of Black Bolt and says, 'You aren't the king of me?' Sure. We should be so lucky that both shows get to that day where we're going to see those characters interact," he said. The executive then stated that there's "no plan for that to happen right now," but we do know that "they're in the same world and characters bump into each other. 

Marvel's Inhumans also stars Serinda Swan as Medusalith Amaquelin "Medusa" Boltagon, Isabelle Cornish as Crystallia Amaquelin "Crystal" Maximoff, Eme Ikwaukor as Gorgon Petragon, Sonya Balmores as Auran, Ellen Woglom as Louise, Henry Ian Cusick as Dr. Evan Declan, Chad James Buchanan as Dave, and Michael Buie as King Agon. Perhaps with more Agents of SHIELD links, that cast will grow a bit down the line.