In April 2017, with help from writer Al Ewing and artist Jonboy Meyers, the Inhuman Royal Family may have cracked the code of the Terrigenesis origins and will voyage deep into the cosmos to find out in the ROYALS ongoing series. Abdicating their Earthly rule, Black Bolt, Medusa, Crystal, Gorgon, Swain, and Flint—along with Marvel Boy—have left the present to the new generation while they secure the future of the Inhumans out in the stars, hopefully leaving their violent and fractured recent history behind.
We hopped a transport trawler to catch up with the cast of ROYALS and spent the trip chatting with writer Al Ewing about these space bound Inhumans and the literal and metaphorical darkness they now travel into.
Marvel.com: As the book begins, the Royals have made the choice to leave the Earth. As they depart, what is their state of mind? Is everyone equally on board with this choice?
Al Ewing: Pretty much. It’s difficult to get into the whys and wherefores without dropping some massive spoilers, but I’ll do my best. Everyone’s on board—literally on board, it’s a spaceship—but there are different stakes, different things pulling and pushing at them. Some characters are going to be leaving loved ones behind on Earth, and some are eager to get moving and not look back, so all seven of them have their own things going on.
Marvel.com: Amongst the Royals, can you speak at all to each’s motivation for leaving the planet to head to the Kree homeworld?
Al Ewing: Well, the reason for the quest is to discover more about the secret origins of Terrigenesis, so that’s the main motivation there. There are reasons beyond that, but those are going to remain hidden for now; you’ll have to read the actual comics to find out more. In terms of why these specific characters are going on the quest—well, for some, it’s a royal duty, for some, it’s to prove something to themselves, some characters are running away from things on Earth, and some characters are just in it for laughs. Who belongs in what category, you’ll have to wait and see.
Marvel.com: Beyond the shattered Kree planet, they’ll also be visiting other strange corners of the Marvel Universe. Can you share or hint at what some of these other locations maybe?
AL Ewing: I’m kind of interested in the idea that we’re usually in the one galaxy in the Marvel Universe, or at least the one clutch of galaxies. I know the Skrulls are from Andromeda, and presumably that’s not the galaxy the Guardians are guarding [but] they’re all about the Milky Way.
But I like the idea of travelling across the huge gulf between the galaxies and finding some of the really far-off places of the Marvel Universe. A journey to the far stars, the far shores. So we can probably expect a long journey through total nothingness at some point, and some meetings with the creatures that live out there—the space equivalent of deep-sea fish. And on the other side of that…who knows?
Marvel.com: What sorts of threats await the Royal Family out in space?
Al Ewing: Ronan the Accuser is back! And he’s still cosmic-powered from the Black Vortex, a kind of magic mirror that granted various characters enhanced cosmic forms.
Ronan’s developed some new and interesting powers in the wake of the upgrade, but he’s really not been doing much with them except guarding the shattered shell that once was [the Kree homeworld] Hala from intruders—that’s his self-imposed penance, preserving the sanctity of this huge planetary graveyard. So when the Royals come to disturb his solitude—including Crystal, his ex, who broke his heart in the name of an Inhuman future that didn’t end up going all that well—he’s going to get annoyed. He’s going to get pretty accusatory, and given his new power levels, that’s a bad thing for the Royals.
Marvel.com: This will be your first time working with artist Jonboy Meyers. Given what you know of his work, how excited are you to be collaborating on this project and what kinds of things about the book will his art style really be able emphasize?
Al Ewing: From what I’ve seen of his work, I think he’ll be a fun guy to take on a space battle—he’s got a vibrant, energetic style that’ll fit in nicely—but I’m also curious as to what he does with the vast alien vistas I’m planning to get into, as well as things like Ronan the Accuser’s new cosmic-enhanced powers.
Royals by Paul McCaffrey
Marvel.com: The one wild card in the team is Marvel Boy. How does he fit into the rest of the group? What kind of story elements does it open up for you?
Al Ewing: Ah, Marvel Boy.
That was [editor] Wil Moss’ idea. We were batting back and forth ideas for a non-Inhuman to be on the team, and Wil suggested Marvel Boy, who we haven’t really seen that much of since YOUNG AVENGERS finished. And most of the other Young Avengers from that series have had a turn in the spotlight on other books, but not Marvel Boy, so it’ll be fun to bring him back.
Where he fits in: he’s got that Kree connection to the Inhumans, but he’s not actually a Kree in the normal sense. He’s a Kree from another dimension, and what’s common knowledge on Marvel Boy’s homeworld is a forgotten secret in the prime [Marvel Universe]. And Marvel Boy essentially comes to this realization, that the Inhumans have a problem because they don’t know what he knows, and maybe he should tell them. He’s got his own reasons for helping, as well, though. It’s not total altruism.
Marvel Boy opens up some extra-dimensional elements to things; he’s a citizen of the multiverse, so he’s the doorway to some big, interesting concepts, and he’s also a pretty cool character to throw into the mix. I’m essentially taking [YOUNG AVENGERS writer] Kieron [Gillen’s] version and mixing in a little of the original “Lord of Force and Fire” [Marvel Boy co-creator Grant] Morrison talked about. It should be a fun time.
Marvel.com: What can you tell us about the prophecy that while seven go into space, only six will survive?
Al Ewing: “Seven went forth, six returned.”
One of the seven who leave Earth is going to die. I figured it’s not a proper myth without some kind of sinister prophecy going on. Plus, we know the stakes are life and death, they are in pretty much any comic you pick up. But there’s a difference between being told that all of these people could die, and that one of these people will die. I’ve a feeling that’ll raise the stakes a lot, especially as every person on the crew is going to hopefully have a bit of a fanbase by the time I actually pull the trigger.
Set out for the stars with ROYALS by Al Ewing and Jonboy Meyers, taking off in April 2017!