Marvel’s Inhumans is having a bit of a rough time.
[Warning: The following may contain spoilers for Marvel’s Inhumans.]
Ever since Marvel and ABC debuted the first trailer for their new series, people have been quick to point out the show’s flaws, most of which concerned Medusa’s hair. A new trailer for the show addresses many of those concerns, but introduces a new version of the character that hasn’t been present in any of the previous footage: Medusa with a shaved head.
For comics readers, this isn’t a new development. Medusa has suffered from the loss of her dangerous locks before. Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee cut off her hair during an emotional arc in their 1998-1999 run of Inhumans. Medusa’s hair was seen being cut off on the cover of The Uncanny Inhumans #15. Medusa was shorn most recently in Marvel’s Royals series. In Royals, it’s explained that Medusa’s body is rejecting the Terrigen mutagen, which allows Inhuman biology to mutate, causing major hair loss.
As a result of the arc in Royals, Medusa loses the ability to use her hair as a weapon, but still proves useful in a fight. She has an incredible physical strength that allows her to take on enemies with her fists alone and the Inhumans’ queen hasn’t lost her sharp wit either. It’s this description of the character that most coincides with the direction Marvel’s Inhumans seems to be taking with her.
Regardless of why Medusa shaved her head, it’s a draining process, based on how the comics illustrate it. If the show is going to follow certain arcs from the comics, the loss of Medusa’s hair is more than just an aesthetic choice.
Considering the flack Medusa’s hair has taken since the earliest trailers, there is a slight possibility that Marvel and ABC decided to find a solution that made sense — one that wouldn’t require spending hours animating the wig. In May, showrunner Scott Buck said animating the wig was a difficult feat, calling it a work in progress at the time.
“It is very difficult. Even now, it’s still a process,” Buck said. “It takes quite a long time in post to make that effect work. We have some of the best visual effects people available working on our show. We still haven’t seen the final version of it; it’s very much a work in process.”
There’s no question that actress Serinda Swan looks much cooler without the wig, rolling into battle and relying on her fists instead of her red hair to take down enemies. The question is how long we’ll have to wait to see the transformation take place — and how vital that moment is for Medusa in the show.
Marvel’s Inhumans will make its debut in IMAX theaters on Sept. 1 for a limited run. The show will be made available to watch on ABC as of Sept. 29.