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With Marvel's Inhumans due out later this year, fans have been eagerly awaiting news about one of Marvel's most groundbreaking projects. As the months have passed, we've finally gotten a cast, and set photos are beginning to emerge from Hawaii. But here's the interesting question: Why has Marvel set up shop on Oahu, one of the Hawaiian Islands?
Filming under the working title "Project Next," Marvel has transformed a 3,700-acre former Navy facility into a production base. Pacific Business Review also reports that Jean Higgins, a co-executive producer on Lost, is on site.
We don't yet know much about the Inhumans series, but this shows just how serious Marvel, ABC and IMAX are about this unusual partnership project. Marvel Entertainment typically films in California or New York City, so filming in Hawaii — potentially in remote locations — isn't going to be cheap. The project is part-funded by IMAX, though, and it's being filmed with IMAX cameras; it's clear that all parties want to produce something that's pretty much of movie quality.
But why is Marvel filming in Hawaii? The earliest interviews already told us that the series would be at least partially set on the Moon, so what's going on?
MCU Exchange speculates that Hawaii is being used to represent the early history of the Inhumans, when they lived in a remote location before making their home in the Himalayas — and, subsequently, on the surface of the Moon. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has already revealed one remote Inhuman colony, Afterlife, so it's possible this could be another. Supporting this theory, initial set photos have included Black Bolt standing outside a Starbucks!
That said, given we already know IMAX cameras will be used to film action sequences set on the surface of the Moon, it may well be that Marvel intend to use the volcanic craters of Oahu to simulate a terraformed lunar environment. No surprise, then, Reel News Hawaii has reported rumors that Marvel is about to start filming at Diamond Head Crater.
Believe it or don't, the volcanic craters of Hawaii are pretty similar to a lunar environment - so much so that, over on the Big Island, NASA used the slopes of Mauna Loa to simulate the moon when training austronauts back in the 1960s. While Diamond Head is vegetated, as Oahu's volcanoes are extinct, it could very easily stand in for a terraformed environment set on the Moon.
What Is The Future Of The Project?
Meanwhile, the Pacific Business Reviews has given us an exciting insight into the future of the project.
"The entire production is expected to create hundreds of jobs in the Isle film industry as well as pump between $80 million and $100 million annually into the state’s economy, rivaling and even surpassing such Hawaii-filmed TV series such as ABC’s 'Lost,' and CBS’ current series 'Hawaii Five-0.'"
The key point here is that Pacific Business Review is reporting on the expected impact on the local economy — annually. Given that the site discusses Navy Region Hawaii's lease to ABC in detail, it seems pretty certain that Marvel has given assurances to the Hawaiian authorities that they'll be sticking around. If this information is correct, then Marvel is already looking forward to Inhumans Season 2 — presumably why they chose the somewhat bland working title "Project Next."
It's clear that Marvel is playing the long game with Inhumans, and personally I have to confess I'm hoping for a self-contained series that doesn't interact with the human race at all. I'd love to see Marvel produce the kind of fantastical power play made so popular by Game of Thrones, and Diamond Head looks set to become a terraformed environment. This looks to be one of Marvel's most intriguing projects to date...