You'd think that after years of being The Most Hated Man on TV, Welsh actor Iwan Rheon would want to play the nice guy for a while. But nope, not this guy. Since his time as Game of Thrones's most sadistic, vile antagonist came to an end last season, Rheon has really leaned in to the bad guy thing: First, he portrayed a young Adolf Hitler, and now he's joining the coveted Marvel universe as a — yep, you guessed it — big, bad villain. (Excuse me: a complex antagonist.)
On Tuesday (February 21), it was reported that the 31-year-old had landed the lead role of Maximus the Mad in Marvel and ABC's The Inhumans, an eight-episode series Marvel called an "epic adventure." The series follows Black Bolt, the stoic king of the Inhumans, and his royal family, which includes his unhinged brother Maximus. (The role of Black Bolt has yet to be cast, but this report makes it sound like Rheon's Maximus the Mad is sharing the title of male lead.)
Every superhero origin story needs a villain, and for The Inhumans, Maximus is that. It's inspired casting; Maximus is essentially Ramsay Bolton — another deranged young man devoted to killing his family and taking the kingdom for himself.
Think Thor's brother Loki, only wickedly genius. Maximus makes the perfect foil for The Inhumans, a secluded group of mutated beings, and though his love for his brother runs deep, his thirst for power runs deeper. Still, showrunner Scott Buck suggested to The Hollywood Reporter that the show's antagonist won't be an outright asshole. "Maximus is a complex character," he said. "Likable, charming, tragic, and villainous all in the same moment, and I'm very excited to have someone of Iwan's considerable talent."
Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb also added that Rheon's ability to be "charming, roguish, and still completely unexpectedly dangerous" were crucial to his casting.
If anything, Rheon's casting has the potential to solve Marvel's longstanding villain problem by adding some much-needed depth to the Bad Guy™ roster. Not to mention, Marvel seems to be gunning for a Game of Thrones–scale epic with The Inhumans, and with characters like Black Bolt (Jon Snow), Inhuman Queen Medusa (Daenerys Targaryen), Kamala Khan (Arya Stark), and teleporting dog Lockjaw (Ghost), they're on the right track.