Terrigenesis is a genetic mutation triggered when an Inhuman is exposed to the mist produced by Terrigen Crystals. It is through this process that Inhumans are able to attain their unique superhuman abilities and/or physical traits.
Origin and General Application
Over five thousand years ago, a rogue faction of Kree known as the Reapers sought to develop super soldiers to aid their empire in its many wars. Following failures on numerous other planets, the Reapers came to Earth and began conducting their experiments on humans, altering their genetic structure in an attempt to unlock enhanced physical abilities.
The Kree's hasty abandonment ensured traces of their project remained on Earth, including several Terrigen Crystals.
Centuries later, a small fringe society of Inhumans had gathered together in China's Hunan Province. Within this society, certain members were allowed to undergo Terrigenesis to obtain their hidden gifts when they reached a certain adolescent age, an age when their elders believed they had developed enough to endure the changes, but were still young enough to adapt to it. One Inhuman, Jiaying, who had received extended longevity through Terrigenesis, was charged with guiding the generations of newly emerging Inhumans through their changes and help them harness their new abilities. One of these new Inhumans was Gordon, who emerged from Terrigenesis with the power of teleportation, but lost his eyes, with a layer of flesh covering the area where his eye sockets once were. Gordon eventually grew to master his powers and took upon himself Jiaying's responsibility of guiding new Inhumans as she had once guided him.
Within the settlement, named Afterlife in English, newly transformed Inhumans would be given a form of acupuncture involving small, shining needles that helped the body to adapt to the thousands of years of evolution which had taken place within moments. The "transitioner," the person who gave the acupuncture, would later train the person in how to use his power.
On the Moon
Fearing persecution from the Humans, a group of Inhumans decided to build a settlement on the Moon, which would later be known as the city of Attilan and only populated by Inhumans. When the people of Attilan would come of age, they underwent Terrigenesis during ceremonies held by the Genetic Council and attended by the Inhuman Royal Family. The candidates for Terrigenesis were put into Terrigenesis Chambers in which a Terrigen Crystal was shattered, releasing the Terrigen Mist. Once the Terrigenesis completed, the Inhumans came out of the Chambers and presented their powers to the audience. The Genetic Council also took samples of their tissues to conduct genetic tests, especially for determining the nature of powers who did not appear obvious at first sight.
Skye entered a chamber in the temple of the Kree City to stop Raina, but she arrived late, as the Diviner Raina was holding glowed and floated onto a pedestal. The entrances to the chamber started to close and the Diviner opened, revealing Terrigen Crystals. The crystals grew and released the Terrigen Mist, which caused Skye and Raina to form black, goo-like cocoons and to petrify. After a few seconds the cocoons crumbled, revealing Skye and Raina had unleashed their Inhuman potential. Jemma Simmons did a chemical analysis of Raina's blood; she found that Raina's DNA was altered on a molecular level with the addition of macro-molecules. Leo Fitz analyzed readings from Skye's heart monitor and discovered that during her transformation, she had a heartbeat of 300 beats per minute, a number he called "inhuman".
During the War Against the Inhumans, Skye used her powers to push a Quinjet filled with artificially-created Terrigen Crystals into the sea; these crystals dissolved in the water, releasing Terrigen Mist, which contaminated the wildlife and were eventually turned into Nature Max Supplements Fish Oil pills which were distributed worldwide. Taking these pills caused other Inhumans to undergo Terrigenesis. One example was Joey Gutierrez; inside his apartment in Seattle, Washington, Gutierrez emerged from a cocoon with the ability to melt metal in his proximity.
Meanwhile, Andrew Garner received the property of Jiaying for analysis; inside a ledger was a booby-trap that released Terrigen Mist, intended to kill any humans who attempted to read the books. Garner was caught by the mist and Terrigenesis occurred; although he initially showed no signs of physical change, once near another Inhuman Garner transformed into a large grey skinned monster who desired killing other Inhumans. Garner gained the alter ego nicknamed Lash.
Jiaying kept an Inhuman, known as JT James, from undergoing his own Terrigenesis because all her tests had deemed him unworthy for powers, and James had also proven to be desperate to be granted his Terrigenesis, as Lincoln Campbell and Daisy Johnson were able to manipulate him. However, Hive, on the other hand, needed to be able to possess his knowledge, so he exposed James to the Terrigen Crystals, changing him to Hellfire. The newly-transformed James was quickly possessed by Hive while he was learning to get control of his powers, which he found to be overwhelming upon gaining them.
Shortly after swaying James, who soon began calling himself Hellfire, Hive recruited Dr. Holden Radcliffe to create more Inhumans by recreating the Kree's experiments in Union City, Wyoming. At first, Dr. Radcliffe attempted to use Hive's blood to recreate the experiments, but it failed to work on the HYDRA volunteers, liquefying them as they screamed in pain. Realizing the formula specifically needed Kree blood, Hive then attempted to capture the two Kree Reapers and use their blood for the experiments. Unfortunately, Hive consumed one and the other was destroyed by S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Alphonso Mackenzie's Splinter Bomb.
Despite the setback, Hive and Dr. Radcliffe continued the experiments, using enthralled S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Daisy Johnson's blood; Johnson had previously been injected with a drug derived from Kree blood. Needing new test subjects, Hive and Hellfire then captured a group of Watchdogs for the experiment. This time, it was successful, but the Watchdogs were reduced to hideous-looking, barely sentient beings quickly dubbed Primitives.
Senator Ellen Nadeer held in her house her Inhuman brother who had been undergoing Terrigenesis for months. After a deal she made with S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Jeffrey Mace, Nadeer brought the Inhuman to a government lab and asked Mace for the help of his agent, Jemma Simmons to free the Inhuman from his shell. Simmons managed successfully to break the Inhuman from his shell, but was immediately taken away from there.
Anton Ivanov sent Tucker Shockley to Ellen Nadeer's office with a Terrigen Crystal in order to make sure whether she was an Inhuman or not. Inside the office, Shockley broke the Crystal, releasing the Terrigen Mist. However, Naddeer did not turn, but rather Shockley himself. As she mocked him, he used his new powers to explode himself out of the shell, killing Nadeer and her staff.
Quake's Second Terrigenesis
Daisy Johnson, upon entering the Framework, found that she did not have her powers, as the counterpart she overrode had never undergone Terrigenesis; in fact, she was unaware she was Inhuman at all, and in fact worked for a HYDRA regime that oppressed Inhumans. However, while she was imprisoned at the Triskelion, Melinda May, a HYDRA operative in the Framework, discovered that HYDRA was brainwashing children and witnessed the supposed terrorist Jeffrey Mace sacrifice himself to save the lives of his agents, the aforementioned children, and her, and as a result decided to defect. Knowing it would be both prudent and right to rescue an Inhuman, May entered Johnson's cell carrying a Terrigen Crystal and asked if it was true that she was an Inhuman. Upon Johnson's confirmation, May dropped the Crystal and watched as the cocoon enveloped a smiling Johnson. Johnson emerged with her powers restored, leading to the Escape from the Triskelion. May was puzzled that Johnson had adapted to her "new" powers so quickly, though Johnson had no time to explain due to the nature of the reason and the fact they were both fugitives, and in addition was suffering aftereffects she likened to "a hangover made of bees".
In an alternate timeline, in the year 2091 Earth had been destroyed and the human survivors lived in the Lighthouse. The Kree Kasius used the human population to expose them to the Terrigen Mist and sell those who became Inhumans to merchants. One of the humans was a young boy named Flint, who became an Inhuman after the Vicar broke a Terrigen Crystal and Flint was exposed to the mist.
Upon contact with the mist, the subject is rapidly encased in a stone-like cocoon. During this developmental phase, the subject's latent Inhuman genes are fully activated. Afterward, the cocoon shatters of its own accord, though some Inhumans, such as Daisy Johnson and Tucker Shockley, may be able to remove it themselves with the aid of their new abilities.
Some Inhumans are able to instinctively demonstrate their new abilities immediately after Terrigenesis. Some may also display radically different physical features.
There is a brief transitional period after Terrigenesis in which the newly transformed Inhuman acclimates to their new anatomy and powers. In rare cases, such as with Lash, the true effects of Terrigenesis may only permanently manifest after a prolonged transition period.
- In the comics, the Inhumans going through the process of Terrigenesis form an actual, insect-like cocoon, and can undergo Terrigenesis multiple times.
- Vijay Nadeer is the first known Inhuman in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to undergo Terrigenesis more than once, when exposed again to the Terrigen diluted in the ocean.
- Daisy Johnson also experienced a second Terrigenesis, although this only occurred in the Framework as the body of her Framework counterpart had yet to undergo Terrigenesis.
- Through Dr. Evan Declan's research on Inhuman genetics and a sample of Auran's regenerative DNA, Karnak was able to bind to a deceased Gorgon new genetic transformation factors allowing the later to be resurrected by a second Terrigenesis.
- Apparently, the process of Terrigenesis causes discomfort to those who undergo it (Elena Rodriguez described it as "rock crawling up [her] body", and Daisy Johnson likened the after-effects to "a hangover made of bees", although the latter's experience maybe due to the nature of her powers).
- The composition of a Terrigenesis cocoon includes Carbon, Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Selenium.
- Through the use of Terrigenesis Chambers the Inhumans of Attilan did not have to break forth of their own cocoons as the devices' mechanisms assisted by clearing away the cocoons before the mists subsided.
- Most Inhumans are selected for Terrigenesis during adolescence as it is seen as an ideal age range to understand the transformation and yet still be able to adapt.
- However, this does not seem to be an enforced norm in Afterlife as Lincoln Campbell underwent Terrigenesis as an adult and many adult latent Inhumans including JT James were still candidates for Terrigenesis.
- On Attilan the age for Terrigenesis is set at fourteen for all citizens however, it also carries a sour connotation as families may be then separated according to Attilan's caste system.
- In an alternate timeline, the Kree Watch expose all children residing in the Lighthouse to the mists when they turn eighteen, in hopes that a fraction will be revealed as Inhumans. Those who undergo Terrigenesis are then put through intense training to become living weapons that the Kree Watch then sell off for profit.
Behind the Scenes
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.19: Failed Experiments
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.12: Who You Really Are
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.11: Aftershocks
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.16: Afterlife
- Inhumans: 1.01: Behold… The Inhumans!
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.10: What They Become
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.22: S.O.S. Part Two
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.01: Laws of Nature
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.07: Chaos Theory
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.16: Paradise Lost
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.18: The Singularity
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.20: Emancipation
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.03: Uprising
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.07: Deals With Our Devils
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.09: Broken Promises
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.13: BOOM
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.16: What If...
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.18: No Regrets
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.19: All the Madame's Men
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 5.06: Fun & Games
- Exclusive: ‘Inhumans’ Director Reveals Obscure Easter Egg Hidden in Trailer