WARNING: the following contains SPOILERS for Invincible season 1, episode 8, “Where I Really Come From.” 

Invincible season 1 finale revealed the true history of the Viltrumite Empire — and the real reason why Nolan Grayson, aka Omni-Man, was sent to Earth. Omni-Man is a Viltrumite: a humanoid alien species with far superior physical abilities than the people of Earth. Invincible season 1 follows the story of Mark, a teenager who develops superpowers due to his Viltrumite heritage. Mark grew up believing his father was sent to Earth for benevolent reasons — but everything he’s ever known about the Viltrumites is turned upside-down when Nolan admits his true mission.


Invincible has gradually dropped small pieces of information to introduce the Viltrumites and their culture. Nolan first told his backstory to a younger Mark in Invincible season 1, episode 1, “It’s About Time.” Nolan explains that the Viltrumites are a genetically superior race with the ability to fly, travel at incredible speeds, and endure physical injuries to the point of almost being invincible. Because of their abilities, the Viltrumites spread themselves across the galaxy to planets with “weaker” species in order to protect them from the threats of the universe — or, so Nolan claimed.

After Mark witnesses his father murder the Immortal, he realizes his father was behind the deaths of the Guardians of the Globe. This prompts Nolan to tell his son the truth about their shared ancestry: Viltrum had a genetically perfect population because they committed genocide against the portions of their population that they deemed weak. By the time Viltrum was deemed a “utopia,” half of their population had been killed. With a genetically unstoppable population, Viltrum expanded to form a galactic empire.

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For the Viltrumites, it wasn’t enough to be an empire; they wanted to be the empire. The Viltrumites, including Nolan, spread out across the universe to planets not to help them, but to take them over. Not having many of their population left, however, the Viltrumites adopted a policy of sending single warriors to take over the planet strategically. If any planets tried to resist their takeover, the Viltrumites would decimate entire planets. Nolan’s memories in Invincible season 1, episode 8, show brief flashes of the planets he’s taken over — including the Unopans, Allen the Alien’s species. Allen does his best to warn Mark of the damage the Viltrumites have wreaked across the universe, explaining that the Coalition of Planets is doing its best to gather enough planets to stop the Viltrum Empire. In the comics, Nolan explains that he ended up protecting Earth while preparing it for takeover because so many other entities were attempting to take over the planet, threatening Viltrum’s claim on the planet.

But Nolan’s reveals didn’t stop with the Viltrumite history — he dropped a major bomb on Mark by revealing that Viltrumites live for thousands of years. Mark and Nolan would both far outlive Debbie, though Nolan admits that the idea isn’t disturbing to him; in one of the most heartbreaking scenes in Invincible, Nolan says he views Debbie more like a “pet” because, as a human, she is far too beneath him and Mark to matter in the grand scheme of things. This, more than anything else seen in Invincible, shows the depths of Nolan’s sociopathic indifference — not only to his romantic partner but to his own son, whose mother he is insulting.

Invincible has now been renewed for seasons 2 and 3, meaning this certainly won’t be the last audiences hear of the Viltrumite Empire. Omni-Man may have left at the end of the finale, unable to deliver the final fatal blow to his son, but chances are he’ll be back — and there will be repercussions from the Viltrumites for his “failure.” The Invincible season 1 finale sets up several stories for the next installment to explore — likely, the Viltrumite Empire will be a big part of that arc.

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