Sunday, 16 August 2015

Casting Call: DC television villains

Following my round up of the various heroes set to appear on DC series this coming season, here's the current info on the many villains being introduced. This may be updated soon - I've been hoping to see casting news regarding Mr. Freeze, Flamingo, Non and Red Tornado.

Caspar Crump
Vandal Savage (Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow)

One of DC Comics' most persistant and deadly villains, Vandal Savage was born Vandar Adg around 50,000 BC, becoming immortal when he later encountered an irradiated meteorite. Over the millennia, he has been known as Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Jack the Ripper, Vlad the Impaler, Blackbeard and various other violent individuals from well known history. He might even be Cain, and thus the first murderer in historical record. The similarly powered Immortal Man and Resurrection Man are his longest serving foes, but over the years he's faced pretty much every major DC hero (and Captain Kirk). His parallel world alter egos have been even more pernicious, and he has been encountered in various points in the timeline by time travelling heroes. With enhanced strength, speed and endurance, he's a formidable foe, but the real threat is from his tactical genius and his lust for power. Oh, and he's Grendel's dad.

Savage has made several animated appearances over the years, and some very similar characters have been featured in live action series (one time Superman Dean Cain played Curtis Knox in Smallville, a character who was intended to be Savage until this was changed due to rights issues). His upcoming appearance is thus his official live action debut. He's set to be the Big Bad of Legends of Tomorrow, the superteam brought together purely to fight him. Described as having "the greatest army ever assembled," his reign of terror throughout history means they'll be using time travel to battle him. Caspar Crump is a Danish actor, little known in the English-speaking world, will appear in all three live action Arrowverse series. I've never seen him act, but god he looks perfect.

JR Bourne
Jeremy Tell/Double Down (Arrow)

A fairly recent addition to the Flash's rogue's gallery, Double Down is a con artist, a compulsive gambler and a murderer, who uses a powered-up deck of cards that is bonded to his very skin. JR Bourne can be recognised from various genre appearances including Stargate SG-1, Josie and the Pussycats and Teen Wolf. This is the character's first live action appearance, and while he's set to debut in the third episode of Arrow's next season, I would not be surprised to see him return to face his traditional foe, the Flash.

Alexander Calvert
Lonnie Machin/Anarky (Arrow)

Created by the prolific Alan Grant, Anarky is one of Batman's most popular foes, so much that he got his own spin-off series in the nineties. Lonnie Machin was a child prodigy who grew up to use his considerable gifts to further his anarchist, anti-statist activism. Little more than a kid when he first appeared, Anarky is a mirror to the Dark Knight, a vigilante fighting not criminals, but the whole structure of modern society. More an antihero than an all out villain, Anarky is the latest of many Batman-linked villains to be adapted for Arrow (a character he has rarely met in the comics). Although he's been used as the main antagonist for the animated series Beware the Batman and the game Arkham Origins (voiced by Wallace Langham and Matthew Mercer respectively), this will be his first live action apperance. Alexander Calvert has had loads of junior roles on TV.

Adam Copeland
Albert Rothstein/Atom Smasher (The Flash)

From a family of superheroes and villains, Albert Rothstein has been both in the course of his comics career. An experimental procedure by his grandfather, the villain Cyclotron, gave him the ability to control his molecular structure. As a hero, he's also gone by the name Nuklon, and has served in the JLA and JSA for a time. He has, however, gone rogue on occasion, and can be a dangerous foe. In the first season of The Flash, Alber Rothstein is seen on a list of the people who were killed in the particle accelerator accident that gave that series' metahumans their powers. Clearly, he survived, and is set to return as a villain, with the intent of killing the Flash. Given that even such scoundrels as Captain Cold and Heatwave have been brought into the Legends of Tomorrow superteam, I think it's safe to say Rothstein will eventually turn to the side of the angels.

Chris Browning
Ben Krull/Reactron (Supergirl)

A persistant enemy of Supergirl (and her alt-world equivalent, Power Girl), Ben Krull is a Viet Nam vet, who went nuts and massacred a village of people. Serving with him was Joshua Clay, later known as the hero Tempest, who used his energy powers to blast Krull down. This had the side effect of granting Krull radiaoctive powers, which he later used in his villainous career. He's been part of the Suicide Squad and the radiation-themed team the Nuclear Legion, but more often works alone. Lately, he has been given a Kryptonite heart, which naturally makes him a particularly dangerous foe for Kryptonian heroes like Supergirl. He's set to appear in the third episode of the Supergirl series, played by Chris Browning, one of those actors who's been in everything over the years, usually in tough guy roles.

Brit Morgan
Leslie/Livewire (Supergirl)

Livewire is a villainess introduced in the 1990s animated Superman series, before being incorporated into comics continuity, not unlike the more famous Harley Quinn in the Batman series. Voiced then by Lori Petty, the live action version of the character is to be played by Brit Morgan, who has comicbook adaptation experience from The Middleman, but is better known for her role as Debbie in True Blood. Working for the same media company as Kara, Leslie is sure to cause problems both in everyday life and in her supervillain guise. Leslie is converted into pure electrical energy, with corresponding electromagnetic powers. She most recently showed up to menace Batgirl.

Justice Leak
Hellgrammite (Supergirl)

Another Superman villain to be repurposed for the Supergirl series, Hellgrammite was, initially, Roderick Rose (also known as Robert Dobson), an entomologist who experimented with insect DNA, transforming himself into a powerful insectoid creature. As well as the expected insect-y superpowers, such as super-strength, the ability to leap great distances and an inpenetrable exoskeleton, he also had the unpleasant tendency to infect others, transforming them into his larvae. (A hellgrammite is, in the real world, the larva of the dobsonfly.) The Supergirl version is going to be reimagined as more straightforward alien villain, played by Justice Leak, whose name is perfect for a supervillain in itself. He's appeared in several indie films, and is best known for the movie The Great Debaters.

James Frain
Theo Galavan (Gotham)

James Frain has experience in a comicbook universe: he was rather brilliant as Leet Brannis in Marvel's Agent Carter. The English actor has also appeared in True Blood, The White Queen, True Detective, Oprhan Black and Grimm, but is perhaps most recognised for his role in The Tudors. He's playing a new character to the mythos. Theo Galavan is a powerful business, whose altruism hides "a centuries old vendetta." He and his sister (see below) are set to cause chaos in Gotham, leading to various villains taking on their characters.

Jessica Lucas
Tabitha Galavan/Tigress (Gotham)

As with so many DC heroes and villains, the Tigress persona has been shared by several characters, going right back to Action Comics #1 in 1938. However, the Gotham character sounds like she's based on the most recent Tigress, Artemis Crock, who has made it to the New 52 continuity and appeared in several animated outings. Some versions of the character have Wolverine-like animal abilities, including superhuman strength, an enhanced sense of smell and enhanced stamina, but the modern version is simply a highly trained combatant and marksman. Her skill with a bow and arrow is phenomenal (an earlier Tigress became the villain known as Huntress, another identity taken by various individuals, one of whom appeared in Arrow).

Tabitha Galavan is said to be the sister of the aforementioned Theo, and acts as his lead enforcer. Jessica Lucas has appeared previously in Cloverfield, Evil Dead, She's the Man and Melrose Place.

Leo Fitzpatrick
Joe Pike (Gotham)

Joe Pike is set to be a fairly major pest to Gordon and Bullock in the coming season, over the course of several episodes. He's described as the leader of a gang of arsonists, and doesn't have any explicit links to any comicbook villains (yet). Several fans have suggested he's going to become Firefly, a pyrotechnic villain from the Batman comics (in which his identity was one Ted Carson). There's also a reasonably obscure Wildstorm villain named Pike, who DC have the rights to, but it's unlikely he has anything to do with this. Leo Fitzpatrick found fame as Johnny Weeks in The Wire.

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