Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Casting Call: More DC Television Stars

The autumn TV season has started Stateside and the return of DC's series is imminent. Except Gotham, which is so imminent it's already started. Time enough for one last roundup of characters and actors joining the Arrowverse and the new Supergirl series.

Violett Beane
Jesse Chambers/Jesse Quick (The Flash)

Wow, we're really getting a full complement of speedsters in the new season of the The Flash. Not content with Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, Keiynan Lonsdale as Wally West and Teddy Sears as Jay Garrick, now they've added young female speedster Jesse Quick. While her backstory in the series will probably adjust this, in the comics she's the daughter of two Golden Age heroes, Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle. She inherits both their power sets, giving her both super strength and super speed. Although reluctant to become a costumed hero, she eventually joined the New Titans team. Violett Beane (great name) is a new face, and the only other credits I can find for her are the films Flay and Slash, neither of which has yet been released.

Franz Drameh
Jay Jackson/Firestorm (The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow)

Firestorm is such a weird, complicated character. In The Flash season one the original Firestorm was involved, a fusion of two characters, Ronnie Raymond (Robbie Amell) and Prof. Martin Stein (Victor Garber). In the comics, there have been various combinations of characters melted together to make Firestorm, including Jason Rusch, who had a brief appearance in The Flash (played by Luc Roderique). Yet, season two and Legends of Tomorrow will be fusing Stein with a wholly new character, Jay Jackson, described as a former high school athlete, who has become a mechanic since dropping out due to injury. Franz Drameh is an Anglo-Gambian actor, still quite new to the screen but known for the excellent Attack the Block and a role in Edge of Tomorrow (Live. Die. Repeat).

Demore Barnes
Henry Hewitt/Tokamak (The Flash)

Initially an enemy of Firestorm (introduced in The Fury of Firestorm in the 1980s), Henry Hewitt gained powers after exposing himself to the same conditions that created the nuclear-powered hero. This gives him the power to generate rings of energy that can destroy matter's atomic structure. The TV version appears to be another victim of the disaster at STAR Labs that created the Flash, Firestorm and the various metahumans of the series. Canadian actor Demore Barnes is best known as Hector "Hammerhead" Williams in The Unit, and has had numerous American TV appearances including as Raphael in Supernatural

Michael Ironside
Lewis Snart (The Flash)

Another villain for The Flash, Lewis Snart is the estranged father if Leonard and Lisa Snart, aka Captain Cold and the Golden Glider. Brief glimpses of their past in season one made it clear that Snart Sr. was an abusive father. He's back with a plan that endangers both his children. Michael Ironside is a huge sf fan and a bit of a legend among genre fans, known for roles in Top Gun, Robocop, Starship Troopers and The Machinist. He has DC experience as well, having voiced both Darkseid and, briefly, Batman, in animated adventures, and also having played Lois Lane's father, General Sam Lane on Smallville.

Tony Todd
voice of Zoom (The Flash)

Zoom is confusing, but I think I have it (I've become more versed in Flash-mythology lately). Eobard Thawne, the villain of the first season of The Flash, is known as the Reverse Flash and is also sometimes called Professor Zoom in the comics. Hunter Zolomon, on the other hand, is an entirely separate character, inspired by Thawne to become the newest Reverse Flash and taking on the moniker Zoom. He's obsessed with the Flash - the Wally West version in the the comics, generally - and wants to make him suffer personal tragedy so that he can become a more compassionate hero. He's more powerful than the original Reverse Flash, having the ability to manipulate the fabric of time around himself.

Tony Todd, owner of the scariest voice in Hollywood and infamous as the Candyman, as well as having numerous other major horror roles and various appearances on genre TV (he has three credits for the Star Trek franchise alone, including DS9: "The Visitor," which was just beautiful). He's only providing the voice for Zoom, so presumably the identity of the villain is to be kept under wraps for a while. In any case, he's the Big Bad for The Flash season two.

Jimmy Akingbola
Reiter (Arrow)

Well, this is an odd one. Reiter is better known as Baron Blitzkreig, and Earth-2 villain first introduced in the 70s but retroactively stated to be active during WWII. He's one of the various Nazi villains who joined the Fourth Reich, as well as affiliating with the Secret Society of Super Villains and Shadowspire. The important thing to note here is that he's a Nazi; in fact, he gained his powers of super strength, heat vision and flight after undergoing operations to save his life after he was wounded by a prisoner in a concentration camp. Yet, the TV version is going to be played by British actor Jimmy Akingbola, who is of Nigerian descent. This is an unexpected juxtaposition, and presumably the TV version will have a rather different character to the comics version, and won't be going by the name Baron Blitzkreig. In fact, the only similarities between Arrow Reiter and comics Reiter is that they're both villains and both have links to the Shadowspire organisation.

Jimmy Akingbola is mostly known for his theatre work but has expanded onto film and television in recent years, including appearances in sitcoms The Crouches and Big School and the film Anansi. Unlike his villainous counterpart, he's known to the acting community as "Mr. Nice." Which would actually be a cool name for a villain, come to think of it.

Stephanie Corneliussen
Valentina Vostok (Legends of Tomorrow)

Another character who'll need to be reimagined to make sense in a modern series, Vostok dates back to Showcase comic in 1977 and was a Soviet spy, who absorbed the powers of Negative Man to become Negative Woman. These powers included the ability to transform into an ethereal energy form, but she lost these powers. She became a generally heroic character and served in the Doom Patrol. How her origin is to be tweaked for the Arrowverse isn't certain, but she's described as an exceptional physicist, and if she's a villain she may be working for Vandal Savage in some capacity. Danish model Stephanie Corneliussen appeared on the acting seen a couple of years ago and has had major roles in Mr. Robot and The Exes.

Rutina Wesley
Liza Warner (Arrow)

Liza Warner is the alter ego of the comics character better known as Lady Cop. She first appeared in her own title in 1975, and her thing, see, is that she was a cop, but she was a lady. In spite of the utter sexism and naffness of this idea, she's actually a pretty impressive character, being a dedicated and skilled detective. Over the years she's been involved in thwarting some serious crimes and her comics have dealt with adult issues, such as sexual health and trauma counselling. She also has links to the Atom (the newer, Ryan Choi version, but she might meet Brandon Routh's Ray Palmer version). The Arrow version of Warner will head an anti-vigilante taskforce and so come up against Oliver Queen and his team. I think we can safely say she won't be calling herself Lady Cop. Rutina Wesley is best known for playing Tara in True Blood and Reba in Hannibal, and I must say I am loving the CW's support of diverse casting across its series. 

Iddo Goldberg
T.O. Morrow/Red Tornado (Supergirl)

Looks like Iddo Goldberg is playing two characters on Supergirl, scientist and creator, unless in this version of events T.O. Morrow actually becomes the Red Tornado. The android hero has had multiple origins in DC comics, but the most recent version is an android hosting an air elemental. (He doesn't appear to exist currently in the New 52 continuity, but I may be out of date here.) Red Tornado has been part of the Justice League and was an advisor and mentor to Young Justice team; indeed, I know him best from his appearance in the Young Justice animated series, voiced by Jeff Bennett. In spite of usually being heroic, his earliest iterations included the Tornado Tyrant, a more villainous turn, and his Supergirl TV persona has been described as a villain,. Still, I wouldn't be surprised to see him ally with Supergirl in the future.

Red Tornado has the usual attributes of superhuman strength and intelligence you'd expect from an android, but also has the ability to control the air and generate wind. Most versions can also assume human form. The perennially villainous Thomas Oscar Morrow has no powers but is a highly gifted engineer and has created numerous mechanical warriors over the years. Iddo Goldberg is an Anglo-Israeli actor most recognisable for roles in British series such as Peaky Blinders and The Secret Diary of a Call Girl and the movie Defiance.

1 comment:

  1. Wesley Simmons here to apply for casting call