DC Television Universe: SDCC 2016 by Jerry Whitworth
As expected, the slate of CW television series based on various DC Comics properties made a huge splash at San Diego Comic-Con. Trailers were released for Arrow, Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow as elements from previous Comic Art Community articles were explored yet still more news emerged. As yet, showrunners for Supergirl have remained tight-lipped about her greater connection to the DC Television Universe or who is exactly in that pod from the season finale (though, actor Chris Wood is set to play that character which rumor website Bleeding Cool claims to be Mon-El) but some light was shed on Malcolm Merlyn’s part across all four series (which will be detailed later in this article). Bleeding Cool would also claim Batwoman and Oracle (perhaps even Batman) are coming to Supergirl and, when Supergirl Executive Producer Sarah Schechter was asked if Oracle was coming to the series, she merely responded with a “maybe” (BC would also claim Constantine might return to enter the Friday evening slot to replace The Vampire Diaries but no word of that emerged at the convention). The other DC Television Universe series are not without their own mysteries as The Flash has a new, mysterious speedster (who may or may not be Godspeed who may or may not be Tom Felton’s character Julian Dorn) and Arrow must contend with a new, dangerous foe in Prometheus (unrelated to the Grant Morrison and Arnie Jorgensen character). Lets take a look at what characters are known to be coming to the DC Television Universe.
The mascot of the Justice League of America, Snapper Carr was a youth of Happy Harbor, RI who became tied up in the conflict between the burgeoning League and the intergalactic conqueror Starro. Following the end of that battle, Carr became a fixture of the Secret Sanctuary, the headquarters of the League within Mount Justice. Carr helped ground the League as it became embroiled in alien conflict after alien conflict until he was duped by the Joker into giving him passage into the highly-secure base. The shame Carr carried was unbearable only made worse later when the Key, one of the League’s more notable foes, brainwashed the former mascot into becoming the supervillain Star-Tsar who attacked his former friends. Learning of the trauma and anguish Carr suffered since his leaving the League, Superman secured work for his friend at S.T.A.R. Labs and Carr befriended Supergirl, helping her at times on her adventures. Following an alien alliance to invade Earth, Carr would have his metagene activated giving him the ability to teleport. Leading a group of other newly-awakened metahumans and the alien Churljenkins, Carr and his companions became space adventurers called the Blasters. Consequently, Carr would occasionally find himself fight alongside Mon-El before losing the ability to teleport thanks to a terrible encounter with the Khunds. Carr would adjust to a normal life back in Happy Harbor, marrying and later divorcing, before becoming a life coach to the time-traveling Hourman of the 853rd Century. After a number of adventures, Hourman would return to his time as Carr was persuaded to become a mentor to the Young Justice League. Following that group’s disbanding, Carr would join the espionage organization Checkmate. When the Anti-Life Equation enslaved most of the Earth, Carr somehow regained his teleportation abilities and became critical in the offensive to retake Earth (while beginning a romance with the villainous Cheetah). For Supergirl, Ian Gomez (Cougar Town) will portray Snapper Carr, a journalist appointed by Cat Grant as the editor-in-chief of CatCo Magazine.
Arguably the hardest working cop in the Metropolis police force, Maggie Sawyer was the Captain of the Metropolis Special Crimes Unit, a branch dedicated to the growing emergence of metahumans and aliens in the city. Along with her second-in-command Dan “Terrible” Turpin, Sawyer got into the thick of the building-busting battles between Superman and his menagerie of menaces (originally, Sawyer saw Superman as simply another vigilante and tried to apprehend him until he saved her life). A cool head in conflict, Sawyer became resented in her department as she had no issue ordering her superiors when they became tied up in the metahuman brawls leading to her promotion to Inspector. Eventually, Sawyer would be transferred to Gotham City to head up their Major Crimes Unit until a shake-up in the department due to uncovered corruption saw her demoted to a captain again. Sawyer would go on to begin a romantic relationship with Kate Kane later resulting in an engagement where Kane told Sawyer she was secretly Batwoman. Sawyer subsequently became the commissioner of the GCPD only to step down and return to Metropolis’ police. Floriana Lima (The Mob Doctor) will portray Maggie Sawyer in Supergirl as a police officer in the newly founded Science Police.
Rory Regan is a Vietnam veteran whose father owned and operated Rags’n’Tatters, a pawn shop in Gotham City. When his father and friends found a mattress full of money, they decided to keep it so that Rory could make a future for himself. However, that money was the loot from a heist and when those criminals came looking for it, they tortured the men who found it with electrical wires. Rory would arrive upon the scene and try to save his father who was being electrocuted, getting shocked into unconsciousness himself. When Rory awoke, he found his father and his friends dead and somehow, the veteran had acquired all of their knowledge and skills (such as the strength of a circus strongman, dexterity of an acrobat, and the boxing abilities of a prizefighter). Donning a costume made of rags his father bought for Rory to wear to a costume party, Rory became the Ragman, the Tatterdemalion of Justice and sought justice for his family. Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Rory (who was Irish) was retconned into a Jewish superhero whose costume was a mystical mantle called the Suit of Souls passed through the ages who inherited this cloth from his father. Each rag represented the soul of a wicked man the Ragman could call upon to increase his power. Ragman would join the Shadowpact and the Network and discovered various new abilities from his costume. For Arrow, Ragman will be played by Joe Dinicol (Blindspot).
A chemist stricken with multiple-personality disorder, Albert Desmond became Mister Element when under the influence of his dark persona. Wielding a gun able to alter the elemental structure of what its rays strike, Mr. Element would combat the Flash and be defeated. In jail, Desmond would learn of the existence of the Philosopher’s Stone which had significantly greater transmutative properties than his gun. Breaking out, he found the Stone and became Doctor Alchemy. Over the years, Desmond would alternate between the two identities with a preference to portraying Alchemy. For a time, Desmond tried to go straight, becoming an ally to the Flash and getting married. However, his criminal persona still resided inside him leading to the Stone creating a psychic clone named Alvin Desmond that Albert eventually defeated and absorbed. Desmond returned to crime, but mostly as a means to an end while trying to uncover all of the secrets of his Stone. Tobin Bell (Saw) will play the voice of Doctor Alchemy in The Flash.
Son of Green Lantern Alan Scott and supervillainess the Thorn (Rose Canton), Todd James Rice was put up for adoption after birth and was raised in an abusive household. When he was a teenager, he learned he had a sister named Jennie-Lynn Hayden and, when they met, discovered they both had superpowers. While Jennie-Lynn wielded Starheart energy like their father, Todd tapped into darkness that had bled into his father during a battle with the supervillain Ian Karkull. Taking the names Jade and Obsidian, respectively, the twins became superheroes eventually joining Infinity, Inc., a legacy group for the children and young allies of the Justice Society of America. However, it became apparent that Obsidian had adopted something from his mother as well: mental illness. Paired with the ability to make constructs from darkness, Obsidian required therapy to not only maintain control of his powers but of his own very mind. Unfortunately, Karkull would re-emerge and was able to take advantage of Obsidian’s condition and their shared bond to turn him evil. Eventually, the newly reformed Justice Society was able to capture Obsidian and get him the help he needed. Obsidian would retire and come out as a gay man (repressing being who he was only deteriorated any steps he took to become better), finding love with Damon Matthews, assistant district attorney to Kate Spencer (aka the Manhunter). Obsidian would eventually join the Justice Society and would be wiped out by the Flashpoint. In Legends of Tomorrow, Obsidian will be a member of the Justice Society of America.
Stepdaughter of Pat Dugan, former sidekick of the superhero Star-Spangled Kid, Courtney Whitmore was a rebellious teenager who found the Cosmic Converter Belt that belonged to the Kid in Dugan’s belongings. Upset at Dugan for moving her family from Los Angeles to Blue Valley, Nebraska, Whitmore decided to become the new Star-Spangled Kid in order to annoy her stepfather. The plan worked as Dugan would come out of retirement and build a suit of high-tech armor to protect her as S.T.R.I.P.E. (a play on his former identity as Stripesy). As it turned out, Whitmore had talent as a hero and would be invited to join the new Justice Society of America. Therein, Whitmore befriended Jack Knight, son of Society founder Starman, whose father intended the original Star-Spangled Kid to inherit the Starman mantle and the Cosmic Rod. When Jack retired to raise his son, he passed the (now) Cosmic Staff to Whitmore who became Stargirl. Whitmore became a critical member of the Society, over time developing a romance with Captain Marvel before later admitting to having feelings for another teammate in Atom Smasher. Following the Flashpoint, Stargirl instead joined the Justice League of America. Stargirl is set to be a member of the Justice Society of America in Legends of Tomorrow.
When Hanna-Barbera sought to make a season of Super Friends featuring a group of supervillains, rather than pick a pre-existing group such as the Injustice Gang, Anti-Justice League, Secret Society of Super Villains, or the Super Foes, they created an original team in the Legion of Doom. Composed of thirteen of the most dangerous enemies of the Super Friends, the Legion of Doom transcended the comics and became the most notable group of villains known to non-comic readers (perhaps even today). While only appearing a few times in the comics, the Legion of Doom became a fixture of other mediums involving the Justice League of America. For the second season of Legends of Tomorrow, the Legion of Doom will emerge with Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough), Malcolm Merlyn (John Barrowman), Reverse-Flash (Matt Letscher), and Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) as its members. Further, while not outright stated, there’s indications this group could crossover between all four DC Television Universe series on the CW (as Barrowman has a contract in place to be on all four and Letscher is at least going to be in two, namely Flash and Legends).