8:15am PT by Sydney Bucksbaum
DC TV Watch: A Deep Dive Into All Those Comic-Con Reveals
Welcome back to The Hollywood Reporter's weekly DC TV Watch, a rundown of all things DC Comics on the small screen. Every Saturday, we round up the major twists, epic fights, new mysteries and anything else that goes down on The CW's Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and Black Lightning, and Fox's Gotham. Last weekend, all the Arrow-verse series descended upon San Diego for Comic-Con and a ton of major news came out of each panel. Let's break down what all those announcements mean ...
Making history | With the addition of transgender activist Nicole Maines as series regular, Supergirl is pushing LGBTQ onscreen representation and inclusion to new heights. Maines is joining season four as TV's first transgender superhero, Nia Nal, aka Dreamer. Nia is the newest addition to the CatCo reporting team and previously worked under Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) in Washington, D.C. The soulful young transgender woman with a fierce drive to protect others will fulfill her destiny as the superhero Dreamer, but Supergirl is putting its own spin on the character. Known in the comics as Nura Nal aka Dream Girl, she is a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 30th and 31st centuries, and hails from the planet Naltor. Since Supergirl is making her a human, a lot of her origin story is rendered impossible and illogical so there's no telling how she'll come into her precognitive dream powers (or even if that's what her powers will be). What will be carried over is Nura's strength and boundary-pushing, as she was one of the first female Legion leaders. But what will be most interesting to see is how Supergirl portrays her journey as TV's first transgender superhero.
Agent of chaos | The addition of Smallville alum Sam Witwer as Agent Liberty is exciting for fans, but pretty ominous for Kara (Melissa Benoist). Seemingly the leader of the season's anti-alien movement, it's going to be easy to see Agent Liberty as a villain for going directly against Supergirl. But what's fascinating is that in the comics, Agent Liberty is actually a human hero. Trained in the CIA but working solo after becoming disenchanted with the government, he frequently assists the Justice League and Superman, working for the greater good. Is Supergirl going to make the character a villain, or are they veering into political territory by making him an antagonist for Supergirl because of her alien heritage but still an empathetic good guy? That could open up some potentially deep and thoughtful conversations this season.
New look | The Comic-Con trailer didn't feature much new footage peppered in with scenes from the previous season, but the final moment was a true mic drop. Someone, probably Supergirl but maybe her newly revealed clone/double, is in a cool new Supergirl armored suit, complete with helmet. Since Kara doesn't need a helmet to breathe in space, it's likely the upgrade is for a different reason. There are many instances in the comics of Kryptonian superheroes needing armor and helmets, a lot of times because of Kryptonite. Seeing as how Lena (Katie McGrath) can manufacture her own Kryptonite and still is experimenting on black Kryptonite in secret, the new suit might be necessary for Kara to wear at some point this season.
Reminiscing | While Black Lightning did have one piece of news to come out of the panel (Jordan Calloway has been promoted to series regular for season two), that's pretty much all the new intel executive producer Salim Akil had to share. The majority of the panel was a look back at season one and the Comic-Con trailer didn't have any new footage. Not much to speculate on when no new information or footage is shared, so fans will have to keep waiting for now.
Meet the villains | After teasing The Longbow Hunters last season, Arrow is finally introducing the villain team-up this season. The iconic group of assassins takes shape onscreen in the form of three new characters: ruthless and precise killer Red Dart, played by Holly Elissa (Whistler); Kodiak, a beast of a man with brute force, played by Michael Jonsson (Van Helsing); and master of stealth Silencer, played by Miranda Edwards (The Magicians, Orphan Black). Red Dart had a few different prior incarnations in the comics but after The New 52 reboot, she's pretty much exactly how Arrow is bringing her to life. A female assassin with the Longbow Hunters working for Richard Dragon aka Ricardo Diaz (Kirk Acevedo), she actually came up against the Green Arrow and failed to take him out. As for Kodiak, in the comics he's known as the leader of the Shield clan but not much else is really known about him aside from his intense combat skills. And Silencer, also known as Honor Guest, is a relatively new comic book character with her first appearance in 2018. Talia al Ghul's protege is one of the DC Universe's most skilled assassins. But with her source material so new and fresh, Arrow has essentially a blank slate for this female villain.
New chapter, same workouts | As one of the standouts of the Arrow-verse shows at Comic-Con because the season seven trailer was actually chock-full of new footage, fans got their first glimpse of Oliver (Stephen Amell) in his new home: Slabside Prison. And while this season is a totally new chapter in the long-running series now that Oliver publicly confessed to being the Green Arrow and turned himself in to the FBI, it seems like the series has actually come full circle. Just look at the workout Oliver's doing in his cell. Major season one vibes, no? But is that Count of Monte Cristo easter egg a bit too on the nose?
In control ... or out of it | The trailer also revealed a few key plot points to fans, like a time jump of five months taking place in the premiere and that Oliver feels out of control in prison while being targeted by his old foes he helped lock up. Despite his intention to keep his head down and not fight back, he'll be forced to defend himself ... in a brutal nude shower-room fight scene. Yes, you read that right. Arrow is definitely not holding back this season.
A new archer? | With Oliver locked up and Star City cracking down on vigilantes, Dinah (Juliana Harkavy) reveals there hasn't been any spotted in the five-month time jump. But the trailer clearly shows someone in the Green Arrow costume running around town. Could that be Roy (Colton Haynes), freshly exonerated and free to don the hood? Or is it Rene (Rick Gonzalez), trying to take up the mantle to continue Oliver's legacy?
Legends of Tomorrow
Now it makes sense | When it was revealed that Maisie Richardson-Sellers would continue to be a series regular on Legends of Tomorrow despite her character, Amaya, leaving the Legends to live out her life in her home village of Zambesi, fans were left scratching their heads. What could return her to the Waverider? Would the series continue to follow her story in Zambesi? During the Comic-Con panel, Richardson-Sellers herself revealed that she'll be playing a totally new character, Charlie, this season. Charlie is one of the "magical fugitives who slips through" the door that the Legends opened in the time prison. Described as "a rebel without a cause, a trickster on her own mission," Charlie "shakes up" the dynamics on the Waverider as the Legends attempt to figure out if she's a friend or foe. The Arrow-verse is no stranger to introducing new characters for the actors to take on, and this is the latest instance of keeping a fan favorite around past his/her character's expiration date.
Dad drama | With Amaya's exit, Nate (Nick Zano) is already going to be dealing with some emotional drama. So Legends figured, why not up the ante and give him some major family drama on top of that with the introduction of his estranged father, Hank Heywood (Tom Wilson). The Heywood men have an extremely strained relationship, and apparently Nate hasn't told his dad that he's a Legend. How his father will react to finding out his son is following in the footsteps of his father remains to be seen, but it's probably not going to go over well.
Major buzz | Continuing the trend that started last year, season five's big bad is once again a nonspeedster. During the Comic-Con panel, executive producer Todd Helbing revealed that the new villain is DC Comics character Cicada (played by American Pie alum Chris Klein). A grizzled, blue-collar everyman whose family has been torn apart by metahumans, Cicada seeks to exterminate the epidemic — one metahuman at a time. Comic book fans know Cicada as religious fanatic/cult leader David Hersch, who believed he was connected to The Flash as he was struck by a bolt of lightning, allowing himself to absorb the life force of others. Cicada and his followers made it their mission to kill everyone that The Flash had previously saved by using lightning-shaped knives (which can be seen at the very end of the trailer). He even teamed up with Flash's ex Magenta at one point, who was previously played by Joey King on The Flash. But the series isn't following the comic book source material to the letter. "He's not so much a cult leader, but his powers present a challenge for Team Flash that they've never had to deal with before," Helbing said. Will he have the same life-absorbing powers on the series? If Team Flash can't even touch Cicada, that would certainly present issues in how to take him down.
RIP ... | Ending the panel on quite the ominous note, Helbing also revealed that fans should begin bracing themselves now as "there will be a lot of deaths this year." Maybe even a main character or two. Five seasons in, and some series regulars could be getting antsy and ready to move on in their careers, so it's really anyone's guess as to who could be leaving the show . Most likely bet is on Tom Cavanagh, who has played so many iterations of Harrison Wells that it might be time to retire the character for good.