Super strength. Lightning speed. Telepathy. These are just a few of the superpowers the heroes of Netflix’s new series “Jupiter’s Legacy” unleash on their enemies. But after a century of putting criminals behind bars, these superheroes’ efforts to restore justice have become increasingly controversial.
The series is based on Mark Millar’s comic of the same name. The Millarworld production focuses on the lives of those working for the Union, a group of superheroes who achieved their powers during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Ever since, they have been led by The Utopian (Josh Duhamel, “Safe Haven”), husband to Lady Liberty (Leslie Bibb, “The Lost Husband”) and father of two young heroes. Unfortunately, the standards he sets for his children are practically impossible to reach, creating a complicated and toxic family dynamic.
Times have changed, though, and the corruption of the 21st century far surpasses that of previous decades. As society changes, the original code set by The Utopian — to never kill — is being called into question by both civilians and Union members alike. With a new generation of heroes and a different set of problems, the values once upheld are becoming outdated. And so, even when the superhero suits come off and the crime-fighting ceases for the day, the drama continues.
At a recent roundtable with members of the cast, Andrew Horton, who plays The Utopian’s son, Brandon Sampson, noted that the show differs from other superhero stories. He stated that, unlike Marvel and DC productions, “Jupiter’s Legacy” is more of a “human story … it’s almost more of a drama than a superhero, action-packed show.” This is because the plot doesn’t just consist of repetitive fight scenes between good guys and bad guys. Rather, it focuses on the underlying character relationships: a mother and daughter; a father and son; a sister and brother. In fact, it’s with the exploration of these dynamics that Millar’s comic series combats this idea of good versus evil altogether.
Matt Lanter (“90210”), who plays villain George Hutch, discussed this aspect of the show. Specifically, he spoke about the misconception that the world is either black or white, moral or immoral, which occurs throughout the show and creates many rifts amongst the characters. Yet, as Lanter stated and the show aims to prove, “there’re shades of grey everywhere,” and that underneath the masks and without the capes, these superheroes are humans living in an imperfect world.
“Jupiter’s Legacy” is not like the average Superman or Batman movie. This doesn’t mean it lacks the action and entertainment these other productions provide audiences with; there is just a greater reflection on real-life issues. Horton spoke about how this factor of the show made it that much easier for him to relate to a character that he is, in actuality, very different from. He stated that he “couldn’t necessarily connect with super speed, super strength, and the ability to fly, but coming back to the human characteristics is what makes the show so interesting … so much more than your run-of-the-mill superhero show.” This sentiment was echoed by other members of the cast.
After speaking with some of the “Jupiter’s Legacy” actors, it became clear how passionate each was about the show and the potential it has. As Lanter confidently pronounced, “I truly think that the show, and Millarworld as a whole, has the chance to be massive … it’s going to be Marvel, DC, and Millarworld.” I suppose we’ll just have to hold him to that.
Catch Volume One of “Jupiter’s Legacy” on Netflix, starting May 7.
Daily Arts Writer Molly Hirsch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.