ByAlex Hodgson, writer at Creators.co
Writer of things, doer of stuff. Superhero fan and karateka - follow me on twitter @AlexJHodgson
Alex Hodgson

As the return of The CW's Arrowverse is swiftly approaching our screens, fans are eagerly anticipating the return of Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl to fill our evenings with superhero action. A new season brings new stories to be told and new themes to be explored, and one of the key themes for Season 3 of Supergirl will be identity, which have both familiar and new faces doing some serious self-examination. The trailer has given us a glimpse of Kara's struggles with her double life and even features her proclaiming "Kara Danvers was a mistake."

It won't just be Kara who will be exploring her identity, though. J'onn J'onzz will also be struggling with both his Martian side and his human side. This was briefly covered in Season 2 with the arrival of Miss Martian, but it seems his struggles will continue into Season 3, particularly when he reconnects with his long lost father. At some point, M'yrnn J'onzz will be making an appearance in the , and he'll be played by a familiar name to fans.

Carl Lumbly — The Definitive Martian Manhunter

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]

All of Arrowverse shows have respected the legacy of DCTV, and Supergirl will continue this tradition by casting the long-time voice actor for the Martian Manhunter as J'onn J'onzz's father. Carl Lumbly, who's voiced everyone's favourite Martian since 2001's Justice League cartoon, will play M'yrnn J'onzz in Supergirl Season 3 and shake up the Martian's life, as Andrew Kreisberg explained to Entertainment Weekly:

"Carl Lumbly will be joining as J'onn's father. First of all, he's so amazing. J'onn has always felt like an alien. He spent 300 years on Earth and he's always felt different, and other, and felt people were afraid of him, and has always had to hide who he really was. The irony is he becomes reconnected with his father and his father thinks, 'Oh my God, you've gone so Earth-man.' So for J'onn, it's this realization that he's not quite the alien that he thought he was, and what that means to him, and if we're reconnecting with his Martian heritage, how important is that to him?"

The theme of dual identity gives fans an obvious opportunity to bring in J'onn's father, and what better way than to have him brought to the CW screen by the man who many have grown up with as the character. Lumbly's work with the Martian Manhunter is held in the same esteem as Kevin Conroy's work playing Batman, so having him play the father figure to the current incarnation of the character is an excellent way to honour his legacy.

The CW Does A Great Job Of Respecting Actor's Legacies

Helen Slater and Dean Cain in 'Supergirl' [Credit: The CW]
Helen Slater and Dean Cain in 'Supergirl' [Credit: The CW]

This is by no means the first time The CW has brought back actors who portrayed their characters in previous incarnations; they've been doing it for years. Before the Arrowverse was formed, the network pulled off a major coup by casting Christopher Reeve in a guest role in Smallville. cast '90s Flash John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen's father and later, the real Jay Garrick while also including Mark Hamill reprising his role as The Trickster and Amanda Pays playing Tina McGee, the same role she had in the original series.

Supergirl also casts its fair share of legacy actors. Kara's adoptive parents are played by original 1984 Supergirl Helen Slater and Lois & Clark's Superman, Dean Cain, for example. Smallville's Supergirl, Laura Vandervoort, played the villainous Indigo during Season 1 and even DC royalty Lynda Carter dropped by to play the role of President Olivia Marsdin during Season 2. When Laura Benanti became unable to reprise her role of Alura Zor-El during Season 3, The CW recruited Smallville's Lois Lane, Erica Durance, to take over the role.

Legacy actors are hugely important to The CW, not just because it's a nice nod to their former roles, but because fans have grown up watching these actors and are connected to them. Bringing them into the Arrowverse allows older fans to see these actors in a new light and allows them to tackle new roles. Supergirl has more legacy actors than any of the other connected shows, so adding the definitive Martian Manhunter into the mix can only be a smart move.

Are you looking forward to the return of Supergirl? What do you think of the legacy actors appearing in the shows? Let me know in the comments!

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