After the very first set photos emerged of what seems to be a tiny bit of footage being filmed for the highly anticipated Arrow/The Flash spinoff- with a rumoured title of "Legends of Tomorrow," though that's far from confirmed- we've finally got our final hero in the original lineup cast, joining the likes of Arthur Darvill's Rip Hunter and Ciara Renée's Hawkgirl.
Joining the cast now to fill the final spot alongside them is Franz Drameh, who you may know from Edge of Tomorrow- the problem? This 'mystery hero' from the initial casting description remains an engima, and we've got next to no hints at who he's playing. Well, I say next to no- because there are a few. So let's break them down here.
The casting call/role description
Way back when they announced the spinoff we got casting calls which were deliberately broad, labeling the likes of Hawkgirl as "an ancient warrior" or Rip Hunter as a "Han Solo-esque rogue who travels through time." A few of us guessed it, but there was nothing solid there- and yet, compared to "mystery hero," AKA Drameh's role, they seem wealths of information.
MYSTERY HERO | An African-American male in his twenties will fill the role of a regular, street smart guy who unexpectedly gains powers, and then, as part of the team, regularly quips about the insanity of the situations.
Speculation on this ranged from Static to Blue Beetle, and today we thought we may get some answers, as the character was announced just as Hawkgirl and Rip Hunter was. Enter problem number two: we still have no idea who he is.
‘Jay Jackson’ – a former high school athlete, whose pro-career was derailed by injury. Now making ends meets as an auto mechanic, Jay will come to have a surprising affiliation to the S.T.A.R. Labs crew.
That does call some heroes instantly to mind, and speculation from fans has varied accordingly. Let's have a look at that here.
For starters, let's be very clear- there is no such character as "Jay Jackson" in DC Comics lore, and the odds of them bringing in a whole new character seems, well, unlikely. It could just be Drameh is a brand new character, but I won't settle for that just yet.
Now, two things hearken to thoughts of Cyborg very quickly. First, "a former high school athlete whose career was derailed by injury." Cyborg, for those who don't know, was a football player, Victor Stone, before he was involved in a horrible accident which led him to getting his cybernetic components but left him unable to play football. Secondly supporting the notion of Cyborg- he's a mechanic. Seems a stretch, but when you hear 'mechanic' and get asked to connect that to a DC character, you think of Cyborg. Thirdly, above all perhaps, is his "affiliation to the S.T.A.R. Labs crew." Not only is that a direct reference to Team Flash, solidifying how connected these shows will be to each other, S.T.A.R Labs is just about always tied down to Cyborg, and are the providers of his cybernetics.
Now, what doesn't fit? "Unexpectedly gains powers." Cyborg does not have powers, it's a stable of his character, but I think the word usage is an ambiguous one. Powers, realistically, would entail cybernetics which give you, well, a hell of a lot of power. It's also entirely possible the character has changed since the casting call. What else feels odd is that Cyborg is destined to be in Justice League, played by Ray Fisher, and will make his debut in Batman VS Superman. With minor restrictions on the DC TV Universe imposed, it seems unlikely they'd just now introduce a new one, but with two Flashes, I wouldn't rule it out.
Wally West/Kid Flash?
While the most popular version of Waly West widely is the wise cracking red head we all know and love, the New 52 Wally West is also African American, and The Flash has definitely leaned towards the New 52 in a lot of instances as to where it seeks its inspiration from. With hints that Wally West could join The Flash being dropped for ages, this doesn't seem a stretch- coupled with the fact that Bart Allen has been hinted at to be Kid Flash on The Flash, not necessarily Wally straight off.
It seems an odd move to introduce the character on the spinoff, not The Flash itself, but if it worked its one I could get behind. It would certainly explain his connection to the S.T.A.R Labs team, and also explain why they're shrouding him in so much mystery- the alliteration of his name also helps! The problems with this, though, I feel outweigh the suggestions he is. Barry is also in his twenties- you can't have Flash and Kid Flash basically the same age, it defies the purpose. It seems odd to bring him in here, too, as I said, and 'former high school athlete' and 'injuries' don't really suggest Kid Flash.
Remember, it's entirely possible that the character Drameh is playing has been race-swapped- that's really no big deal these days. But, it seems odd that he would be called "African American" in the casting call without out that being linked to the character directly. So, who else could he playing?
Often mislabeled as 'Static Shock' in line with the animated show, this character's name is actually Static. He's African American, he has powers, and with the likes of his cool hover disc and gear, a connection to S.T.A.R Labs and injury as a catalyst doesn't seem too far a stretch.
While not strictly African American, Blue Beetle has a been diverse character, and I can see that happening. DC didn't let Arrow use Blue Beetle as they had 'other plans' for the character, and so instead they used Ray Palmer, rather than Ted Kord- it's possible they had bigger plans for him, and have since abandoned them and put him on the spinoff instead, but it seems unlikely.
A character with a lot of history, Jefferson Pierce has gone through a lot of versions. In some, he doesn't have powers, and instead draws them from a gadget like device akin to what STAR Labs would make for him- in others, he's a metahuman. He's street smart, he's African American, and he also has athletics in his back story. What doesn't add up here is why they would go to such lengths to keep him a secret, but we'll have to wait and see.
So, as you can probably tell, we're basically playing a guessing game here. If you have any bombshell realizations or any speculation, be sure to let me know in the comments! For now, we'll just have to wait until December for the spinoff- but we've got a few weeks of Arrow and The Flash left to ease that pain. I've got a full trailer breakdown of Arrow's Al Sah Him here, and The Flash's The Trap here, just as extensive, if you need something to read- otherwise, stay tuned!