With the series premiere of [DC's Legends of Tomorrow](tag:2937021) just around the corner on The CW, I thought I'd take some time and break down the characters who will be making up this new team of heroes and villains alike. 7 days, 7 articles, with a new character in the spotlight each day.
Yesterday's characters, and the fifth of our series, were Captain Cold and Heat Wave, the elemental gun-toting former villains and wild cards.
Today I'm taking a look at Hawkman and Hawkgirl, the winged, reincarnated ancient Egyptians with a bit of an identity crisis.
The Origin Story
Carter Hall, a.k.a. Prince Khufu, a.k.a. Hawkman (it's...complicated) and Shiera Sanders Hall, a.k.a. Princess Shiera, a.k.a. Hawkgirl, first appeared in Flash Comics #1 in January 1940, created by Gardner Fox and Dennis Neville. Fun fact: Hawkgirl was one of the first-ever female comic book characters. Later on, both characters got retconned origin stories, with Hawkgirl's modern-day name was changed to Kendra Saunders by writers David Goyer and James Robinson in JSA Secret Files and Origins #1. Today, her ancient Egyptian name has been modified to Chay-ara.
Back in ancient Egypt, Prince Khufu and his bitter rival, Hath-Set, an Egyptian priest. Hath-set eventually bests Khufu and captures then kills both him and Chay-ara, his consort at the time. Thousands of years later, the pair is reincarnated as Carter Hall and Shiera Sanders (now Kendra Saunders) in 1940s America. The two eventually find each other and begin dating, adopting the identities of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Due to the way in which they died, their souls are forever linked, condemned to a cycle of being killed, reborn, and killed all over again. But bound together as they are, they find one another again in every lifetime.
Carter Hall creates a metal suit, using the mysterious Nth metal to craft wings, belt, harness, and boots for himself and Kendra. With the properties of the metal in the equipment, it allows them to defy gravity and control their flight via their wings. In addition, the metal also enhances their eyesight, strength and regenerative abilities.
Because of the multiple lives they've led, both Hawkman and Hawkgirl retain all of the experience from their previous lives, so they are both formidable in battle. Each is proficient and deadly with an array of weaponry, particularly melee weaponry from earlier times, such as swords, maces, and spears. They're also extremely capable in various forms of martial arts, which makes them great hand-to-hand combatants.
And, obviously, while not technically immortal, both Hawkman and Hawkgirl can cheat death due to their ability to be reincarnated whenever they die.
The Live Action Version
The live action version of Hawkgirl is played by actress Ciara Renee, and Hawkman by actor Falk Hentschel. Kendra Saunders entered the Arrowverse world shortly before Carter Hall, appearing in a few episodes of The Flash as a brief love interest for Cisco. But Carter showed up in the midseason crossover event and explained to Kendra who she truly was.
Their origin story is mostly the same as it is in the comic books, with a few minor details. However, the big change is that their wings are not metal constructs and part of their man-made suits, but spring organically from their backs when they do what appears to be simply concentrating on it. Likewise, the DCEU has Vandal Savage, and not Hath-Set, as the sworn mortal enemy who chases them through time.
Hawkman appears to be much further along in his abilities, due to Kendra having suppressed the memories of her past and struggling to accept her true nature. But Carter Hall showed moments of being the fierce fighter he is in the comics in the crossover.
The Experienced Ones
The ability to be reincarnated comes in handy when you're facing a near-immortal, time traveling supervillain and agent of chaos. Much of the rest of the Legends team is relatively new to the world of being a superhero, so the experience of Carter and Kendra (once she fully remembers who she is and was) will be invaluable as both are vastly more knowledgeable than the others due to their shared experience.
What's more, they are inextricably linked to Vandal Savage, the very man the team hunts through time. While he's a wild card to everyone else on the team except for Rip Hunter, Hawkman and Hawkgirl have faced him time and time again through the centuries. If there is a weakness of Savage's that the team can exploit, chances are it will be Hawkman or Hawkgirl who knows of it.
So that was Hawkgirl and Hawkman! Check back tomorrow when I'll be breaking down the ultimate villain, Vandal Savage.