When Hank Henshaw was announced as one of Supergirl's leading characters, many fans naturally assumed that he would follow his comic book counterpart's path to evil and eventually become the Cyborg Superman. However, as we learned in the episode "Human for a Day," this individual was actually J'onn J'onzz, a.k.a. the Martian Manhunter, impersonating Henshaw, and the real man had seemingly died years ago. That seemed to shut the book permanently on Hank Henshaw's tenure in this universe, but taking into account all the big Superman villains who have appeared on Supergirl (including Metallo in the Season 2 premiere), along with Cadmus now being an established threat, there's enough groundwork laid that we possibly could see Cyborg Superman fully realized on TV. That said, if they do it one particular way, it's going to require a major physical overhaul, and I don't just mean giving him artificial limbs and abilities.
Let's recap what we know about the original Hank Henshaw in Supergirl. He was head of the Department of Extranormal Operations, but unlike J'onn, who takes more of a balanced approach though dealing with visitors from other worlds, the real Henshaw was extremely prejudiced against all aliens. So when he discovered a Martian had landed on Earth shortly after Kara Zor-El came to Earth, he was desperate to kill him. Fortunately, he was unsuccessful, as Jeremiah Danvers, Kara's adoptive father and forced DEO recruit, gave his own life to save J'onn. Jeremiah was fatally stabbed, but he managed to push Hank over the edge of a cliff, leaving J'onn to assume Hanks' identity and keep running the DEO. An open and shut case, right? Not really, because let's not forget, in comic book lore, death is rarely permanent. Superhero TV shows aren't as fast and loose with this trope, but that alone is enough to raise doubt about about Hank being truly dead. However, the transition from normal human to Cyborg Superman can't happen without Project Cadmus, the shadowy government facility introduced near the end of Supergirl Season 1.
From what little viewers know about Cadmus, it runs experiments on all things extraterrestrial, be it an inanimate object or a living being. Their work is so controversial that Superman opted not to work with them, and had Kara and Lucy Lane not intervened, both J'onn and Alex Danvers would have imprisoned there for God knows how long. Clearly Cadmus is off-the-charts sketchy, but it gets worse. While prying into Cadmus operative Jim Harper's mind, J'onn learned that Jeremiah Danvers is still alive and being held at the facility. If Jeremiah is still alive, that means there's a good chance that the real Hank Henshaw also didn't die and is being held there. Cadmus has the technology to rebuild the man and turn him into a cybernetic being of destruction. To mix things up, though it shouldn't be David Harewood pulling double duty as both J'onn and Hank on a recurring basis.
No, if Supergirl wants to include Cyborg Superman, they're better off using Dean Cain as the villain. Not only would it be somewhat ironic having him play the role since he previously played the Man of Steel in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, but it would allow Cain to participate more regularly on the show. It was great to see Jeremiah as a father figure in those Supergirl Season 1 flashbacks, but frankly, it would be more interesting seeing him play a villain. Perhaps Jeremiah's body is still functional, but his mind is nonfunctional, while conversely, Hank's mind is still mostly functioning, but his body is damaged beyond repair. Because Cadmus can't help but tinker around with their collection of alien technology, they decide to transfer Hank's consciousness to Jeremiah's body, and not content with pulling off that miraculous feat, they also turn him into a cyborg with the same powers that Kryptonians get under a yellow sun.
It's already been confirmed that Cadmus will have a "more prominent presence" in Supergirl Season 2, but their plans are shrouded in mystery. However, if Supergirl does start getting all up in their business (maybe she'll even bring her famous cousin along to investigate), this group is going to need something to stop her, and a couple of enhanced guns or an amped-up exoskeleton may not get the job done. Not only does Cyborg Superman have the powers to go toe-to-toe with the Girl of Steel, but using Jeremiah Danvers as the vessel is a great way to play mind games with Kara. She'd try not to harm Cyborg Superman at first because she believes Jeremiah is still "in there," but once she realizes there's no chance of her father's mind being recovered, she has battle him with everything she has rather than pull her punches.
Even ignoring the Jeremiah Danvers aspect of this idea, Cyborg Superman is simply too good of a villain not to use in live action. There's no indication that the DC Extended Universe is going to use him, so why not feature him in the TV world? Hank Henshaw's "death" can easily be retconned, and since he already hates aliens, he would welcome the opportunity to get to kill them personally, even if it meant being put into another body. This twist also includes elements of the New 52 Cyborg Superman, who is Kara's Kryptonian father, Zor-El. This time around, it's her Earth father, but it's the same dynamic. It's extremely doubtful we would see Cyborg Superman in the early Season 2 episodes, but don't be surprised if this "bomb" gets dropped on viewers halfway or near the end of the season.
Supergirl Season 2 premieres Monday, October 3 at 8 p.m. EST on its new network home, The CW. If you have your own ideas about how Cyborg Superman could show up, or perhaps don't think it's a good idea to include him, let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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