Stargirl Actor On Why Role Was 'A Dream Come True,' Despite That Tragic Death

The CW

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(Image credit: The CW)

Spoilers ahead for the tenth episode of Stargirl Season 1, called "Brainwave Jr."

Stargirl passed a point of no return in "Brainwave Jr." by seemingly killing off a key character, and not one of the adults who fans might have expected to die first. Henry King Jr. stood with Stargirl and the other young heroes up against his father and Dragon King, and it looks like the young man paid for her heroics with his life. Assuming Henry really did die in "Brainwave Jr.," Stargirl proved that the stakes are very high while also saying an early goodbye to actor Jake Austin Walker. Despite the tragedy, however, Walker shared that his role was a "dream come true."

Henry died in "Brainwave Jr." when he fought to hold off his dad and let Courtney and her group escape, and the situation was dire enough that even the other teen superheroes who had hated Henry were desperately trying to get him away from Brainwave before it was too late. When Henry told Brainwave that he would never join him and become a villain, Brainwave used his powers to collapse the ceiling on his son. If this was Henry's swan song on Stargirl, he got a pretty great final stand.

Jake Austin Walker spoke with CinemaBlend's Nick Venable about "Brainwave Jr.," and he shared how he felt about playing Henry:

It's just such a dream come true for me. As an actor, this was my endgame. Playing a superhero was always endgame. I always felt like, you know, if I got lucky when I was older, maybe I could play a hero. Doing it so young, and doing a character that not only was so cool, but just had such a wicked arc, it really is a dream come true. I have to pinch myself all the time, I'm telling you.

Stargirl gave Jake Austin Walker the opportunity to play a superhero younger than he ever hoped, and he clearly isn't bitter than Henry's story came to such an early end considering Stargirl has already been renewed for a second season (with a change). Of course, prior to "Brainwave Jr.," Walker might not have had too many people agreeing with him that Henry counts as a hero!

This episode established that Henry would stand with the good guys against his supervillain father, even when those good guys didn't especially want him on their team at first. In fact, if Courtney hadn't learned the bombshell reveal that Henry's mom was a superhero who also happened to be Starman's sister, she might not have welcomed him onto the team either! Finding out that they were cousins definitely warmed Courtney up to him.

Jake Austin Walker revealed that he originally didn't know what joining Stargirl would entail or the history of his character:

I was a little on the fence, because they wouldn't tell me what my character entailed; who he was, what he does. And so Geoff Johns called and he's like, 'Hey, man, can you come in? Let's just like talk and everything.’ And I was like, duh. If Geoff Johns is calling, of course. Are you kidding me? So I get over there, and we have a conversation, and that's when he kind of spills the beans about everything about Henry and who he is, and who his character is. That's when I immediately went and started reading through the entire Infinity Inc saga, and just kind of seeing if they were going to go down the [same] route. Because since his mother is Mary, the Gimmick Girl, I was very curious if they were going to go down the route of Henry finding out who his uncle is. And I didn't even know if he was going end up battling his dad, or if it was going to be a matter of Henry doing more research on that.

When a man like Geoff Johns -- a.k.a. former President and CCO of DC Entertainment and creator of Stargirl -- requested a meeting, Jake Austin Walker didn't hesitate. Finding out about what playing Henry would entail and who the character became on the pages of DC Comics clearly interested the actor, without even knowing about the climactic battle with Brainwave that resulted in Henry's tragic death.

Henry certainly was -- or is, if fans are lucky and he comes back -- a character with a lot of layers. With a hero for a mom (and uncle), a villain for a dad, and Stargirl for a cousin, he was bound to be pulled in different directions. Learning that his dad killed his mom definitely helped push him in the right direction. Jake Austin Walker shared what it was like to play such a layered character a heroic mom and villain dad:

It was really crazy, and for me as an actor, it was so much fun to play with, right? Because you’re basically playing the anti-hero, basically getting to understand that you're cut from both threads essentially. So yeah, I did a deep dive into the history of this character and everything, and I basically freaked out, man. I had no idea he was an anti-hero, and that's just like the coolest thing in the world to me. You know what I mean? Like Red Hood and Jason Todd and all that stuff has always been the coolest to me. So yeah, I freaked out. I flipped. It's just cool: superhero mom, villain dad. I mean, come on.

According to Jake Austin Walker, Henry's status as a good guy who's still not quite a hero like Courtney and Co. was "so much fun." Interestingly, the actor cited Jason Todd as an example of a DC Comics antihero, and Jason Todd was of course Batman's second Robin who died and then came back very different after a dip in a Lazarus Pit. While Henry wasn't exactly pulling guns like Jason Todd as Red Hood, fans can always hope that Henry pulls a Jason Todd and resurrects somehow!

Even if Stargirl isn't technically part of the Arrowverse where Lazarus Pits have had a part to play, nobody is ever really dead in a comic book project without a body, right? And even with a body there's no guarantee! Sure, Henry was crushed beneath a lot of debris that should have easily killed him, and his death raises the stakes in some huge ways for the final few episodes of Stargirl Season 1, but I don't want to say that he's gone for good just because he was seemingly killed off.

Find out if Jake Austin Walker's Henry is really gone for good and how Courtney and Co. handle his death with the next new episode of Stargirl, which releases on Monday, July 27 on DC Universe and Tuesday, July 28 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW. For more viewing options now and in the coming weeks, check out our 2020 summer TV premiere schedule!

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).