General spoilers below for Jupiter's Legacy, so be warned if you haven't yet watched!
Netflix's Jupiter's Legacy marks comic book creator Mark Millar's first adaptation through his mega-deal with the streaming service - the Big Bang of the Millarverse, if you will. The big-budget drama flips between two different timelines, one focusing on the familial superhero team The Union in the present day, and one set in the past that tells the story of how those heroes (and eventual villains) came into being. Star Wars voice actor Matt Lanter, who winningly brought The Clone Wars' Anakin Skywalker to life, features heavily in the 1930s timeline as George Hutchence, the charismatic BFF to Josh Duhamel's Sheldon Sampson. He's mysteriously absent from most of the modern storyline, however.
It's likely the Jupiter's Legacy creative team felt there were already enough moving parts to introduce in these first eight episodes that George's post-1930s future as Skyfox would be easier to explore in a second season without having to sacrifice anything. Which meant the pressure was on Matt Lanter to make George as memorable and impactful a protagonist as possible without entering into 95% of the superpowered action sequences. So as one might imagine, the actor was first able to find parallels between his name-changing hero-turned-villain in Jupiter's Legacy and the one he portrayed in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Speaking with press ahead of Season 1's premiere on Netflix, Lanter said this when asked to compare playing George and Anakin:
On the George/Skyfox side of things, Matt Lanter is speaking to elements that viewers aren't entirely privy to at this point, but are recognizable to those who read Mark Millar and Frank Quitely's Jupiter's Legacy and Jupiter's Circle comic series. There's no reason to go into that here, since it's hard to know what might change from the comics for the TV story, but suffice to say George and Walt's chiding and unfriendly spark grows into an inferno. But the comparative points he made are completely apt, with Skyfox arguably being quite a bit more of a relatable villain than than that evil bastard Darth Vader.
The bulk of George's development throughout Jupiter's Legacy Season 1 is tied to his closeness with the Sampson family, hinging largely on his friendship and support of the increasingly maddened Sheldon. So Matt Lanter had to dig into those moments to show audiences what George's true essence was, and in that way, the actor was also able to reflect on his time portraying Anakin Skywalker, particularly in developing his relationship with Ahsoka Tano (as voiced by the excellent Ashley Eckstein). Lanter , who may one day voice Anakin again, said this when asked how he approached his onscreen kinship with Josh Duhamel:
Josh Duhamel, Ben Daniels, Leslie Bibb, and Mike Wade were each able to show the before-and-after versions of their characters throughout the first season of Jupiter's Legacy, and how Sheldon's Code affected their relationships with family members and the outside world. Conversely, George only allowed Matt Lanter the time to play up the kind of hero that George Hutchence, father of Ian Quinlan's future-villain Hutch (somehow), might be as a member of the Union without twirling his metaphorical mustache with any villainous verve. And while it's almost hard to believe that anybody could ever buy into Sheldon's scrawled map and his ship scheme, Lanter plays George in such a way that feels truly genuine (also somehow).
I asked Matt Lanter about his thought process in going a full season where George is spoken of as the world's greatest supervillain without ever really showing audiences that he's anything more than loyal and dependable. In his words:
While he was speaking more loosely about the character's future, Matt Lanter spoke to the idea that the Netflix TV series from showrunner Sang Kyu Kim (who took over after creator Steven S. DeKnight's exit) might lean into Skyfox's notoriety as a mega-double-decker-supervillain might be overhype promoted by the likes of the hyper-telekinetic Walt as Brainwave, whose string-pulling actions behind Sheldon's back were revealed in the Season 1 finale. Could it be possible that the live-action Jupiter's Legacy will reveal all of George's villainy was just Walt's mindgames? Lanter continued:
It would be a massive gut punch for Jupiter's Legacy comic fans, and anyone who digs the TV show, if Netflix didn't order up a second season to wrap up everything that wasn't shown in Season 1. Plus, Skyfox is pretty badass, as seen both in the source material and in his brawl with Brainwave, so who wouldn't want to see more of that? And if they wanted to give him a weapon that looked like a certain weapon wielded by a certain Sith lord, that'd be cool, too.
Jupiter's Legacy Season 1 is available to stream in full on Netflix, with hopefully more news coming soon about whether or not we can expect to see Season 2. Everything in our 2021 Summer TV schedule should offer something to dive into while waiting, though.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.