When Supergirl hits the airwaves later this year, the Girl of Steel will find herself at odds with government official Hank Henshaw. Superman fans know Henshaw as the Cyborg-Superman, a human whose consciousness rests inside a robot body that looks nearly identical to the Kryptonian hero. Since this series focuses on Kara Zor-El, Henshaw’s interactions with Superman will likely be different than in the comics, but the character’s actor David Harewood just hinted that we might see him follow his comic book counterpart’s robotic journey. Here's what he had to say in a recent interview:
Hank Henshaw, yes, who ends up becoming Cyborg Superman in the comics, battling Superman… So I'm looking forward to that. He's a bit of a supervillain. He seems pretty indestructible. Which I kind of like because I keep getting blown up in these things. I'm kind of looking forward to being indestructible.
In Supergirl, Henshaw will be a former CIA agent that now leads the Department of Extra-Normal Operations in tracking extraterrestrial threats. The Girl of Steel’s arrival on Earth will lead Henshaw to wonder if she poses a threat to mankind. Although Harewood didn’t specify to the Digital Spy whether he would become Cyborg Superman in the pilot or later on in the series, it sounds like we can expect a transformation at some point, but the big question is whether the role will match what happened in the comics or take some creative liberties.
In the pre-New 52 comics, Henshaw was an astronaut who was mutated by a radiation storm while out on a mission in space. After his body fell apart, his consciousness was transferred to a robot body, and Henshaw blamed Superman for the devastating events he and his crew went through. After Superman’s “death” at the hands of Doomsday, Hank subsequently posed as the “reborn” Man of Steel to destroy his reputation, leading to the moniker Cyborg-Superman. Since Supergirl’s Henshaw doesn’t have the astronaut background, it’s unclear whether his transformation will begin out in space, or whether it will be through some other means.
One thing worth noting is that in the comics, Henshaw was able to transfer his mind into Superman’s birthing matrix, which gave him knowledge of the hero’s genetic code and Kryptonian technology. If he pulls the same stunt or something similar in Supergirl, he’s going to learn information about Kara that will give him a dangerous advantage over the heroine. Combined with the fact that his mind can conceivably be transferred to other robot bodies or computers, Henshaw is more dangerous than the average human whose mind is in a robot body… not that those are a common thing.
Supergirl will air on CBS this fall. No air date has officially been announced yet.