It’s not surprising that the media we consume is reacting to the fraught political landscape in America after the recent election. Legends of Tomorrow, the Arrow spin-off on The CW, is the latest show to follow suit. Deadline reports the show will introduce its first Muslim-American superhero in Season 3: a hacker named Zari Adrianna Tomaz, who will be played by actress Tala Ashe.
It’s exciting news, especially considering the writers specifically wanted to make the character Muslim, according to executive producer Marc Guggenheim. He’s planning on drawing inspiration from his Muslim sister-in-law to write Zari’s character, hoping that the addition of politically relevant stories will help the show resonate with viewers. “Audiences and creatives are gravitating toward superheroes because it’s wish fulfillment,” said Guggenheim to a reporter at the TCA panel. “They’re looking to find a little bit of hope and a little bit of escapism that quite frankly doesn’t exist.” Another concern was the lack of women on the Waverider, the ship the Legends of Tomorrow team travels on; adding Ashe to the crew helps even things out.
Ashe is cognizant of the role she can play for Muslims, but also women of color more generally. By presenting a character who isn’t afraid to speak out against those in power, the Iranian-born actress hopes to be a role model for those who are struggling under this administration. As the character Zari from the year 2030, she will bring a fresh perspective to the cast. “She brings a new point of view, and when you do a scene with eight different people, everyone has to have a distinct voice or you lose yourself in a scene,” said EP Phil Klemmer.
You can see Tala Ashe when she makes her debut on Legends of Tomorrow, the third season of which premieres on October 10, 2017, on The CW.