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WonderCon 2021: Jupiter's Legacy cast on why the show is 'the ultimate' superhero project

By Josh Weiss
Jupiter's Legacy

Earlier this week, we reported on some quotes from Mark Millar about Netflix's upcoming television adaptation of his seminal comic book: Jupiter's Legacy. Millar, who created the IP with artist Frank Quitely, teased the sheer scope of the show, stating: "The story starts in 1929 and runs until the end of time. It runs through all time and space and explains the mystery of human existence." He also described the project as "the greatest superhero epic of all time."

The show's ensemble cast doubled down on that bold sentiment during a virtual WonderCon panel released Friday.

"I feel like this is the ultimate [superhero story] because it's so detailed and you get to stay with these characters — with all their flaws — for over a hundred years," said Mike Wade, who plays the role of Fitz Small/The Flare, the heart and soul of the world's greatest team of heroes known as The Union. "It's like an evolution of the genre. I don't think there's any going back after Jupiter's Legacy."

Ben Daniels (Walter Sampson/Brain-Wave, older brother of Josh Duhamel's Sheldon Sampson/The Utopian) added that there's some real "gravitas" to the story. "It's first and foremost a drama," he said, "and then suddenly, we are superheroes as well. But it's the drama of it all that is really strong ... these characters are all shades of gray and it's really exciting to see how that becomes a metaphor for America. But then it's much more universal well ... It feels really fresh and current. It feels like it could be written now with the state of the world."

Watch the full panel below:

Spanning several generations, Jupiter's Legacy is exactly about what its title implies: legacy. After six regular people gain super-human abilities during the Great Depression, they form a group of the greatest heroes the world has ever known. Fast forward a century later and we see that the team's offspring are struggling to live up to their parents' pristine reputations.

"You see us when we're young and we're filled with dreams and hopes. And then you track it to us as adults a hundred years later. I don't think very many shows you get to see someone in the beginning and someone at the end," explained Leslie Bibb (Grace Sampson/Lady Liberty and Sheldon's wife). "There's something epic about the story of this." 

Since the narrative stretches across such a great length of time, the actors playing the various members of The Union needed to undergo several hours worth of makeup to appear as senior citizen supers.

"It's like a whole prosthetic, so you have all this rubber stuck your face and then the wig goes on top. The worst bit is the facial hair, in combination with the super-suits" Daniels said. "They look fantastic, but they are the most uncomfortable things to wear. Three layers of really tight, unbelievable weird spandex that kind of crushes your body. You have them on for an hour and you have to constantly fight against them. And then these collars with these fake beards and rubber faces in incredible heat was unbearable."

For his part, Duhamel thought he was already too old to be cast as a comic book character. "I thought that I'd passed this point in my career," he admitted. "I didn't think that I was ever gonna get asked, but here we are ... I have this awesome, original show coming out and I never thought I was gonna be a part of one of these. We get to be the first version of it. We're not remaking anything from before. This is the original and I just feel like Netflix has done such a beautiful job. They've really given us a clean palette to go create something awesome. I feel like that's what we've been able to do."

Jupiter's Legacy premieres on Netflix Friday, May 7. Watch the teaser right here. Matt Lanter, Elena Kampouris, Andrew Horton, and Ian Quinlan co-star.