Catching up with Empire Magazine ahead of the show's Netflix premiere in early May, comic book creator Mark Millar teased the multi-generational series as "the most ambitious superhero project ever." Whoa now, Mark — that's a bold statement. What's that you say, now? Your goal was to "try and do the greatest superhero epic of all time"?
The guy is serious and even went so far as to compare the television adaptation of Jupiter's Legacy (based on the book he co-conceived with artist Frank Quitely) to Lord of the Rings, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and...The Godfather Part II? One of these things is not like the other, but it actually makes a lot of sense the more you think about it. The rise of Vito Corleone's criminal empire in the early part of the 20th century — which eventually passes into Michael's control — isn't such a wild comparison, given that the show deals with how children live up to or destroy the legacies left behind by their parents. Flashbacks and all.
Set across the span of infinity (that's not an exaggeration; see the comments below), the meta and deconstructive narrative centers around The Union (a team Earth's mightiest protectors who first gained their powers during the Great Depression era) and their layabout offspring. These trust fund-type kids were born with silver spoons in their mouths and struggle to live up to the historical achievements of their forerunners.
"It's a 50-year story self-contained inside one franchise," Millar said. "It's got a cast of 50 or 60 super-characters. 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, all tied into a superhero story ... Right now, there is nobody with more money than Netflix, which, from a storyteller's point-of-view is the most exciting thing in the world. There hasn't been one conversation where someone said, 'Can we make that explosion slightly smaller?'"
Josh Duhamel (Sheldon Sampson/The Utopian), Elena Kampouris (Chloe), Andrew Horton (Brandon), Ben Daniels (Walter Sampson/Brain-Wav), Leslie Bibb (Grace Sampson/Lady Liberty), Mike Wade (Fitz Small/The Flare), and Matt Lanter (George Hutchence/Skyfox) co-star.
"Compared to a typical year, this feels like 2002," Millar continued. "There's almost no other superhero content out there. And the last big superhero thing was probably Avengers: Endgame, so just when viewers were saying there was over-saturation, now there's starvation, which is the perfect time to come along with something really cool."
Showrun by Sang Kim, Jupiter's Legacy flies onto Netflix Friday, May 7.