How Trump Inspired ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’ to Add Muslim Superhero

Tala Ashe Marc Guggenheim TCA
David Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

When “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” returns to The CW with its third season this fall, viewers will be introduced to a new superhero: a Muslim computer hack from the future named Zari Adrianna Tomaz, played by actress Tala Ashe.

Adding a Muslim character in the midst of the current political climate was no coincidence.

“You might have heard there was this election,” cracked executive producer Marc Guggenheim on Wednesday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills. “Not to get political, but something that we all gravitated toward in the writers room was making this character Muslim.”

“Representation is a really powerful thing,” said Ashe, who plays the Muslim superhero. “When I was growing up watching television, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me. When I think of the kid version of myself, I think it broadens your perspective. What I think is so lovely about this show is that the Legends are this tapestry that represent America today.”

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Tala Ashe

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Stressing that the writers on “Legends of Tomorrow” make a point not to define a character by their race, religion, or sexual orientation, Guggenheim also said that his personal experiences inspired the decision to create a Muslim character this season. Sharing a story about his sister-in-law, who happens to be Muslim, the producer said, “She was talking about how difficult it is to be a Muslim-American in the current political climate. Having a character who’s a computer hacker and is from the future but also happens to be Muslim, it’s a nice, important aspect of her character.”

Asked by a reporter how else global politics have influenced the upcoming season, Guggenheim said, “It’s not just politicians — a lot of the heroes of real life are letting us down.”

“We’re being let down as a society,” Guggenheim continued. “I think the reason why the audience and the creatives are gravitating toward superheroes is because it’s wish-fulfillment. They’re looking to find a little bit of hope and a little bit of escapism that quite frankly doesn’t exist.”

Executive producer Phil Klemmer added, “We’re all looking toward the day when 2017 is in the history book and hopefully isn’t the last day in the history book. I find the current world difficult to comprehend.”

Guggenheim also said that aside from bringing on a Muslim character, the writers were interested in bringing on another female character.

“There weren’t enough women quite frankly,” he said. “It’s something we were looking to address.”

Klemmer chimed in, adding that “Legends” is comprised of an ensemble who all bring different points of view, like Ashe’s character. “We want somebody to bring a new point of view,” he said of introducing new characters. “Whenever you’re doing a scene with eight people, everybody needs to have a distinct voice … it’s interesting to bring in someone who has a totally new perspective on history.”

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  1. Clark Kenzer says:

    I think it’s stupid to just completely use someone like that. If you wanna talk bad about Trump go ahead, but ruining characters and choosing someone based on their race or sexual orientation ruins characters that plenty of comic fans have grown to love

  2. Igo says:

    Is one of her ( oops, I’m just assumming the gender) superpower comes with the explosive belt? Magic flying burqa? Or, and ISIS is a perfect name

  3. conser1 says:

    I really wish they’d quit messing with characters because of friggin politics. The comic book version of Adrianna Tomaz was an Egyptian refugee who was “gifted” to Black Adam by Intergang. Ol’ BA took a liking to her and got with Cappie to give her the powers his wife had when she was alive back in ancient Egypt and thus made her Isis.

    I friggin’ hate it when Hollywood takes that much creative license with a character. This sort of crap is why I never watch any of the shows or read too much of the comic books beyond Batman or Superman.

  4. Ben P says:

    What is the Muslim woman’s character named?- from what a few other articles said her name is “ISIS”.. I don’t see that mentioned in this article at all.

    Did you know that ISIS is a brutal terror organization? Murdering folks, enslaving woman, ruthlessly training children to hate? Also, is it not ironic that woman play a much lesser rule in Muslim majority nations? Most cannot even show their face without fear of punishment.. Husbands are allowed to beat their wives if they misbehave.. the list goes on.. I guess y’all at Variety just turn a blind eye to all that while you gush over stuff like this.

  5. Jimmy Jam says:

    Someone needs to let DC know a woman would not be allowed to dress like that in Middle Eastern Muslim culture. Good thing she’s a ‘superhero’, she’ll need those powers to fight off the constant stonings from her people.

  6. Jaime says:

    Couple of issues.

    One her secret identity is Isis, the name is… unfortunate for a Muslim superhero to say the least.
    Two, her powers are derived from the Egyptian goddess of wisdom, this requires her to, either accept Isis as a divine being or outright worship her, neither being options in Islam and so would make her an apostate.

    So assuming they sidestep these issues by giving her a different origin for her powers and ignoring her comic book code name why not just create a completely original character for the show. It’s not like DC doesn’t have precedent in that department.

  7. Mike says:

    ““When I was growing up watching television, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me. ”

    That’s okay, when I was growing up watching the news out of the middle east, I don’t see anyone who looks like you either. She as much an infidel over there as I am.

  8. ssgtnelson says:

    Well… I was enjoying DC’s stuff, but if they’re going to dabble in politics then I won’t send them my money or time.

  9. Andre says:

    A Muslim superhero named…….ISIS. Do they have any idea how…….

    Never mind.

  10. sam says:

    Creating or adding a character & defined by the gender/race/religion/etc with the intention as a response isn’t representation, it’s tokenism.

  11. Johan says:

    They’ve really discovered the key to be excused from criticism. Add a token aspect to any character. Nevermind that Mr. Terrific derives his very motivation from his pregnant wife’s death. Or that Isis is directly tied to Egyptian mythology. They take the names of characters (Sometimes not even that much.) and skew them into poorly made original characters. I love how they also imply that they wouldn’t have thought to even do this without Trump. So from the start, you know that the character has no reason to exist other than to be our Muslim character.

  12. Alex says:

    How about a Black Jewish Lesbian superhero? It would be hard to come up with name for her.

  13. Kaboom! says:

    “Executive producer Phil Klemmer added, We’re all looking toward the day when 2017 is in the history book and hopefully isn’t the last day in the history book. I find the current world difficult to comprehend.” Maybe, just maybe Phil Klemmer should focus on why the show is the worst of the Arrowverse bunch and make an attempt at improving the writing and acting. Is it so difficult for him to comprehend making a good show?

    • Wawasjohn says:

      I agree with u on the start of ur comment but LoT last season was the best arrowverse show, every Ep was good while flash and arrow where up and down. But if there gonna focus on pc rubbish it’s gonna drop it below supergril

  14. So is someone going to break it to character that last year the show confirmed the Divinity of christ in story.

    • Andrew Lange says:

      I’m an Atheist and an avid comic book reader and the divinity of Jesus has never been an issue for DC. They just take it for granted that there is a very powerful being in that universe called The Presence who may or may not have incarnated in the form of his son. They just don’t treat it as the be all and end all of existence but simply as The Presence manifesting an aspect of itself.

      Jesus in DC is treated as much a character as The Spectre who was actually the Yahweh aspect of The Presence, his vengeance aspect to be specific just as Eclipso represents his wrath. Furthermore, DC also has characters like Iblis who is the Muslim version of the Devil.

    • LT says:

      Epic fail……

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