×

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

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.”

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.”

More TV

  • Justin Connolly

    Disney Merges All Media Sales and TV Channel Distribution Under Justin Connolly

    Disney promoted Justin Connolly to the new role of president, media distribution, overseeing a single organization that combines all of the company’s media sales and TV channel distribution operations. Connolly previously served as EVP, affiliate sales and marketing, Disney and ESPN Media Networks. Based in New York, he will report to Kevin Mayer, chairman of [...]

  • Sarah Aubrey Eric Besner

    WarnerMedia's HBO Max Unveils Original Programming Team Led by Sarah Aubrey

    WarnerMedia has unveiled its original programming and business operations and strategy teams as the company builds out its HBO Max streaming platform. Sarah Aubrey will lead the original programming group as head of original content, reporting to HBO Max chief content officer Kevin Reilly. Joining her on that team are Joey Chavez as executive vice [...]

  • 'Lego Masters' Series from Brad Pitt's

    'Lego Masters' Competition Series from Brad Pitt's Plan B Ordered at Fox

    Fox is continuing to build its non-scripted slate, block by block. The network has put out a series order for reality competition series “Lego Masters,” which hails from Endemol Shine North America and Brad Pitt’s Plan B. The quirky format, which pits all-age contestants against one another to design and construct Lego masterpieces, bowed on Channel [...]

  • Bert and Ernie

    Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt and 'Sesame Street' Among 2019 Kennedy Center Honorees

    Sally Field, Linda Ronstadt, “Sesame Street,” conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and R&B veterans Earth, Wind and Fire have been selected as the 2019 Kennedy Center Honorees. The kudos will be handed out Dec. 8 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C. The award to “Sesame Street” marks the first time the prestigious laurel [...]

  • Ben Whishaw Mary Poppins

    Jack Huston, Jason Schwartzman, Ben Whishaw Among 12 Joining 'Fargo' Season 4 Cast

    FX has announced that Jack Huston, Jason Schwartzman and Ben Whishaw will be joining the cast of “Fargo” for its upcoming fourth season. The cabler previously announced that comedian Chris Rock would also be jumping aboard the hit limited series in a lead role. Season 4 of “Fargo” is set to air in 2020. Schwartzman [...]

  • MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. - "Toldja"

    'Agents of SHIELD' to End With Season 7 at ABC

    The Marvel series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” will conclude with its upcoming seventh season, Variety has confirmed. “Next summer’s Season 7 will be the last for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” a message posted on the show’s official Twitter account read. “Thanks to our fans for allowing us to be the longest-running Marvel TV series to-date.” The series [...]

  • Lily Neumeyer

    MTV Ups Lily Neumeyer to Executive Vice President of Development

    Viacom-owned MTV has promoted Lily Neumeyer to executive vice president of development from senior vice president of development for MTV and VH1. She will now oversee the unscripted development slate and strategy for MTV, VH1, CMT, Logo and MTV Studios, reporting to president of entertainment Nina Diaz. “Lily is a creative force of nature and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content