It has been announced that Lance Henriksen will be playing Obsidian in the second season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
Henriksen is a veteran in the science fiction, action, and horror genres, with some of his more famous roles being the android Bishop in the Alien film franchise, FBI Agent Frank Black in Fox television series Millennium, and as the voice of Admiral Steven Hackett in the Mass Effect franchise.
He is set to join the Justice Society of America, alongside the following announced characters of Hourman (Rex Tyler) played by Patrick J. Adams, Commander Steel (Henry Heywood, Sr.) played by Matthew MacCaull, Vixen (Amaya Jiwe), played by Maisie Richardson-Sellers and Dr. Mid-Nite, who has yet to be cast nor has it been revealed if it will be the Charles McNider, Beth Chapel, or Pieter Anton Cross version of the character.
The character of Obsidian is the focus however, he was born Todd James Rice and is the biological son of the Golden Age era Green Lantern (Alan Scott) and the Golden Age villain known as Thorn (Rose Canton). His twin sister is the superhero Jade (Jennifer-Lynn Hayden), who like their father is powered by the Starheart, giving her extensive energy manipulation powers able to affect gravity, radiation, heat and light in a large number of ways.
He has various shadow-based powers, that originate from his father’s exposure to Shadow energy after a battle with the scientist and archaeologist Ian Karkull. Thus Obsidian is connected to the Shadowlands, a dimension of primordial, quasi-sentient darkness. This allows Obsidian the following powers:
- Shadow Form: Possessing the power of shadows, he taps into the dark energy of a dimension known as the Shadowlands, and can turn into a living, three-dimensional shadow by merging with his own shadow, turning it completely black. If he wished he can merge whatever he is wearing with his shadow as well. He can turn any part or all of his body two-dimensional.
- Superhuman Strength.
- Superhuman Stamina.
- Shadow Possession.
- Size Alteration.
- Shadow Constructs.
- Darkside View: With limited telepathic abilities and by coming in contact with a victim’s shadow he can cause them emotional agony by subjecting them to their innermost fears. It does not work against beings of “pure evil” like the zombie Solomon Grundy and the mutated albino gorilla called Ultra-Humanite.
Arguably one of Obsidian’s most famous story arcs is that of his sexuality, as one of DC’s few openly gay characters. While a member of the Justice League of America, in response to his friend Atom Smasher’s (Albert Rothstein) question if he was gay, Obsidian did not fully answer, instead asking
“Why must there be labels?”
Obsidian appeared in Manhunter #18 where he shares a kiss with the federal prosecutor Damon Matthews, with his sexuality confirmed by the series writer Marc Andreyko, stating that:
I didn’t want to make a character gay unless it felt organic. So, the list was pretty short. Then I remembered when Obsidian was in the JLA years ago and Gerard Jones, the writer, danced around the issue. I went back and read all my Infinity, Inc.’s and although Todd dated women, it was always a mess.
Andreyko said that DC was supportive, wanting a “visible gay character” and that it was “a general void in the DCU that needed exploration”. Geoff Johns, longtime writer of JSA, also stated his support for the idea.
This relationship was still active as of Justice Society of America #43 (October 2010), until the eventual 2011 revamp and relaunch by DC Comics of its entire line of ongoing monthly superhero comic books, called called The New 52.
Thus this does lead to the question will Henriksen’s incarnation of the character also be gay. If yes, then Obsidian will be the third LGBTQ character to appear on CW Television Network’s DC adaptations.
Which has lead to the positive response by the executive producer Phil Klemmer to KSiteTV:
“Yeah. That’s certainly our intention. We haven’t written this episode yet, but yeah. That is [the intention].”
This will mark two positive LGBTQ+ superheroes to grace TV in the coming year, as Henriksen’s Obsidian will join The Ray.
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