‘Supergirl’ Star David Harewood Blasts ‘Boring’ Cyborg Superman Role
The very mention of “Hank Henshaw” on Supergirl had DC fans excited for Cyborg Superman, at least until the series pivoted to find David Harewood a meatier Martian role. The concept was revisited in Season 2, though Harewood now agrees with fans the result was “cheap-looking” and “there wasn’t really much to it.”
It was before the series began that Homeland alum Harewood was first cast as Hank Henshaw, a character known in comics as a grotesque cyborg replacement for Superman. Both Harewood and producers quickly realized the concept wasn’t living up to expectations, and rewrote that Henshaw was actually Martian Manhunter J’onn J’onzz in disguise, with the real Henshaw having died years earlier.
Season 2 surprisingly opted to rescue the discarded Henshaw pitch, as the character was revealed alive and well, albeit as a cyborg in Cadmus’ employ who nonetheless adopted the moniker of Cyborg Superman. Harewood minced few words about the twist in a recent Supanova interview, admitting he’d come to dread filming it:
I don’t like playing Cyborg Superman. It’s boring. They didn’t really flesh it out, they didn’t really write for the character. They just gave me this rather cheap-looking mask and no costume, and said ‘Okay, you’re Cyborg Superman.’ But it didn’t really pan out – they didn’t really go into why he was a cyborg, how he became a cyborg, what his powers were … it was just kind of randomly calling him ‘Cyborg Superman.’
I was very excited about it at first, but then I very quickly realized that there wasn’t really much to it … so, it’s kind of boring. Whenever I’m walking to my trailer and I see that costume, I just switch off. Because I know it’s going to be a really boring day.
For what it’s worth, this isn’t the first time Harewood has been candid about his role on the series. When Season 1 rewrote Henshaw into Martian Manhunter, the actor admitted it came as a relief:
I must say, I was struggling with Hank Henshaw. I didn’t particularly enjoy the pilot. For me, it was a lot of exposition. I just couldn’t find an angle that was interesting with Hank Henshaw. He was all, ‘I don’t like aliens, I don’t like Kara.’ It was all a bit too one-dimensional to me.
Henshaw/Cyborg Superman was absent from the Season 2 finale, but might Season 3 find a new angle to curb Harewood’s disdain, or ignore the character entirely? Supergirl will swoop into Comic-Con 2017 later this month with new details, so stay tuned.