'Not every alien is superhero material and this guy has a bit of a selfish streak,' says Wood
Don’t expect Mon-El (Chris Wood) to suit up and save the day with Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) anytime soon.
After apologizing to Mon-El for blaming the attack on President Marsdin on him because he was from Krypton’s rival planet Daxam, Kara decides to take the young Daxamite under her wing and train him to use his powers. However, these two will have a lot of issues to work through before Mon-El is ready for a team-up, including the prejudices they have toward one another and Mon-El’s selfish personality. Ahead of Monday’s episode, EW spoke to Chris Wood about what Mon-El is like and whether he knows if Mon-El’s arrival on Earth has anything to do with the invasion of the Dominators in the four-way crossover.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Before the season premiered, EP Andrew Kreisberg said having Mon-El on Earth would give Kara a chance to fulfill her original mission of training someone since Clark was already fully grown by the time she arrived on Earth. So, what does Kara and Mon-El’s relationship look like going forward?
CHRIS WOOD: To start out, we saw in this past week’s episode they have a lot of differences because of where they’re from, and that’s actually a really big problem for both of them because their planets really hated each other. It’s putting these two very similar people that are in complete opposition and saying, “Hey, get along even though you have a long history of war and hating each other.” There’s some discrimination on both of their parts and some deep-rooted hostility that they just feel because she knows he’s from Daxam and he knows that she’s from Krypton. They both at least acknowledge that: She admits that she was biased against him because of that at the end of the 203. In 204, you see her trying to guide him and mentor him, but her bias is still at play a little bit and his bias is still at play a little bit, and they need to each let go of some of that and see that a lot of that prejudice comes from a place that’s not based on any real fact, but based on just a history of conflict and it doesn’t mean that they’re bad people just because they’re from different planets.
How does his bias against Kara as a Kryptonian manifest?
Well, there’s that nice moment when he says, “You guys are all high and mighty, and you attacked us without any provocation.” She retorts, “We attacked you?” You can see that there’s misunderstanding because they’re from places that are telling them each to believe that the other is the problem, which is so often the conflict in the real world with wars. It’s often misunderstandings that are taken to the Nth degree. I think he’s more readily open to accepting her as a Kryptonian than she is at first. He sort of calls her out in this next episode a few times, and she doesn’t see it in herself at first. She doesn’t think that’s why she’s frustrated with him and doesn’t think that’s why she doesn’t tolerate his learning curve. They ultimately will sort of move forward and become friendly with each other and learn to find their version of trust even though they’re from these very, very different places.
Is there a specific incident in the field or an enemy that galvanizes them to get to that place of trust?
In this next episode, we start to see a bit of Mon-El’s history and how he came to Earth and his journey from Daxam. We also see some of his abilities explored where Winn [Jeremy Jordan] at the DEO is sort of assigned to testing Mon-El’s powers and seeing what he can do, because they need to figure out how dangerous he is or how much of an asset he can be before they even think about trying to send him out. Not every alien is superhero material and this guy has a bit of a selfish streak. He’s used to partying and living life to the fullest and not thinking of others as much. He’s sort of a fun and free-wheeling kind of guy, and it’s big change that he’s got somebody saying, “No, no, you need to be responsible. You need to be careful with your powers. You need to use them in a positive way.” He’s like, “This is great. I can punch through walls and jump up buildings.” They’re sort of saying, “No, that’s dangerous and you need to keep that in check.” That starts to get explored in 204.
J’onn (David Harewood) is very wary of other aliens on Earth. How does J’onn handle having Mon-El around the DEO? Is there tension there?
I think what’s really brilliant and interesting is that they showed that J’onn didn’t even fully trust Kara and Clark (Tyler Hoechlin) and he was keeping Kryptonite onboard — not to say he didn’t trust them, but he wanted to make sure that they were prepared for anything. That’s a really interesting dynamic to throw in there for them. He’s definitely wary of just allowing anybody who shows up on Earth with super abilities into the facility. At first, it’s a matter of letting him out: Can you trust him on the street to not make dangerous choices and not to put people at risk? They sort of tell him he needs to stay there and work through what he can do and what he can’t do until they let him out. That isn’t necessarily the easiest thing for Mon-El, who is just super stoked to be on Earth and wants to check it out. Going forward in the episodes, there are a lot of fish out of water moments for this new guy and figuring out who he is and what he’s about.
How do the other characters treat Mon-El once they meet him?
Kara taking him under her wing also results in everyone in her life trusting that she’s got it right ’cause they all have such respect for her and what she does. So, Mon-El ends up spending time with each of those people — Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Winn and J’onn and the whole gang, really — because she’s kind of keeping him around because she’s working on him as her project. So, he, as a slight outsider, is brought into that group and we’ll see as the scripts keep coming and the episodes keep coming up just how close he gets with them and if he connects with any of them.
In the comics, Mon-El’s weakness is lead, not Kryptonite. Will we see that aspect of the character incorporated into the show this season?
Yeah, there’s a lot of things from the comic for this character that they’ve taken literally and some things from the comic book history that they’ve sort of taken and expanded on and other parts that they’ve left out for the sake of keeping the character progressing the story forward. Obviously, the lead thing is a big thing in the comics and I’ll be interested to see how they handle that as the story progresses and if they’ll integrate it. But, this version of the character, they’ve taken the inspiration from the comic book and then added a whole layer of dimension to him and made him live on the lighter side a bit more, whereas Mon-El in the comics is sort of saddled with all this really heavy sad stuff. His personality is sort of serious [in the comics] and in this version of the character, we meet him for the first time, really, in this next episode because he was in such a state of agitation and in fight or flight in 203 that once we hit 204, we start to see his real personality come out and it’s a bit less serious.
In the original Invasion comic, Daxam was part of the Dominator-led alien coalition invading Earth to eliminate the growing metahuman threat. Is it just a coincidence that Mon-El arrives on Earth right before the heroes fight the Dominators in the four-way crossover?
I don’t know. I don’t know what the future of the season holds and I don’t actually know where they’re headed with the Dominator storyline, but I’m just as excited as you to find out.
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