The CW’s DC-based Legends of Tomorrow show has added a new cast member for its upcoming third season – but chances are, the character won’t have the same identity they do in comics.
Tala Ashe (American Odyssey) has been announced as playing Zari Adrianna Tomaz – a character who shares a name with the DC superheroine Isis, but for somewhat obvious reasons, likely won’t use that name on the show. Isis actually originated in the 1970s TV show The Secrets of Isis – which made up half of a Shazam/Isis Hour and was actually the first ever live-action show to star a female superhero lead (predating both The Bionic Woman and Wonder Woman).
The original Isis was named Andrea Thomas, and was brought into comics shortly afterwards as a little-remembered footnote in Shazam history; until a modern revival in 2006’s 52 weekly series saw her recreated as Adrianna Tomaz, an Egyptian woman rescued by Black Adam who eventually becomes his wife, gaining the goddess Isis’ powers in the process. We won’t spoil what happens after that, though, because if you’ve never read 52 you really should, it’s fantastic. The concept also made a brief appearance in a Smallville episode of the same name, where Erica Durance’s Lois Lane was possessed by the spirit of the character.
According to Variety, the Legends of Tomorrow version of the character will differ somewhat significantly from all of this, beyond simply not having a name that now has rather less pleasant connotations. Zari is described as:
a Muslim-American woman from the year 2030 who lives in a world of contradictions — technology has brought about incredible change in her future, but too bad human nature hasn’t kept pace. Fear, prejudice and a lack of care for the planet have forced Zari to become a “grey hat hacktivist.” Described as a computer nerd with a wry, combative attitude, she is a woman living a double life who doesn’t realize that she has secret, latent powers derived from an ancient, mystical source.
Still, though, it’s notable as the first time in the current era of DC movies and shows that a Shazam-related character has made it into live-action. Does it bode well for the prospect of ever getting to see that Black Adam or Shazam movies? Your guess is as good as ours on that one, frankly.