Jupiter’s Legacy, based on the comic book series of the same name by Mark Millar, tells the tale of a group of superheroes who – after gaining their powers in the 1930s – are now guiding young heroes in the present day on how they can follow in their footsteps.
The Crown star Ben plays Walter, otherwise known as Brainwave, whose brother Sheldon Sampson (Josh Duhamel), aka The Utopian, is the leader of the group and abides by a very strict moral code, which includes never killing under any circumstances.
Throughout the season, Walter appears to be a close and loyal ally of his brother, until it emerges that he was the one who sent a copy of powerful supervillain Blackstar (Tyler Mane) in an attempt to break up The Union and unseat his brother as the head of the group.
In the final episode, Walter’s true evil self is finally put on display when he slits the throat of his daughter Raikou (Anna Akana) after she discovers his plan. However, while speaking to Metro.co.uk and other press, Ben said that the episode wasn’t originally going to end that way.
Comparing the portrayal of the superheroes in the comics to the TV series, Ben said: ‘We changed a lot even of the first season. The first season originally, you didn’t see me be a villain by the end of it.’
However, Ben was aware of the direction his character was going to go in as he perused the comics before reading the script.
‘I was completely sucked into that world. That journey of Walter’s is extraordinary,’ he said.
Ben outlined how when he was first sent the script, he was only given ‘two episodes and you sort of sign away possibly six years of your life’.
‘It was great for us all to have the comics because we could see how rich those characters are,’ he stated.
‘I really hope we get a second series, because there’s some stuff that happens in the second season that I can’t wait to play. It’s very meaty.’
While viewers who are unfamiliar with the comics may have been surprised to see Walter’s evil turn, Ben explained that the character’s plan had ‘been years in the making’.
‘I think the change started to happen as soon as he gets his power,’ he contemplated.
‘There’s a line he has very early on, where they first all sit round the big table and someone says, “So why have we been given these powers?” And Walter says, “To rule the world, obviously.” And I think he actually means that.
‘As soon as he gets that power, every ounce of anxiety in him goes because he can read everyone’s mind, he knows exactly what’s going to happen, except for Sheldon. He plays a really long, slow game.’
Ben said that ‘those very machiavellian characters’ always ‘fascinate’ him, both in real life and in fiction, citing examples such as Iago in Othello and Scar in The Lion King.
‘They’re really slippery and shady and I find them endlessly fascinating,’ he said. ‘They’re always there, those characters. The world runs on those people.’
The first season of Jupiter’s Legacy is available to watch on Netflix.
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