The creators of the superhero television series DC’s Legends of Tomorrow unveiled details Wednesday about a new Muslim, computer-hacking hero character ahead of the show’s third season, with the character’s addition coming as a direct response to Donald Trump’s election as president.
Executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Phil Klemmer and actress Tala Ashe, who is set to play the new character, named Zari Adrianna Tomaz, were on hand at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills Wednesday to introduce fans to the new character, according to Variety.
Guggenheim told reporters that the character of Tomaz was added as a direct result of the election, with the writers all “gravitating” toward creating a Muslim character. But he also reportedly stressed that the Legends of Tomorrow writers never solely define a character by their race or religion.
“Having a character who’s a computer hacker and is from the future but also happens to be Muslim, it’s a nice, important aspect of her character,” Guggenheim said, according to Variety.
Guggenheim also said that adding the character of Zari allowed them to have another female character on the show, which had been a goal of the creative team before the upcoming season.
In the DC comic books, Zari Adrianna’s superhero name is Isis. But according to the Wrap, the producers decided not to use the character’s hero name, due to its obvious current connection to the terrorist group.
“We just didn’t want the baggage,” Guggenheim said. “Especially given that we are doing a Muslim superhero, it was just like opening a can of worms.”
Zari reportedly meets the rest of the Legends team in the year 2042, where she’s using her hacking skills for activism against the repression of a police state.
“Representation is a really powerful thing,” said actress Tala Ashe. “When I was growing up watching television, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me. When I think of the kid version of myself, I think it broadens your perspective. What I think is so lovely about this show is that the Legends are this tapestry that represent America today.”
Legends of Tomorrow isn’t the first comic book property to introduce a Muslim character recently. In 2013, Marvel Comics introduced its first Muslim character to headline a Marvel comic book, Kamala Khan, who went under the moniker Ms. Marvel. The character first appeared in Captain Marvel #14.
Legends of Tomorrow returns for its third season on October 10.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum