• Interviews

“Jupiter’s Legacy” Cast on Craft, Character and Costume

When comic book writer Mark Millar sold his Millarworld publishing company to Netflix in 2017, the streamer was given access to an expansive library of potential new franchises. Included in the list of comic book properties was the much-loved superhero saga Jupiter’s Legacy, which first launched in 2013 and has now been turned into an original live-action television series with a cast that includes Leslie Bibb, Josh Duhamel, Ben Daniels and Matt Lanter.

The show’s expansive story spans decades as it follows the world’s first generation of superheroes who look to their children to continue the legacy. Alongside a present-day tale of millennial angst, family affairs and the challenges of superhero responsibility, the action also dives into the origins of the heroes in flashbacks from the Great Depression in the 1920s and 1930s.

Mark Millar has seen many of his comic book creations turned into big-budget Hollywood projects, including the movies Kick-Ass, Kingsman and Wanted – but the acclaimed writer believes Jupiter’s Legacy stands apart from anything else he’s worked on. “This is the one I’ve wanted to do my whole life,” an enthusiastic Millar explained at Netflix’s WonderCon panel for the sci-fi project. The Scottish writer hosted an informative session with a number of cast members, who were eager to showcase the show’s potent themes of family, power and loyalty, as well as discuss the intricate costuming and makeup process for their characters.


In Jupiter’s Legacy, Josh Duhamel plays Sheldon Sampson, who is also known as the world’s greatest superhero, The Utopian. Describing what attracted the American actor to the sci-fi project, Duhamel revealed, “First of all, it’s a family drama about this dysfunctional group of superheroes and how they became who they are over a span of 100 years. To me, that was the most interesting part of it; the dysfunction of this family and how they’ve dealt with being who they become from the 1930s until now. To me, that was a different look at this genre. It’s different to anything I’d ever seen before.”

For Leslie Bibb, the decade-spanning story was a large part of the appeal of the project. Speaking at the WonderCon panel, the actress explained, “I hadn’t done a period movie or anything like that [before]. I mean, our costume designer was a woman named Liz Wolf and she was so brilliant. I had pantyhose from 1930. They came out of a box and I was like, ‘Oh my God!’ There’s an authenticity to that that’s really exciting.”

The Spandex-heavy superhero costumes were another useful tool to help the actors step into their characters. “Whenever we were in those costumes, I immediately felt different,” continued Bibb. “I feel like there was something so remarkable about being in them. I felt like we all looked so dope. We looked fantastic and it really did help you. It would change the way you moved.”

Bibb portrays Grace Sampson in Jupiter’s Legacy, who is also known as the powerful superhero, Lady Liberty. Grace is seen in a variety of eras, much to the glee of the actress. “You see us when we’re young and we’re filled with dreams and hopes, and then you track it to us as adults and 100 years later,” she said. “I don’t think you get to see someone in the beginning and someone at the end like this in many shows.”

The fact that the actors play the different ages of their characters in Jupiter’s Legacy was an added bonus for the English actor Ben Daniels, who plays Walter Sampson (AKA Brainwave). The Crown star admitted, “That was one of the things that spoke to me. They said, ‘You’re going to be playing all the ages.’ I was like, ‘This is really cool.’”


Unfortunately, the prosthetics and makeup process used to help define the appearance of the many characters in their various stages of life wasn’t so enticing for the cast. “You have all this rubber stuck to your face and then the wig goes on top – but the worst bit is the facial hair,” said Daniels. “The super suits look fantastic, but they are the most uncomfortable things to wear. Three layers of really, really tight, unbelievable, weird Spandex that crushes your body. [You have] these collars with fake beards and rubber faces in incredible heat. And every five minutes, someone comes along and squashes the hair back into your face.”

There are plenty of superhero projects in the mainstream, but Ben Daniels argues that Jupiter’s Legacy stands out from the crowd through its novel approach to the genre. “We’re really used to seeing glib, hip, sassy superheroes and supervillains – but this has a real gravitas as a story,” the actor explained. “It’s first and foremost a drama. And then, suddenly, we are superheroes as well – but it’s the drama of it all that is really, really, really strong. That’s definitely what pulled me in when I first read it.”

“I love American writers like Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller,” he said. “You take the family as a nucleus and all the characters are gray. It’s not black and white, which is force-fed at the moment. Either you’re canceled or you’re not. No, these characters are all shades of gray. It feels very, very fresh and also really current.”

Adding to the notion of the current feel of the show, Duhamel added, “In what story have you seen a superhero go to therapy? This dude is actually in therapy! I think that’s brilliant because he at least has the wherewithal to go, ‘You know what? I don’t get this. I need to talk to somebody.’”

Therapy arises for Sheldon Sampson when he has to juggle the trials and tribulations of modern-day parenting with the challenge of being a formidable superhero. “I’ll speak from my character’s perspective,” Duhamel said. “He can basically do anything except relate to his daughter. She’s the thing that he can’t understand. He cannot figure out what he’s supposed to do. I think any parent can relate to that.”

“He’s the guy that people come to for answers, but he’s as confused as everybody else,” he said. “I love the idea that there’s this subversive aspect of the story that makes it so human and so relatable. The fact that this guy is searching for answers… And he actually goes and talks to somebody about it. I’ve never seen that in this genre before.”

In a TV and movie landscape where many superhero stories are remakes and reboots, it is not lost on the cast that they are part of an all-new, original show that brings fresh faces to the genre. “We get to be the first version of it,” Duhamel declared. “We’re not remaking anything from before. This is the original, and I feel like Netflix has done such a beautiful job. They’ve given us a clean palette to create something awesome and I feel like that’s what we’ve been able to do. I feel very lucky.”