Doom Patrol actor: Humanity grounds show’s superheroes


Doom Patrol’s Joivan Wade, who plays Vic Stone/Cyborg, spoke to Deadline about the show, what makes an interesting superhero, and why his character is relevant today.

Doom Patrol recently premiered on DC Universe and has proved to be a trippy entry into the ever-growing superhero show pantheon. The team of misfits at the heart of the series consists of characters whose powers all came about because of tragedy. They’re played by actors like Matt Bomer, Brendan Fraser, and Timothy Dalton.

The ensemble also includes British actor Joivan Wade, who had a lot to say about why the show works. While Doom Patrol can go in bonkers directions, its characters also confront mental health issues, which Wade believes makes them relatable.

He explains:

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"It’s probably the most grounded superhero show when it comes to this real element of being a human being and what that means when things go wrong. People can really look at the show and find themselves wondering, ‘Imagine if I had some kind of accident and if I did, what would happen to me?’ It’s a show that has stripped away the glossy superhero stuff — the flying and just kicking-ass, 24/7."

In other words, while the Doom Patrol may consist of a team of oddballs, weirdos, and eccentrics, they more closely resemble the audience than less fallible superheroes like Thor or Superman. This makes it easier to identify with them and more interesting, too.  In particular, the show’s theme of mental illness makes it more challenging than average superhero fare.

As Wade puts it:

"The most interesting superheroes are the ones who… don’t have everything together. The heroes that have everything together they aren’t very interesting at all."

If Wade’s character sounds familiar, it’s because Cyborg has popped up in several iterations in various DC properties over the last few years. The character was portrayed by Ray Fisher in 2016’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and 2017’s Justice League. He was also a character in the cartoon series Teen Titans in 2003 and in the 2018 animated movie Teen Titans! To the Movies. There, he was voiced by Khary Payton.

DC Universe is also planning to include the character in an animated show, Young Justice: Outsiders, where Zeno Robinson will supply his voice.

So Wade’s is far from the only interpretation of Cyborg in TV and movies today. But Wade says he doesn’t feel competitive with the other actors who portray the character. Instead, he feels it provides him with deeper insight.

Wade looked to comic book history to explain his perspective:

"When it comes to comic books generationally there’s always been situations where different writers will have different takes on a certain character, so there’s always been different versions of those characters."

In Doom Patrol, Cyborg is a bit of an outsider because he’s better adjusted than the members of the team. That leaves the character in an interesting position to learn from the Doom Patrol while also teaching them to be heroes.

"He’s the most polished of them all and he uses the opportunity to learn and to improve. For the Doom Patrol members, they aren’t interested in superhero teamwork. Everybody else on the team are anti-heroes and they’re not only anti-‘heroes’ they are also actually anti-‘hero.’ They don’t want these powers, they didn’t want to come on board and become superheroes. They didn’t want any part of it. They’re fighting against it, in fact, and trying to get back into the real world to get their lives back again. So Vic has a real opportunity to show them how to learn to be superheroes but at the same time he’s also learning from them how to act as himself and how to understand himself."

Cyborg was created in 1980 but he’s enjoying a surge in popularity today. Wade observed that the interest likely has a lot to do with how saturated people are in technology now.

"He’s our modern-day superhero. And young people being able to connect with him on that level. And not just him as a person and his personality but also because of his power and what it means to be a cyborg and how his situation makes him a part of the modern-day world in a way that’s different than the superheroes created in a generation without computers."

Wade has a point about what makes superheroes interesting in this day and age. Even the most powerful superheroes are depicted with their fair share of flaws and conflict today, making them more interesting and relatable.

And this is why a show like Doom Patrol works, something that might not have been the case in the past.

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Check out our Doom Patrol recaps starting with episode 1.

Also, what are your thoughts on what Wade had to say about Doom Patrol, what makes for an interesting superhero, and the relevance of Cyborg today? Share your perspective in the comments.

Source: Deadline