We learned a few months back that DC's Legends of Tomorrow will be adding actress Tala Ashe as a Muslim hactivist named Zari Adrianna Tomaz. We learned two important things yesterday from the Television Critics Association summer press tour. The first being that the show won't be using her other comic book name, Isis, because of what that name means to people now. And the second thing is that adding a Muslim character in the current political climate was not a coincidence.
Ashe and executive producers Marc Guggenheim and Phil Klemmer were on hand yesterday to talk about the new character. Guggeneheim started by saying:
You might have heard there was this election. Not to get political, but something that we all gravitated toward in the writers room was making this character Muslim.
Ashe then spoke about what the character meant to her:
Representation is a really powerful thing. 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.
Guggenheim went on to talk about his sister-in-law who is Muslim:
She was talking about how difficult it is to be a Muslim-American in the current political climate. 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.
He was asked about how else global politics have effected the upcoming season:
It's not just politicians — a lot of the heroes of real life are letting us down. We're being let down as a society. I think the reason why the audience and the creatives are gravitating toward superheroes is because it's wish-fulfillment. They're looking to find a little bit of hope and a little bit of escapism that quite frankly doesn't exist.
We're all looking toward the day when 2017 is in the history book and hopefully isn't the last day in the history book. I find the current world difficult to comprehend.
Klemmer went on to talk about the importance of making the character unique:
We want somebody to bring a new point of view. Whenever you're doing a scene with eight people, everybody needs to have a distinct voice … it's interesting to bring in someone who has a totally new perspective on history.
DC's Legends of Tomorrow returns October 10th on the CW.