DC's Stargirl: Joel McHale on Playing Starman, Batman; S0204 Preview

Actor & comedian Joel McHale (Community, Stargirl) has been very busy as of late. In addition to voicing Johnny Cage in Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms he has also taken on the role of the live-action superhero Sylvester Pemberton, also known as Starman, on The CW's DC's Stargirl.  In between suiting up as the DC Golden Age bearer of the Cosmic Staff and promoting WB Home Entertainment's sequel to Scorpion's Revenge, McHale sits down with Bleeding Cool's Jimmy Leszczynski to compare his Starman to Johnny Cage and takes a trip down memory lane to share the favorite superhero shows from his youth.

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Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

You are currently starring in "Mortal Combat Legends: Battle of the Realms" as Johnny Cage. Can you compare that character to your role as Sylvester Pemberton, Starman? Is he also a wise-cracking ass-kicker? 

Joel McHale: Well, he's a superhero, so he better kick ass. First of all, when Geoff Johns (Green Lantern, Justice League)calls and says, 'Hey, you want to be in this show I'm making?' I jumped at it like a frickin spider does onto a large bug. I want to do anything that Geoff John is doing because he's a genius. Then to know that I got to shoot my first scene with Luke Wilson (Old School, Idiocracy), who's one of my comedy heroes, which I love telling him. That makes him very embarrassed. I jumped at the opportunity so much. There's a lot of humor in that show. Geoff Johns was really funny. So I was like, yeah, I'll take advantage of that. They're very different characters and it's not like Pemberton.

It really was like a jumping-off point for the cosmic staff to be passed to Brec Bassinger (Stargirl, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged), Stargirl, and so that they're definitely different things. I played Mortal Kombat 30 years ago, and if you had told me as I sat in an arcade in Seattle playing that I was going to be Johnny Cage's voice. I'd be like, 'Yeah, I did something right. I don't know how the hell this all happened, but I did something  right.' Then if you said you get to be a superhero and get to play opposite of some of your own heroes, I would be like, 'I don't know how I got so lucky, but I'll take it.' I'm going to do it and tell somebody stops me. I make a couple more cameos in season two and it's super fun. They haven't released them all yet, but boy, it was really fun to make. I would do it again in a New York minute. 

Seeing you in that costume in the first episode, and "Stargirl" in general,  reminds viewers of the 1966 "Batman" TV show that so many people watched growing up. Did that show influence you at all or do you have any fond memories of it? 

JM: I wish I could have met Adam West. My friend Ralph Garman was very close with him and Conan knew him pretty well, too. I heard he was amazing. Things like that, that show was before my time but the reruns were everywhere. The show was so popular and then you get between that and like Ultraman, and Superfriends and things like that. I watched the Spider-Man television show in the late 70s-early 80s. Those things were, as a boy, very informative things. You wanted to be him (Batman) that meant having no powers, which was such a unique thing about him. Then, everyone else having powers which you also wanted. But what comes through is that every boy and every girl, I think wants to be a superhero.

Now here's a look at the promo, episode overview & preview images for this week's episode "Summer School: Chapter Four":

DC's Stargirl Season 2 Episode 4 "Summer School: Chapter Four": THE DEVIL IN THE SHADOWS — As Pat (Luke Wilson) considers whether he should come clean to Courtney (Brec Bassinger) about Eclipso's past, a surprise visit from Crock (Neil Hopkins) and Paula (Joy Osmanski) catches him and Barbara off guard. A tense run-in with The Shade (Jonathan Cake) provides Courtney with some valuable information. Finally, Cindy (Meg DeLacy) makes her move. Amy Smart, Yvette Monreal, Cameron Gellman, Anjelika Washington, and Trae Romano also star. Lea Thompson directed the episode written by Taylor Steitz.

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Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
stargirl
Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
stargirl
Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
stargirl
Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
stargirl
Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Joel McHale Talks Playing Starman, and Superhero Shows From His Youth
Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Joel McHale Talks Playing Starman, and Superhero Shows From His Youth
Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Joel McHale Talks Playing Starman, and Superhero Shows From His Youth
Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Joel McHale Talks Playing Starman, and Superhero Shows From His Youth
Photo: The CW — © 2021 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

DC's Stargirl stars Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore / Stargirl, Yvette Monreal as Yolanda Montez / Wildcat, Anjelika Washington as Beth Chapel / Dr. Mid-Nite, Cameron Gellman as Rick Tyler / Hourman, Trae Romano as Mike Dugan, Hunter Sansone as Cameron Mahkent, Meg DeLacy as Cindy Burman / Shiv, and Nick Tarabay as Eclipso- with Amy Smart as Barbara Whitmore, Luke Wilson as Pat Dugan, Jonathan Cake as The Shade, Alkoya Brunson as Jakeem Thunder, Ysa Penarejo as Jade, and Jim Gaffigan as the voice of Thunderbolt. Executive produced by Geoff Johns, Greg Berlanti, and Sarah Schechter, The CW's DC's Stargirl is produced by Berlanti Productions and Mad Ghost Productions in association with Warner Bros TV.

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About Jimmy Leszczynski

Jimmy Leszczynski has been blurring the line between comics and reality at SDCC every year since 1994, and was a nerd long before Lewis, Gilbert, and the Tri Lamdas made it cool. Middle aged father of 2 that REFUSES to grow up, lifelong Bat-Fan, and he thinks he's pretty funny.
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