Three is often considered enough to make a crowd, but apparently not in James Gunn’s mind. Following the plentiful announcement Tuesday that Isabela Merced, Edi Cathegi, and Nathan Fillion will portray Hawkgirl, Mr. Terrific, and Guy Gardner respectively, Gunn pulled another surprise on everyone that adds an extra throwback to the ever-expanding call sheet for Superman: Legacy.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Gunn has cast Barry star – and formerly Gotham’s Victor Zsasz – Anthony Carrigan as the elastic shape-shifting Silver Age hero Metamorpho in the dual reboot of The Man of Steel and DC’s cinematic multiverse. His real name is Rex Mason and, created in 1965, he’s not the first character one imagines in a Superman movie, but is right up Gunn’s alley.
As a filmmaker, he’s proven he is all about introducing oddball heroes (from Rocket, Groot, and Star-Lord) and villains (to Ego, The High Evolutionary, and Starro) to mass audiences. Carrigan is not as big a comic fan as Gunn although he has a fondness for Metamorpho. The actor, afflicted with alopecia that gives him a striking look, can relate to him.
“I like comic books, but I’m not a diehard, but I did when all my hair fell out, go through the kind of pantheon of all of these bald superheroes and supervillains and made note of all of them,” he said. “I remember seeing Metamorpho and I think he had like a giant…hammer for a hand and I was like, that guy’s badass.”
He continued, “Noted. We’ll store that one away…from what I’ve learned of the source material, he didn’t like the way he looked, and I can really relate to that…You know, when he got his powers he thought it was a curse. That’s something that I really felt as well. In my case, I turned it around and saw it as a blessing.”
Carrigan would add he is “excited to bring that to the table with this character.” His excitement and ambition are interesting to note here. He could be prepping for Metamorpho being a pivotal part of Superman: Legacy. However, the enthusiasm could be for naught if Gunn puts minimal focus on him and leaves the mutant’s screen time at a cameo.
Initially, an archeologist, Rex Mason’s life and path were forever altered when sabotage by chemical industrialist Simon Stagg gave him the ability to metamorphose (hence the name) his body into adapted forms with inhuman properties. These abilities and his origin were depicted in the 2000s cartoons Justice League: Unlimited and the short-lived Beware the Batman.
In live-action, Metamorpho was given an entry point into the DCEU when his rival Stagg appeared in Wonder Woman 1984 – portrayed by Oliver Cotton – as a disgruntled client of Maxwell Lord who wound up doing time midway through the film. Had things turned out differently for the Snyderverse, we might have been talking about The Element Man’s debut in that timeline.