Mehcad Brooks Interview: ‘Supergirl’ Season 4 and Guardian Unmasked

The CW’s Supergirl‘s Mehcad Brooks was among the show’s cast members who made the trip to the San Diego Comic Con this summer. In addition to taking part in the series’ panel with fans, the cast participated in roundtable interviews in which they did their best to not give away any real spoilers for the show’s fourth season. Brooks came close to giving away what he described as a huge spoiler, but censored himself before he could provide any really juicy details about season four.

The new season of Supergirl arrives on Sunday, October 14, 2018.

How did you feel about Guardian’s identity being revealed and what’s going to happen with that moving forward?

Mehcad Brooks: “Good question. How I felt about it was amazing because it not only was dealing with unmasking, it was dealing with how people feel about the cultural dynamic of being African American. It’s almost like we got to put racism where it belongs in the cultural concept of bullying. It’s the same thing as a kid talking about this person’s weight. It’s the same thing as this kid talking about this person’s sexuality. It’s something that this person never chose and can’t help but just because it’s the status quo, we’re supposed to deal with it. It’s not right.

So, sexism and racism belong in the culture concept of bullying. So, I was really happy that we got to do that. And in fact, let’s be real about it, most black superheroes wear a mask. Can anybody name one black superhero that doesn’t wear a mask?”

Luke Cage.

Mehcad Brooks: “Luke Cage! We got one! Anybody else? No. I think that in the writers room that came to our attention as well. We’re like, ‘Wait a second. That’s not cool.’ We take these black actors and we throw a piece of iron over their face or some sort of technology over their face. That’s not really the point.

When I was growing up, I didn’t have anybody who looked like me to look up to. Now when I go to these Comic Cons or I go to the grocery story, I see a young black kid five or six years old and he’s like, ‘Mr. Olsen…?’ I’m like, ‘That’s not my name.’ (Laughing) No, just joking! So, I’m really happy that we’re actually tackling those issues. It’s gonna be real.”

Where would you like to see James go as a hero this season?

Mehcad Brooks: “Mars. I love Mars. (Laughing) Oh, you mean like… I know where he’s going and I like where he’s going. Let’s just say that because of the unmasking there’s some fallout that happens and some support – some unexpected support because he’s human and he’s doing something that normally aliens do. Or mutants – genetically enhanced humans do. So, he just happens to be this human being taking his life in his hands being brave and heroic, and some people appreciate that. And then some other people don’t. It becomes really cohesive to the culture of the what’s happening… What can I say?”

Can you say if his suit changes?

Mehcad Brooks: “I can’t say any of that. Sorry. They just briefed me and I just almost just told you a huge spoiler.”

Supergirl Season 4 Episode 1 Mehcad Brooks
Mehcad Brooks as James Olsen/Guardian and Katie McGrath as Lena Luther (Photo: Bettina Strauss © 2018 The CW Network)

You were talking about the heroes you looked up to growing up. Does a film like Black Panther make a difference?

Mehcad Brooks: “I think it does. It made a difference to me. I’m sure it makes a difference to a lot of kids around the world. It is a movie for kids, right? I think it definitely made a difference in that realm.

For me, it made a big difference in the fact we had a majority black cast lead a $16 billion film…I don’t know what it is. And I think that myth that we don’t sell overseas has been shattered, has been absolutely shattered. Whether or not the story focuses on Africans or African Americans, I don’t think it matters. I think people were saying that hue of human does not sell in Germany. That hue of human does not sell in China. They’re wrong. They’re absolutely wrong.

So, some of that is Hollywood manifesting itself into its result, right? If you don’t make the movie people can’t go see it. Like, I didn’t notice the people were black in the movie. I was like, ‘This is a good movie,’ and then I went, ‘Oh, yeah, they’re black.’ That happened after. You’re probably like, ‘This is a good movie.’ And then somebody was like, ‘You know they’re black, right?’ and you’re like, ‘I don’t care.’”

I didn’t notice until they brought the one white guy in.

Mehcad Brooks: (Laughing) “You’re like, ‘There’s normally more of them!’ Here’s my thing with that. I don’t think there should be any tokens. Look around this room. There’s every shade of every person here. I don’t have one white friend; I don’t have one Asian friend. I have a bunch of different types of friends. I grew up in a place where it was very multi-cultural. This country was built on multiple diasporans. We don’t have… I love Friends the sitcom but they’re not friends of mine because they don’t have any black persons.

What I’m saying is, yes, we can make movies that are all African American if we want to. We can make movies all white if we want to. But why not just make the sh*t look like America? Make it look like the demographics that we actually have right here and that are coming. I think that if we as a town don’t do that then we’re missing out on a great opportunity.”

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