Phil Morris appeared this season as the Martian Manhunter on Smallville. A genuine comics fan himself, Morris thinks a Justice League spinoff of Smallville would do very well.
“I think it’s almost a no-brainer because I think the audience would love it and I think the fans would love it,” he told If Magazine recently.
Morris believes that his character, the Martian Manhunter AKA John Jones, “will lend itself to the evolution of Smallville as a series, and then lay the groundwork for Metropolis, or Justice League, or whatever they want to do in terms of branching off for other series.”
On the decision to not make the Martian Manhunter green, as he was in the comic book, and to cast Morris, who is African-American, he says “I think the [Smallville] writers in their infinite wisdom cast him as African-American because he really is a man on an island, as is Kal-El/Clark Kent. That’s their one relating point is that they are both the last of their race stuck on another planet with these crazy humans. They have more humanity in either one of them than all of these humans put together; it’s really ironic. That they have created John Jones to be an African-American is brilliant to me, because as an African-American I use that as my motivation.”
“When I speak to Kal-El and I tell him that I’ve been on this planet longer and I understand the people better than he does, I was speaking from a real place. When you see those scenes it’s not super powered aliens talking, it’s two guys relating their issues with each other. I can play that for the next ten years, frankly, and that’s what makes this show so heartfelt.”
As far as not making him green, he seems glad of it. “I really appreciate that they don’t make me sit in hours of makeup for that,” says Morris, adding that he feels if his Smallville character were green, it might be “too otherworldly and too alien” for “people who come to the show who aren’t comic book fans.”
“It can’t all be classic DC fare, like the fans might be expecting, but what we’re going to do is raise it to a level of expectation for the fans and give the show the kind of tracking it needs to bridge the gap between Smallville and the eventual Metropolis.”
It sounds from Morris’ comments like he knows something about an eventual spinoff of Smallville; however, he says he’s only guessing, as he himself is a rabid comic book fan.
“Here’s what I speculate, and I know nothing, I’m just speculating, like one of the rank and file fans with my 20,000 books. Here’s my speculation; they can’t have Wonder Woman because someone is doing that, they can’t have Batman because of the movies, and those are two of the major JLA members that they can’t use. So they bring in Martian Manhunter, which fills some of the gap. Maybe we’ll see Hawkgirl? Who knows? If they base the show in Metropolis we can all operate out of there, even though Central City is big with the Flash.”
“I’m an actor speaking as a fan saying that I am excited to see what the permutations will be.”
Morris also voiced the character of Vandal Savage on the animated Justice League, and will voice King Faraday in the upcoming Justice League: The New Frontier.
-Mel, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Source: If Magazine, IMDB
Photo credit: The CW