The Monitor is here to stay. As the Arrowverse gears up for "Crisis on Infinite Earths," this year's five-show crossover, Mar Novu will become an increasingly large presence -- a constant reminder that, yes, something huge is on the way. As he wends his way through the multiverse, warning others of the Crisis to come, he will call on heroes like Green Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Batwoman and the Legends to aid him in reality's most desperate hour.
At Comic-Con International in San Diego, the Monitor himself, LaMonica Garrett, spoke with CBR about his past, present and future in the Arrowverse. He revealed how he landed the role, what it means to him as a longtime comic book reader and why his big "Elseworlds" showdown was the scene that intimidated him the most. He also teased the way his character will impact each of the Arrowverse series, as well as the role he plays in Arrow Season 8, which he describes as a "prelude" to "Crisis."
CBR: A lot of actors who land roles in superhero TV don't necessarily know what they've been cast as until after the fact. Was that the case for you?
Garrett: Yeah, I went through the whole audition process thinking I was Val-Zod, like, black Superman. The way the character breakdown was, he was Kryptonian. He was of another world. He was all-powerful. I'm like, "Who else is there?" Like, there's no one else. It was maybe three auditions into it and after, I was in the gym, I was working out. Agent hit me up: "Yeah, you got the part." Awesome! "They want you to fly to Vancouver tomorrow to start working, get fitted for the outfit." I'm like, "Alright, cool. Wait, wait, wait, wait! Who am I playing?" They were so vague about it. And then they told me the Monitor. They had to call and find out, and then they called me back and told me it was the Monitor. I was like, "Oh, Monitor. No, that's not Val-Zod. Okay, that's 'Crisis.' That's a big deal."
What was your initial, gut reaction to learning you would play the Monitor?
"Don't screw it up. Don't screw it up." They've been building this train since The Flash [Season] 1. They've been, you know, setting this in motion. They've been laying pieces down over the years. Adding the Monitor is not the final piece, but one of the last big pieces to that puzzle. So in my head, I was just like, "Research, research, ask a ton of questions, research, read more. Go back and reread Crisis, research, just putting myself in that world." And not just research with Crisis, but the Guardians, like Oa, Green Lantern. Anti-Monitor, that was their main nemesis, going throughout the comic book. So it was like, I just studied everything. But it was fun research because that's what you do anyway: you read comic books.
When you were announced for the role, we knew you would appear in "Elseworlds." Did they let you know that this was going to transition into "Crisis on Infinite Earths" the following year?
Absolutely not. I didn't know until the end of Supergirl, when they flashed it on the screen, just like everybody else. So my phone started ringing and I, like, cried out, "How'd they keep this from me the whole time?" That's a big deal. But it was fun. As a fan, I like being surprised, because it's hard to keep stuff under the wraps. [In] today's television and film, everything gets leaked out. So it's fun when you're watching something and you just totally get blindsided and not see it coming. That's what "Crisis" was at the end of Supergirl when it came on.
Will the Monitor get in on the action during "Crisis on Infinite Earths?"
It would be nice to see him get in on the action. You know, they're following the comics... They're trying to do it. It's hard to adapt everything, you know, from the page right to the screen, but they've been pretty spot on. And the Monitor never really got his hands dirty in the comic books. You know, me, the actor wants to just put my hands on somebody and then mix it up. But that's not really what the Monitor does. He's more psychological. He out-thinks everyone. He's playing chess when everyone's playing checkers. But it'd be nice.
I really have no idea, just like I found out that "Crisis" was coming at the end of Supergirl on TV. As I go, like when I get the scripts, I'm reading them as a fan first because they're like issues. You know, they're like new comic books coming out, [that's] how I read them. I find out new information just from reading each issue, like, "Oh, wow. Oh, okay. Oh, we're doing that! Nice." I really don't know, but time will tell. I think that's the fun part, to see it all play out.
A few weeks ago, executive producer Marc Guggenheim revealed work had begun on the crossover. Have they told you anything about it yet?
Every time the Monitor, you see him on screen, his presence lends itself to the "Crisis." So yeah, he's not just coming to play Taboo night, you know? Each show has their own thing going on, their own villains to catch, their own stories to get through, their personal battles. But when the Monitor shows up, it's more of a "Crisis" moment. So I've been working. Whenever he's working, it's "Crisis" moment. "Crisis on Infinite Earths," that crossover hasn't started, you know, but like [Arrow showrunner] Beth [Schwartz] said, pretty much Arrow's whole season is a "Crisis" build up, you know, leading up to the "Crisis." So from day one on Arrow Season 8, it starts the "Crisis." It's a prelude to what's happening.
At the end of Arrow Season 7, the Monitor appeared to Oliver and enlisted him for his quest to warn the multiverse about "Crisis." How much will we see you in Season 8?
I think I'll be around. I'll be around kinda like last year, popping up on season finales here. One episode here, two episodes there. It's like he's one of those characters, which is fun, that he's a Where's Waldo kind of. When he comes, it's something ominous that's following you. So it just heightens whatever scene is going on, whatever presence that's already around. It heightens that moment, and it just reminds the audience that "Crisis" is around the corner. So it's one of those things. I won't be on, I don't think, one show every episode. But I will be bouncing around the universe, just to remind people like, "Hey, I got a big brother." That he's coming.
So you'll appear in the other Arrowverse shows as well?
He'll be around. Monitor, he's around. Yeah. So that's as much as I can say about that. You know, I can't tell you when, how and why. But he'll be around leading up to it.
How does the Monitor's relationship with Oliver evolve?
I think they're still at a stage. The rest of the superheroes included, they're trying to figure out if they can trust this guy. Because he comes in, you know, he's not doing the best intentions as far as the audience is seeing... But that was him in the comic book as well. He was an arms dealer to villains. He was doing bad things for a greater good, but you didn't know that at the moment. So I think they're just still trying to figure out if they could trust this guy. He says, "Come with me, and we'll do this." I'm just some guy that came that shows up in your living room... but they've seen how powerful he is. So you gotta roll with it.
Can you tease what you're most excited for fans to see from the Monitor?
I think just the "Crisis" in general, like the way it's playing out. They've been dropping breadcrumbs for years now. And just all this playing out, and to add in Arrow's last season. It's just a lot going on right now. It's just a fun time to be a part of the Arrowverse.
What was it like to encounter iconic characters like Green Arrow, the Flash, Supergirl and Lex Luthor? Is there anyone in particular you're excited to work with?
All of them, really. That was an intimidating scene last year, [for] the fanboy and me the actor. There was a standoff with Flash, Supergirl and Arrow in "Elseworlds" last year. The kid in me was facing these legends I grew up reading about was like, "Wow." The kid in me was on the sideline, eating popcorn, just like, "This is gonna be crazy. This is madness." And that was just one of those moments. But every time I worked with those guys, like just seeing what it is on their chest, what they represent, and just being in comic books my whole life, I have fanboy moments at work all the time.
Brandon Routh will reprise his role as Superman for "Crisis." How excited are you for that?
That's coming from the film like that. It's just big. And I think that, with "Crisis" too, there's so many ways they can go with it. There's so many people they can grab from the history of DCTV, and now film, that -- who knows -- I think the closer we get to it, names are going to be popping in, different actors from back in the day. And it's just a who's who of who's going to be in "Crisis," and I'm looking forward to it as a fan as well. But you know, working with him is going to be awesome.
On a more technical note, the Monitor's costume looks very complicated. What's the process of getting into costume like?
It gets in your business. It's up-close and personal. But those outfits, they're built more for aesthetics. They're not built for "I'ma go out and play some golf" in the Monitor outfit, but it looks the part. And he doesn't do a lot of movement. At some point, maybe he will. We'll figure that out. But it looks fantastic.
How long does it take to get in and out of costume?
About 30 minutes. I don't drink water. No water, 30 minutes in. It takes about an hour for my hair to get put in. The whole from the time I get to base camp, it's like an hour and a half.
You can't have the Monitor without the Anti-Monior. What can you tell me about him?
As a fan, I know all about that. He's the biggest of the biggest of the bads. He's that guy. And if he does make an appearance in "Crisis," I think that'll shut the internet down, as a fan. Like that's just that's the Anti-Monitor. That's what it's all about. We'll see. You know, who knows if it's coming, but I'm looking forward to it.
Scheduled to air this fall on The CW, "Crisis on Infinite Earths" will envelope Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow and Batwoman.