When DCs' Legends of Tomorrow returns for a third season on The CW later this year, a new superhero will enter the fold in the form of a Muslim computer hacker from the future: Zari Adrianna Tomaz, who will be played by Tala Ashe. Variety reports that, at the currently ongoing Television Critics Association press tour, Legends executive producer Marc Guggenheim spoke about the casting and referenced the 2016 Presidential election, Donald Trump's presidency and the policies that ultimately established restrictions on travel to the United States from six predominantly Muslim countries.
“You might have heard there was this election," Guggenheim explained. "Not to get political, but something that we all gravitated toward in the writers room was making this character Muslim."
Guggenheim also shared a story about his Muslim sister-in-law, saying, “She was talking about how difficult it is to be a Muslim-American in the current political climate. Having a character who’s a computer hacker and is from the future but also happens to be Muslim, it’s a nice, important aspect of her character.”
Ashe, an Iranian-American actress, personally supported Guggenheim's desire for more diversity because of how important castings like this can be for young fans. “Representation is a really powerful thing. When I was growing up watching television, I didn’t see anyone who looked like me," she shared. "When I think of the kid version of myself, I think it broadens your perspective. What I think is so lovely about this show is that the Legends are this tapestry that represent America today.”
“We’re being let down as a society," Guggenheim said. "I think the reason why the audience and the creatives are gravitating toward superheroes is because it’s wish-fulfillment. They’re looking to find a little bit of hope and a little bit of escapism that quite frankly doesn’t exist.”
If the name Zari Adrianna Tomaz sounds familiar, that's because the superhero known as Isis debuted on The Secrets of Isis television series, which ran from 1975 to 1977. The character later appeared on Smallville, and made her modern day transition to comic books in the 2006 comic book 52. In this series, she became the wife of Black Adam and helped him turn away from villainy in order to become a true hero to his people. The character has appeared sporadically since then.
It's unknown at this time whether Ashe's character will ever take on the powers of the Isis character, or merely shares a civilian name.
Premiering on the CW on Tuesday, October 10, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’s third season will star Arthur Darvill as Rip Hunter, Dominic Purcell as Mick Rory, Caity Lotz as Sara Lance, Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer, Nick Zano as Nick Heywood, Victor Garber as Professor Martin Stein and Franz Drameh as Jefferson “Jax” Jackson.