The CW has a habit of changing the characters that they adapt to the small screen. Over the history of the Arrowverse, there have been numerous heroes and villains that have been faithfully written based on the comics they originate from. But, for narrative purposes, there are also a number of exceptions to this, with the writers sometimes making drastic changes in order to fit their show better.
Firestorm is an example of this. With the character having a long and complicated history in the comics, many of his stories and characteristics had to be altered to fit the show he would prominently feature on: Legends of Tomorrow. Let's take a look at some of the changes that were made to Firestorm in Legends of Tomorrow and which ones were for the better (and the worst).
10 BETTER: JOINING THE LEGENDS
The Arrowverse created an original team of misfits and villains which they dubbed the 'Legends,' based partially on the Linear Men. There is no direct iteration of this group in the comics, with the members consisting of many random heroes and rogues from across Earth. The Firestorm combination of Jax and Martin Stein joins the team in the first series of the show and remain a part of the group for a considerable amount of time.
Allowing Stein and Jackson to join this team vastly improved two characters that were treading water over on The Flash. They quickly found their place as one of the 'Legends' and have been especially interesting to watch, as the two share very few similarities in terms of their outlook on life and their personality.
9 WORSE: JASON RUSCH
Although it's fair to say that this change originated in The Flash, it has been carried over to Legends of Tomorrow and is a strange choice to make. In the comics, the second version of Firestorm is a combination of Martin Stein and Jason Rusch. He is the successor to Ronnie Raymond who is tragically killed. The Arrowverse follows this general plot line but the replacement for Ronnie isn't Jason, but Jax.
In Season 1 of The Flash, Jason Rusch is introduced as a scientist who worked alongside Stein on the project that eventually created Firestorm. He's featured very briefly and only holds some of the characteristics of the comics version. However, the show runners then introduced Jefferson 'Jax' Jackson, who was much closer to the source material in terms of his personality, age and characteristics.
8 BETTER: INTELLIGENCE
Since the showrunners are adding their own twist on this version of Firestorm, it was good that they focused so heavily on the intelligence of Jax. The former football player went down with an injury and instead started to focus on mechanics and his mind.
These skills have allowed Jackson to play a crucial role on the Waverider. He was the resident mechanic for a long time, something that we just didn't really see in the comics. This change meant that he always had a part to play in the grander scheme of an episode, even if the focus wasn't entirely on him.
7 WORSE: ELEMENTAL
In Season 3 of Legends of Tomorrow the narrative arc of the series centred around the search for the Elemental Totems. Of course, in the comics Firestorm has actually become an elemental, representing fire in the battle of the elements. It looked as if this story could be developing a version of that arc, but it did not.
Instead, Jax didn't even wield the Fire Totem, as he was partially written out of the show by this point. He was brought back for the finale but still wan't given his rightful role as an Elemental, with Mick using the Fire Totem instead.
6 BETTER: TIME-TRAVELLING ESCAPADES
Because of his role on the 'Legends,' Firestorm has had the opportunity to travel through time, to many different famous events and eras of history. This is something that both Jackson and Stein have benefited from, with the escapades showing multiple sides of their characters.
Whether Jax is sauntering through the Old West with a cowboy hat and a trusty steed, or Martin is relieving his youthful days and meeting scientific heroes, the duo have shone in this kind of format. Both of these characters come alive when they are in such bizarre scenarios, with the actors portraying them clearly having a lot of fun with the quirkiness of the scripts.
5 WORSE: MICK WONG AND RONNIE RAYMOND
Throughout the comics, there have been other versions of the Matrix created to sustain Firestorm. With the changes that took place during the Legends of Tomorrow, which we will speak more about later, it was surprising that other combinations were not added to the Jax version of Firestorm.
In the comics, Jason has shared the matrix with Ronnie Raymond, who has been featured in the Arrowverse before. It's odd that a version of Ronnie was never brought back even once so that we could see this combination unfold. Mick Wong was one of Jason's closest friends in the source material and also was part of Firestorm for a time.
4 BETTER: STEIN
The comics have explored a rather deranged version of Martin Stein from time to time, with the scientist often becoming obsessed with the Firestorm Matrix. His mental state has been written into many story arcs, but the unpredictability of the character didn't quite work out the same way in the TV show.
Stein's mental state was a large part of Season 3 of Legends of Tomorrow, but it was an obsession to leave the superhero life behind to spend more time with his family and granddaughter. The unpredictable nature was on display as he tried to find ways to secretly see his loved ones, but the character eventually made the decision to try to leave the Firestorm Matrix altogether, in a heartbreaking moment.
3 WORSE: MIKHAIL ARKADIN
In the comics, a hero by the name of Mikhail Arkadin also bonds with Ronnie Raymond for a while, becoming Firestorm. He's also been known as the hero Pozhar and was a welcome addition to the lore of the character.
In the show, however, Arkadin did appear, but as a bit of a generic villain. He was featured in two episodes of Season 1, "White Knights" and "Fail Safe," and is a largely forgettable member of the 'Legends' rogues gallery. What's worse is that during this arc there was an attempt to create a new Firestorm, but it was not Arkadin involved in this.
2 BETTER: JAX'S LIFE
However, having said all this, the conclusion to Jax's story is especially warming and makes the other changes worth it. With the adventure over and Stein deceased, Jackson can move on with his life and start to find a little normality. While he will probably miss the superhero life in part, when we next see him he is clearly very happy.
The finale of Season 3 shows us Jackson's new life, 5 years after leaving the Waverider. He's married and has a baby and is obviously content with his lot in life. He's a character that deserved all of this and it perhaps makes Stein's death even more tragic, considering he could have lived out his days in a similar situation.
1 WORSE: LEAVING FIRESTORM
This leads us to a much worse moment for the character and a major spoiler for anyone who hasn't seen Crises on Earth X. During the huge crossover event, Martin Stein was tragically killed, making the choice to save Jax in the process. This also marked the death of Firestorm in a truly devastating episode.
It's a major loss to the team and a major loss to Jax. It's also a change that is much worse for the show than better. The duo added something pure and fun to the series and they have since been sadly missed.