Move over, Bruce! There’s a new Wayne in the DC Universe. The latest teaser for “Powerless” introduces Alan Tudyk’s character as Van Wayne, and he’s nothing like his brooding cousin “B-Dubs.”
Van Wayne, who calls himself “a big picture guy,” runs Wayne Security, an offshoot of Bruce Wayne’s Wayne Enterprises. As such, he heads up protagonist Emily Locke’s research and development team. As evidenced in the teaser, Van Wayne is more upbeat and silly than his cousin, and perhaps a little more mercenary, too. For instance, he has a monster-sized photo of himself with a few other gentlemen in the middle of his office.
— Powerless (@NBCPowerless) January 13, 2017
“Our products are powerless,” he bemoans in the teaser, namedropping the title of the series. In response, Locke appears to be a little more hopeful than her boss and points out that the company motto is “Change the World” — only to learn that the sign is a holdover from the diaper company that used to own the building.
Van Wayne doesn’t appear to be based on anyone from the comics, so it seems “Powerless” will charge forward with an original character they can mold for their own purposes. In the comics, Bruce does have a cousin from his mother’s side (you might recognize the name Kate “Batwoman” Kane), but it doesn’t look like the NBC series will have anything to do with that particular character.
Set within the DC Comics universe, “Powerless” centers on the everyday lives of people in a world populated by super-powered heroes and villains, including the aforementioned Jack O’Lantern and Crimson Fox. The sitcom follows Vanessa Hudgens as Emily Locke, who begins her new job as director of research and development for Wayne Security, a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises, which specializes in products that make defenseless bystanders feel a little safer as they try not to become collateral damage in the battles between superheroes and supervillains.
Beyond those direct connections to the DC Universe, the sitcom also features smaller nods, such as the Kane and Fingers Pub, a reference to Batman creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger, and a discussion of Wonder Woman’s level of divinity.
Also starring Danny Pudi, Ron Funches and Christina Kirk, “Powerless” premieres Thursday, Feb. 2, at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
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