Who Is Jericho? Titans' New Hero (or Villain?), Explained


Fresh off the news that Esai Morales will play Deathstroke in the second season of Titans, the DC Universe live-action series cast deaf, transgender actor Chella Man as Jericho, the mercenary's son and a fan-favorite member of the team of young heroes. Jericho is poised to play a major role in the season, which will also formally introduces Superboy, given his long association with the Titans in the comic book source material, the the prominence of his deadly father.

Jericho, aka Joseph Wilson, was introduced in 1984, in Tales of the Teen Titans #43, after writer Marv Wolfman decided to create a son for the team's archenemy, the assassin Deathstroke. But it was artist George Perez who, in addition to designing the character's distinctive appearance, developed his powers and personality, while suggesting he be mute and without thought balloons, so that his emotions and intentions had to be conveyed entirely through sign language and visual cues. Jericho has the ability to possess the body of anyone with whom he comes into eye contact, the result of experimental procedures conducted on Deathstroke before his son's conception.

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Rendered mute when his vocal chords were severed by an assassin in retaliation for his father not completing an assignment, Joseph grew up with his mother, Adeline. A covert government operative, she trained Joseph and his older brother Grant in stealth and combat techniques so they would never again be victims. After learning his father was targeting the Teen Titans, Joseph assumed the alter ego of Jericho, despite the team not initially trusting him.

After defeating his father and joining the team, Jericho developed close relationships with teammates Raven and Kole. Unfortunately, his connection to Raven proved to be his undoing through her demonic father Trigon. Unable to possess Raven herself, Trigon's forces took advantage of Jericho's powers and proximity to Raven to corrupt and possess him. The rogue Titan framed Starfire for murder, and nearly killed Cyborg, before begging Deathstroke to kill him prevent any more harm from being unleashed upon his friends.

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It was revealed years later that Jericho secretly transferred his consciousness into Deathstroke moments before his death, and lay dormant until learning of the death of Donna Troy. Incensed by the loss of his friend, and still twisted by his demonic possession, Jericho took control of Deathstroke's body and set out to dismantle the Titans, rather than to allow any more young heroes to be put directly in harm's way. During that time he also bonded with his previously unknown half-sister Rose.

The 2018 relaunch DC Rebirth introduced a more conflicted Jericho, who retained much of his origin and powers but was now bisexual and able to communicate verbally through a device linked to his brainwaves. After using his powers to kill his former lover in the wake of an argument, Jericho used his tech-suit to become a superhero on his own, even assisting Superman. He later joined the Titans with the encouragement of Wally West, and faced Deathstroke while teaming with Rose.

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Judging by the character description included in the Titans casting announcement, much of Jericho's origin will be borrowed from the comics, from his tragic backstory to his formidable power.

Introduced as a superhero with a personal connection to the Titans' longtime nemesis, Jericho has experienced a complicated character arc. Sometimes the team's staunchest supporter, and other times a calculated enemy, the one-time moral compass grew corrupted over time, and became a heartbreaking antihero. With his tragic origin story seemingly confirmed for the second season of Titans, Jericho may walk the razor's edge between heroism and villainy as he and his antagonistic father face the team in live-action for the first time.

Now streaming on DC Universe, Titans Season 1 stars Brenton Thwaites as Dick Grayson, Anna Diop as Kory Anders, Teagan Croft as Rachel Roth and Ryan Potter as Garfield Logan, with Rachel Nichols as Angela, Seamus Dever as Trigon, Minka Kelly as Dawn Granger, Alan Ritchson as Hank Hall and Curran Walters as Jason Todd.

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