CW Seed’s “Vixen” premiered yesterday, and with it came the debut of a new DC Comics superhero. The six-episode animated series from executive producers Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg tells the story of Mari McCabe and takes place in the same universe as The CW’s live-action hits “Arrow” and “The Flash.” Following similar origins as her DC counterpart, Mari was orphaned and inherited her family’s Tantu Totem, granting her the ability to access the powers of animals. Now she uses her newfound skills to fight back and make a difference.
The series stars Megalyn Echikunwoke as Vixen, and while it’s her first time working in animation — and playing a superhero — she’s already ready to make her mark on the character. Speaking with CBR News ahead of the premiere, Echikunwoke said she found Vixen instantly relatable and thinks viewers will too. She also discusses Mari’s identity, crossing into the already established worlds of “Arrow” and “The Flash” and the possibility of playing Vixen in a live-action setting.
CBR News: When we first meet Mari in the series, where is she in her journey?
Megalyn Echikunwoke: She is at the very beginning. In the first episode, Mari’s still lost. Over the course of these episodes is where she really understands who she is and her power. Then by the end, she knows and claims her identity, if that makes sense. This is just the beginning of her discovery.
The powers help her figure out who she is and help her find her identity in this world because she is an orphan and she does come from two different worlds. So I think that finding out about this power and what the powers are — it brings her into the light, where she was very lost before and very alone. And now she has this call to action that is her new life. I think that’s her identity now.
And we know she runs into Arrow and The Flash. How do they come to cross paths?
They actually find her. They seek her out because she’s started doing all these things — she doesn’t really know what she’s doing — and they see all this superhero activity going on. And they find her, and they help her. They try to help her and tell her, “OK, you’re special and just own it,” which is very cool.
Once she does start owning that and becoming more comfortable with who she is and the totem, what becomes her goal?
I think she’s still discovering that. It’s a little early on. At the end of this first installment of six [episodes], she’s just barely getting the clue about what the full breadth of her power is. Going forward, she will discover what she wants to do and how she wants to use her power for good. I don’t think she knows yet.
And in the beginning, you don’t really see her in a double life. But I think going forward, she will have a double life and that will help her be more effective.
Have you heard anything about getting more episodes of the web series or the possibility of you and the character heading to live-action?
There’s a possibility for all of those things, but nothing is solidified yet. It’s really going to come down to how the fans respond. If the fans want more, I think they will get it. Hopefully they love it. And should it continue, I obviously would love to be a part of that.
And you have quite the background in live-action. This is your first voice acting role, correct?
This is my first. Before this I’ve only done a pilot for an animated TV show, so this is my first real voice acting job. I have been wanting to work with The CW for a long time and so I think they knew who I was and they also knew that I wanted to do voice acting. And the two just came together because should it become live-action, I think I would probably be a good person to portray Mari. We kind of have similar back stories. I just got lucky that I am a good person for this job. It’s a dream job.
Speaking of your similar stories, how does your history affect how you’re portraying Mari?
It affects it a lot. That’s one of the main things that draws me to this character is her back story. The United States is full of people from other places, and it’s easy to feel very lost and to feel very far away from understanding your identity and your place in the world. And that’s where Mari starts. Then, her ability and her power — these gifts that she’s given — it’s something that helps her to find her identity. I think that a lot of people will be able to relate to that.
Also, I am very excited for all the female comic book fans that they finally have this character that’s very much — she’s very strong, she’s very independent, she’s self-made. And she’s one with the Earth. I love that she’s one with the animals and the planet. It makes her very grounded. I think people will be excited about that. That was really the main draw for me — the world deserves this superhero, you know, a black female superhero. The fans are hungry.
The first episode of “Vixen” is now streaming on CW Seed.
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