In the DC Comics Universe, there are few characters as powerful or as dangerous as J’onn J’onnz, the Martian Manhunter. Former Justice League writer Geoff Johns hinted at his vast abilities in the pages of his New 52 series when he showed the character in a battle with every other member of the team, struggling to take him down.
Now that the character regularly appears on TV on Supergirl, some fans are wondering why he doesn’t have full access to his abilities.
Whether his telepathy isn’t working or he’s not able to turn invisible, there’s a reason why a character seemingly as powerful as the Martian Manhunter seems to have had his talents dampened.
“The Martian Manhunter, he's so powerful that it's almost too powerful for like a weekly series, like with all the things he could do,” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg said during a press event.
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“If we really deployed him at his full comic book power arsenal, no one would be able to pull anything off of anybody.”
And while it might seem interesting on the page, those kind of abilities don’t help when you want to build tension and create stakes in a weekly television series.
“I mean, he's super strong, he can fly, he can phase through matter and he can read minds,” Kreisberg added. “I mean good luck trying to pull one over on him.”
If J’onnz had full access to his comic book powers, that would mean no secrets could be kept, no battles could be had, without the Manhunter having a major impact on their outcome. And that just doesn’t make for interesting TV. Still, it’s interesting to see the series producers come right out and say that.
So next time you roll your eyes at a Cadmus agent with telepathy blockers, remember that they could have just done away with J’onnz telepathy altogether and be thankful.
Manhunter will appear in tonight's episode "Homecoming" airing on the CW.
Distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. International Television Distribution, SUPERGIRL is executive produced by Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash), Ali Adler (The New Normal), Andrew Kreisberg (The Flash, Arrow) and Sarah Schechter (Blindspot, The Mysteries of Laura). Supergirl is based on the characters created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and appearing in DC Comics, by special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel Family.
"Homecoming" episode of Supergirl airs Monday, February 27 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.