The CW's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover officially came to a close earlier this month, and it's safe to say that it exceeded fans' expectations. The five-episode event featured more cameo appearances, team-ups, and epic moments than fans knew what to do with, while also weaving in some major character beats. Among these was the introduction of Ryan Choi (Osric Chau), a scientist who is recruited into the heroes' fight against The Anti-Monitor (LaMonica Garrett). Ryan's live-action debut brought quite a warm reception from fans, while leaving the door open for him to potentially return and take on the mantle of The Atom.
Chau is no stranger to fictional worlds with passionate fandoms, after playing Kevin Tran on Supernatural since 2012. But Ryan Choi has been a bit of a dream world for Chau for years, with him publicly advocating to play the character before Arrow even got its first spinoff. Essentially half a decade later, Chau got his wish -- and the Arrowverse got a new fan-favorite character in the process.
We recently got a chance to talk to Chau about his role in "Crisis", his friendship with Ryan Choi co-creator Gail Simone, and where he would love to see the character go next.
ComicBook.com: It's been really surreal and amazing to see Gail Simone's response to you playing Ryan. I was wondering how that aspect of it has felt for you, especially since I know you have interacted a lot over the years?
Osric Chau: It feels like a fairy tale almost. It's like "Wow, I can't believe how everything kind of worked itself out." It was super random. My roommate, we were just sitting around and we'd been talking about all this superheroes stuff. I'm an actor, and he was a writer, and we were just talking about all these things we could do.
At one point, he just came to me with a long list of Asian superheroes, like "These are all the Asian superheroes that exist in the world right now, and the one you fit most perfectly for is Ryan Choi. You could probably play Ryan Choi." And I'm like, "Oh yeah." And then the next day, he bought me the Gail Simone comics, and I started reading them and I just loved it so much. One, I didn't know it existed. Two, I just thought it was so well-written and gritty, and I started looking more into Gail. And then, my friend Eric, he started tweeting at her, and I guess that caught her attention. So we just started tweeting back and forth.
At one point I was at Seattle's Comic-Con, Emerald City, and she was there, and so I went and said hi. It was just awesome meeting her. She gave me Red Sonja comics, and then she asked me if she could use my name and likeness, and put me in Red Sonja.
At this time, I was just so in love with the idea of this Ryan Choi character. I had just started on Supernatural and I was like "Oh God, you know what? The CW would totally do this." They had, I think, two of the DC shows back then. I'm like, "This would make so much sense." Me and my friend Eric, we put together this pitch deck and we got the whole first season arc on it. This is an incredible idea for a show, with Ivy Town, Ivy University, there's so much happening. You can literally make the show go on forever. We brought it to the CW, and then they told us that they were already developing something for The Atom, and they couldn't look at it. I'm assuming that was Legends of Tomorrow. But you know what? Six, seven years later, it came back around.
Outside of Ryan, what was your relationship with DC Comics before this? Were there any titles or characters that you were a super fan of?
No, I grew up mostly in Marvel. It wasn't until The Atom and Gail's comics that I started getting into it. It was really just the Ryan Choi comics, and then I started branching out into all of the other stuff that he was in. I never really got into DC comics until Ryan Choi, so he keeps bringing me back to it as well.
The character that we were all auditioning for was Steve Wagner and it was listed like "Steve Wagner, Asian-American." And I thought "That's not an Asian American name. This doesn't make sense." I started looking into it, and then I'm thinking, "This character is a superhero. There's no reason why they would say these lines and go this way." They were fake lines of dialogue, but there's no reason they would make this character go through this kind of an arc. I brought it to Eric. I'm like, "Eric, take a look at this." And he was like, "Oh my God. Dude, I think this is Ryan." I'm like, "Oh my gosh, you're right. This is Ryan. This is Ryan Choi." So going into the audition, I'm like, "This is definitely Ryan Choi."
At the audition, I just called them out on it right at the beginning. I said "Is this Ryan Choi?" and everyone flipped out. They tried to hold it in, but they were shocked. I was the first person they saw, and so I definitely shook the room up a bit. They're like, "All right. Let's just do it." And they did it. I definitely had this huge bit of confidence going in. I'm like, "I know exactly what this is, I know exactly what this character is about." I just had a feeling and sure enough, it just worked out.
What was it like for you not only to join the Arrowverse so far into its run but to have your character debut as part of the most massive crossover it has ever done?
As an actor, it definitely feels like you have slightly more job security, even though you still have that. It's nice to feel needed. It's nice to not just be there, but to be a main part of pushing the story forward. I was very, very grateful and happy for that.
I would imagine that a lot of filming "Crisis" was kind of surreal, but were there any moments where you were like, "Oh my God, I can't believe I'm doing this?"
That was most days. You're in these crazy sets, and everyone's in a superhero costume. Sometimes you're sitting in a room and you look around, and think "Everybody here has their own show, and then there's me. What's going on? I don't quite understand right now." I definitely had a couple of those moments where it was just so much to take in.
They're also just normal, cool people, and I have stuff that I'm doing that they're super interested in as well. It's like we're peers. I think it was very validating for me as an actor, to think "Oh, yeah. Right. I've been doing this for a while too." Because there are some times that you go into these new sets and stuff, and you just don't know what to expect. And if you're a guest there, you're like, "Okay. I still have to pay my dues. I have to earn my way and earn my way up." But everyone was so cool. I kind of lowered my expectations a little bit going into it, because I don't know what to expect, so I don't want to be disappointed. But everyone just blew those out of the water. Everyone was so beyond nice and generous and kind.
What has it been like for you to see the response to your portrayal of Ryan and how he fit into "Crisis"?
I didn't actually look into that too much. I was too fixated on the fact that I had a beard, and all of my interactions have been about that.
I feel like it's been good. I haven't heard much negativity at all. I probably haven't gone deep enough, but I'm going to avoid doing that. I hope good.
Now that "Crisis" is done, what are your hopes for Ryan? Is there anything you can tease about the future of your take on the character?
I wish I knew. I can't really say. And even if I do know, I probably can't really say, because it'd be more fun if it was a surprise. But I don't know. I don't know. Even if I say I don't know, you can't trust me. We're at a weird impasse.
Personally, I love the fact that he's a human and we get to see this other perspective for once, because everyone around him is super and it's nice to get an origin story. So I would love to see that explored more.
I want Ryan to wear the Atom suit at some point. I would love for him to take on the full mantle of The Atom. We want the hero journey. I want him to earn it. So that's what I hope for, if it makes sense for the story. If it makes sense for him to hop into any of these shows. Does he have his own show? I don't know. But I hope that the powers to be are at least thinking about it.
I have to ask about Supernatural. Obviously, with the final season, things are a little bittersweet. And I know you play such a major role in the show's fandom, so I was wondering if there was anything you wanted to say as we're getting closer and closer to the series finale?
Yeah, it's very bittersweet for sure. I just want to thank everyone for being along for the ride. It's been incredible. Fans come up to us all the time telling us how much they've changed their lives, but it's very much a reciprocal thing. You've changed all of our lives tremendously, to the point that I can't even think back to my life without Supernatural. I'm very grateful.
Whether or not there will be a spin-off, I don't know. Jared's going on to Walker, Texas Ranger. I'm going further into the DC world. But I feel like we're all going to be Supernatural alumni, regardless of what we end up doing. We're going to hold up that flag and be proud of it because that's certainly a big part of who I am and where I came from. It's always going to be a part of me, and I want to thank the Supernatural family for being there and being a part of that.0comments
"Crisis on Infinite Earths" is available to stream in its entirety on The CW's website.
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