Superman: Legacy: What Isabela Merced's Hawkgirl Casting Could Mean For the DCU

The addition of Hawkgirl could lead to the return of Hawkman, the Birds of Prey, and more in the new DCU.

Back in July, DC fans were surprised when it was announced that Superman: Legacy had added three major heroes to its roster: Edi Gathegi as Michael Holt/Mr. Terrific, Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern Guy Gardner, and Isabela Merced as Hawkgirl. The casting brings the total of confirmed characters and casting for the DC Studios film to six, with the actors joining David Corenswet as Clark Kent/Superman, Rachel Brosnahan as Lois Lane, and Anthony Carrigan as Metamorpho. It's news that also sent fans off on a lot of speculation as to how those characters could fit into things — particularly since we don't know a lot in terms of details about Superman: Legacy just yet. However, it's Merced's Hawkgirl casting in particular that could have some interesting ramifications for the new DC Universe.

As fans of comics know, while Hawkgirl is a character that certainly can exist independently, she also doesn't exist in a vacuum. She is, most frequently, presented as the partner of Hawkman and the pair are part of a long, long running cycle of reincarnated heroes thanks to the curse of Hath-Set. To say it's complicated would be an understatement, but the gist of it is that where there is Hawkgirl, there is generally also Hawkman and it's that aspect of things where Merced being cast as Hawkgirl that becomes interesting.

2022's Black Adam saw the introduction of Carter Hall/Hawkman into the DC Extended Universe. Played by Aldis Hodge, the character appeared without Hawkgirl as the leader of the Justice Society. Unfortunately, Black Adam didn't exactly perform at the box office and didn't fare well with critics either so it wasn't much of a surprise when new DC Studios heads James Gunn and Peter Safran announced their new DC Universe and its opening slate with no mention of continuing the Black Adam story. That said, one of the elements of Black Adam that fans did respond positively to was Hodges' Hawkman, with fans openly buzzing about the possibility of exploring the character further not only immediately after Black Adam's release, but after Gunn and Safran taking on DC Studios as well. Given the rich (and complicated) history of the Hawks, Merced joining Gunn's DCU as Hawkgirl could present a prime opportunity to bring Hodge's' Hawkman into play. It also doesn't hurt that Hodge already has an existing relationship with Gunn and Gunn has a history of casting people he knows.

"No, I haven't spoken to James," Hodge explained previously. "As far as the reaction, I know James has done some really great work with [Guardians of the Galaxy] and Suicide Squad, so it gives me a great deal of confidence in what his vision can be for DC. I'm looking forward to seeing what he and Peter Safran come up with, and am definitely looking forward to continuing telling these stories about the JSA/Black Adam Universe. It's funny, I haven't run into James in a bit, but I remember meeting James randomly one time, years ago, when I was over at my god sister's house. We were all playing a game called Mafia, and James was actually teaching us how to play. He probably wouldn't remember, but it's funny to think about that, now that we're at this level. Back then, I never would have imagined that would be the case. Now, working with that guy in this big of an arena is pretty awesome."

We also know that Superman: Legacy is just the start of DC Studios' new canon and that the film is part of just the opening chapter, Chapter 1: Gods and Monsters. With Hawkgirl being introduced that early in this new canon, even if we don't end up going the route of bringing Hawkman into things, it seems that by starting with Hawkgirl we're definitely going to at a minimum going to start strong with establishing the Justice Society of America (JSA), a team she is closely associated with but we could also be laying the groundwork for another significant team to make their way into future chapters of the new DCU: the Birds of Prey.

With Superman: Legacy being roughly two years out if not more — the film is currently scheduled to land in theaters on July 11, 2025 — we genuinely have no way of knowing exactly where the eagerly anticipated film will take us as viewers or the DC Universe in general. The only thing that is certain is that with the characters we already know are going to appear — and particularly Hawkgirl — the next chapter of live-action DC film is setting itself up for stories that reach into the deepest corners of the comics in a way we haven't really seen before and that has been long overdue.

Superman: Legacy is set to debut exclusively in theaters on July 11, 2025.