DC's Stargirl Showrunner Geoff Johns on Rick's Heroic Motivation

Last week on DC's Stargirl viewers were fully introduced to Rick Harris (Cameron Gellman), Courtney Whitmore's (Brec Bassinger) troubled classmate who turned out was not only really Rick Tyler, the son of the Justice Society of America's Rex Tyler/Hourman (Lou Ferrigno, Jr.), but Courtney's newest recruit when he put on his father's hourglass and was given the superhero's powers. While it was exciting to see Courtney's team grow however, it became clear very quickly that Rick has very different motivations for taking on the mantle of Hourman. Rick doesn't want justice; he wants revenge, something that series creator Geoff Johns says stems from his pain and grief and what happens when both of those go unchecked.

Johns explained in a recent interview that while Courtney's all about the idea of justice in all of its forms, Rick's take is different, something that offers a look at the "messy" path to getting that justice with the characters each embodying these different approaches and experiences.

"I really love Rick Tyler. Cameron plays a great Rick Tyler," Johns said. "I love that Courtney stands for seeking justice. She really believes that in not only superhero life, but in normal life. You see her stand up for Yolanda, stand up for other kids. She protects Joey when his card trick doesn't quite work. She's all about justice, just the right thing to do. It's just in her. It's in her, I think her mom taught her that. I think she just knows it. I think that's just who she is. She doesn't stand for injustice. But there's also another motivation to getting justice and it can get messy when there's too much pain or anger involved, it turns into revenge."

In "Hourman and Dr. Mid-Nite" it's revealed that Rick's parents -- Rex and Wendi Tyler (Kristin Brock) -- were killed by Solomon Grundy moments after leaving their young son in the care of his uncle, Matt Harris (Adam Aalderis). Not only does Rick grow up with the grief of having lost both of his parents in what he believed was an accident, but Matt is resentful of being stuck raising the child, leading him to be neglectful and abusive to Rick. It's a tragic situation that leaves Rick very much alone and in pain -- and with no support to properly channel it.

"And that's really what the track Rick is on," Johns continued. "Rick hasn't had the upbringing or the love that Courtney has. He lost it and it's hurt him so much and he's in so much pain. He even says it... He doesn't like feeling like this, but he always wants to hit something, that's just the way he feels. He's ready. He's ready to snap and he finally for the first time realizes that there's something beyond a tree he can hate, there's someone out there that did this."

"And now he gets a chance to not only discover the truth behind his parents and embrace the legacy of his father and as he says to Courtney, 'I want revenge.' He knows the difference between justice and revenge and there's a look that Courtney gives Yolanda and Beth at the end of that when Rick says it and they both, it basically is telling you, 'Uh oh, what'd we just do?' and this is not going to be as clean and simple as Courtney thinks."

And that things won't be clean and simple may be a hard lesson for Courtney.

"Rick is a result of when pain can turn into anger and rage," Johns said. "That's what Rick is. And if you don't have the love and support around you that you need to get you through loss and grief and the hard times, I think you do develop a rage inside you. Your pain does to turn to rage to protect you because nobody else is there to do it. And I think when, if you've lost somebody, that loss has a lot of different facets to it and one of those facets is anger. And if that anger isn't tended to, it can just fester and grow and stick."

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DC's Stargirl airs Tuesdays at 8/7 on The CW. New episodes debut Mondays on DC Universe.

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