Thursday, January 25, 2018

KRYPTON Casts Hannah Waddingham as Jax-Ur

There's no shame in this casting.

Entertainment Weekly is reporting that the upcoming Syfy series upcoming Syfy series Krypton, based on lore from the DC Comics character Superman, has cast Hannah Waddingham as the classic Superman villain Jax-Ur.

According to the article, Jax-Ur is described as "Formerly one of Krypton’s greatest scientists with deep ties to Krypton’s past, Jax-Ur is now determined to bring radical change to Krypton as leader of the underground terrorist organization, Black Zero."

Krypton is set years before the Superman legend we know, when the House of El was shamed and ostracized.  This one-hour drama follows the Man of Steel’s grandfather (Cameron Cuffe) as he brings hope and equality to Krypton, turning a planet in disarray into one worthy of giving birth to the greatest superhero ever known.

Waddingham, 43, is an English actress best known as Septa Unella on the HBO series Game of Thrones.  In addition, she's appeared in the 2012 film adaptation of Les Misérables, and in episodes of 12 Monkeys, Agatha Christie's Marple, Doctors, My Hero, Footballers' Wives, and Coupling.

Created in 1961 by Otto Binder and George Papp, Jax-Ur first appeared in Adventure Comics (vol.1) #289 as an amoral and criminally deviant scientist on the planet Krypton.  He was imprisoned in the Phantom Zone for destroying Wegthor, an inhabited moon of Krypton with a population of 500, while experimenting with a nuclear warhead-equipped rocket.  His sentence for his act of mass murder was imprisonment for eternity.  He called himself "the worst criminal in the Phantom Zone".

Jax-Ur's intention was to launch a nuclear missile to destroy a passing space rock.  If this test proved successful, Jax-Ur would then commence the build-up of a massive, private nuclear arsenal with which he would overthrow the Kryptonian government, and place the entire planet under his dominion.  In the World of Krypton miniseries, his missile collided with a spaceship piloted by Superman's father Jor-El and went off-course to destroy Wegthor.  Because of this, space travel was banned on Krypton.

Jax-Ur escaped from the Phantom Zone and posed as a super-powered version of Superboy's adoptive father, Jonathan Kent.  Superboy eventually sent Jax-Ur back to the Phantom Zone.  He was often depicted plotting against Superman with fellow Phantom Zone inmates General Zod and Faora Hu-Ul.  Although he possessed typical Kryptonian super-powers when on Earth, the out-of-shape Jax-Ur was no match for Superman in combat.

Jax-Ur would later redeem himself somewhat by helping Superman defeat Black Zero, the alien saboteur who ensured Krypton's destruction under the orders of the Pirate Empire. It is shown he has a code of honor, as Kryptonian criminals swear by a master criminal who escaped a prison to help each other.  Struck by a red kryptonite bullet that Black Zero had created, Jax-Ur began mutating through a series of serpentine forms, until he became a Medusa-like creature, and turned Black Zero to stone with his gaze before the villain could destroy Metropolis in revenge for Superman foiling his plan to destroy Earth.  Jax-Ur then shattered Black Zero's body, avenging Krypton, and willingly returned to the Phantom Zone.

In the current DC Comics continuity known as "The New 52", Jax-Ur was among the Kryptonian criminals seen in the Phantom Zone and he claimed to have destroyed a moon.  Jax-Ur was depicted as a young military officer and Lara Lor-Van's partner and fiancé.  Lara called off their engagement when Jax-Ur revealed he supported Colonel Ekar, a commanding officer who deemed Krypton's Science Council weak and self-absorbed, and planned to overthrow it with a coup d'état.  When Lara tried to fight Colonel Ekar and was defeated and caught, Jax-Ur tried to convince her to join their cause in order to save her life, but failed.  General Zod intervened, killing Ekar and smothering the revolution.  Jax-Ur was imprisoned with the other surviving insurgents, promising Lara he tried to save her and reaffirming his love for her.

Waddingham will be the first woman to portray Jax-Ur, although the character previously appeared in the live-action film Man of Steel, played by Mackenzie Gray.  He also appeared in Superman: The Animated Series, voiced by Ron Perlman.

Krypton will debut on Syfy on March 21, 2018.

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