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Series / Jupiter's Legacy

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Jupiter's Legacy is an American superhero series initially created by Steven S. DeKnight (who left the project in 2019) and produced by Netflix, based on the comic book series of the same name by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely.

The series follows a group of individuals who were the world's first superheroes when they received their powers in the 1930s. In the present day, they are a revered elder guard, but their superpowered children struggle to live up to the legendary feats of their parents and having to adjust to a strict moral code which ends up causing friction among the elder guard and the young heroes.

It stars Josh Duhamel as Sheldon Sampson / The Utopian, Ben Daniels as Walter Sampson / Brainwave, Leslie Bibb as Grace Sampson / Lady Liberty, Elena Kampouris as Chloe Sampson, Andrew Horton as Brandon Sampson / The Paragon, Mike Wade as Fitz Small / The Flare, Matt Lanter as George Hutchence / Skyfox and David Julian Hirsh as Richard Conrad / Blue Bolt. The series premiered on May 7, 2021.

On June 2, it was confirmed the show would not be renewed for another season and an anime series based off Supercrooks would be produced in its place, both taking place in the same universe. Super Crooks (2021) was released in November 2021.

Jupiter's Legacy provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The first season - consisting of eight 35–56 minute episodes, is adapted from the first two issues of the comic.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Raikou has never even met Walter in the comics (though she figured out he's her birth father). Here, they're not only in contact but have some kind of relationship. Walter also indicates he was with her mother for a time, whereas in the comics she was just seduced by him once.
  • Adaptation Species Change: Blackstar was an alien reminescent of DC's Darkseid in the comics. He's implied to be human here.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • Barnabas Wolfe, Neutrino, Shockwave, Jack Frost and Raikou appear only after Walter and Brandon have taken over the US in the comics. Here they are introduced prior to that.
    • Some characters that only appeared in the prequel comic Jupiter's Circle, which was released after the first volume of Jupiter Legacy, have also appeared in the show's first season such as The Flare's daughter and Skyfox's butler Cuthbert.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Richard is strongly implied to have been in love with his friend Philip, and alludes to facing more discrimination than his friends might realize.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Did Skyfox really betray the Union, or was he framed by Walter for discovering his plan and forced to hide?
  • Appearance Is in the Eye of the Beholder: The being who grants the original members of the Union their powers appears differently to most of the members. For Sheldon and Walter, it's their father. For Fitz, it's his grandmother. For Grace, it's her uncle. For George, it's his mother. And for Richard, it's his best friend.
  • At Least I Admit It: Blackstar says this on Skyfox's behalf.
    Blackstar: He saw through your self-righteous Code. He knew it was all bullshit and Shelly's way of staying in control.
    Walter: Look how he ended up.
    Blackstar: Yeah, good old George may be on the lam, but at least he's honest with himself, unlike the rest of the Union.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The first season ends with everything going according to Walter's plan, with Brandon and many young heroes losing faith in the superhero code after the deaths of many of them by supervillains they are not allowed to kill, the disappeared Fallen Hero Skyfox being framed for the Blackstar clone and for setting the real one free, and the Utopian's reputation going downhill and having a crisis of faith after he proves unable to break the code even to save his son. All of this just being a step to take over the Union and eventually the world.
  • Battle Couple: Utopian and Lady Liberty are married and fight crime together.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Utopian's mindset. He wishes for everyone to live up to his impossibly high standards so the world can be better, when it has become a Gray-and-Grey Morality Crapsack World.
  • Broken Pedestal: Sheldon's father kills himself right in front of Sheldon. Sheldon later finds out his father had been doing some dirty dealings to keep the company running and has used the employee pension plan to fund company expansion. When the stock market crashes, all of it is wiped out and hundreds of their workers are left with no jobs and no savings. He then kills himself leaving his sons to deal with the mess and bear the brunt of the hatred their family receives. Sheldon is shattered by this and it is the basis of the Utopian's uncompromising Black-and-White Morality.
  • Canon Character All Along: Episode 5 opens with Sheldon Sampson talking with a therapist in what appears to be a therapist's office, setting it up a framing device for the Union origin story flashback portions of the episode. The therapist himself appears to be just a random nameless bit character, however the end of the episode reveals he's actually Jack Hobb – a villain the Utopian fought and eventually re-habilitated in Jupiter's Circle, with the therapist's office being inside a cell in the Supermax.
  • Canon Foreigner: The show adds several new characters that weren't in the original comic including:
    • Chester Sampson – the father of Walter/Brainwave and Sheldon/The Utopian, and Willie Small – the father of Fitz/The Flare.
    • Superheroes; Sierra/Ectoplex, Janna/Ghost Beam, Barry Bishop/Tectonic, Briggs/Flaming Fist, Vera/Phase Out, Nick of Time, and Jay/Volcaner.
    • Barry Bishop's wife and two daughters.
    • Supervillains; Iron Orchid and Baryon.
    • Old Man Miller - a Kansas man who received the same visions that Sheldon had.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames:
    • Whilst the show normally does a good job at averting this, making sure a character's normal and superhero/villain identities get namedropped at least once, however Barnabus Wolfe, who both here and in the comics mostly goes by his civilian name, doesn't have his former alias of The Molecule Master mentioned even once.
    • Played for dramatic effect when Sheldon doesn't know who Chloe is talking about until referring to them by their superhero codename.
  • Crime of Self-Defense: Blackstar kills three superheroes and is about to kill the Utopian when Paragon caves his head in with one punch. Paragon is not charged with anything, but Utopian treats this like a first-degree murder.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Both played straight and averted with Chloe and Hutch. He's the kid of the most hated supervillain ever and she's the daughter of the Utopian. That said, Chloe 's not seeing Hutch to piss her father off and she doesn't even want him to know. It still gets her mother rolling her eyes.
  • Decomposite Character: In the comic, Blackstar was a villain that required both the Union and several other superheroes to defeat him in a fight that happened in the first issue. Here the same battle is featured in the first episode, climaxing with Brandon killing Blackstar, only for it to later be revealed as a clone with the real Blackstar still locked up in the Supermax prison.
  • Death by Adaptation: Raikou is still alive in the comics. In the series she's killed off at the end of season one.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype:
    • The Utopian is a strong deconstruction of the Superman archetype. His adherence to a higher standard of heroism is portrayed as actually being gravely unpopular, he's not the best of leaders, and he's not a good father even if he ostensibly tries.
    • Chloe is a dramatic presentation of the hard-partying child of a superstar. She feels the pressure and humiliation of never living up to the standards set up by her parents.
  • Destructo-Nookie: Chloe and Nick knock plaster from the walls in her apartment just by bumping up against them while kissing during their foreplay.
  • Disappointed in You: Walter kills Raikou for this very reason, in addition to her knowing too much, since she only cared about her pay and not his goal.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Chester Sampson jumped off his building after the 1929 Wall Street crash.
    • After speaking with Sheldon about his visions, Old Man Miller shoots himself (after previously having murdered his wife).
  • Evil All Along: Walter, who was behind the clone of Blackstar and everything else.
  • The Evils of Free Will: While Walter is debating with Sheldon over whether superheroes should influence society more, he replies to Sheldon's saying this would end free will with asserting that some would say free will is in fact the problem (as too many are able to do bad stuff).
  • Friendly Enemy: Blackstar genuinely liked Skyfox and admits to Walter that the two of them would occasionally go out for drinks.
  • Genius Cripple: Fitz Small in a wheelchair.
  • He Knows Too Much: Walter kills Raikou because she discovered his plans to create instability within the Union that would make him the leader and help him with his plans of ruling the country.
  • Hope Spot: In episode 8, Brandon tells his dad that he fully understands the Code after Petra tells him that she intended to leave the Union in the previous episode, making Sheldon proud. But later, Sheldon hesitated to kill Blackstar to save his son's life, which even Blackstar calls him out on. Brandon only got saved when Petra attacked Blackstar from behind. Sheldon tried to assure Brandon that he wouldn't let Blackstar kill him, but Brandon doesn't seem to believe that. Now Sheldon is afraid that he's losing Brandon, just like with Chloe, and he doesn't know what to do anymore except to ask Walter for help.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Brandon's reason for killing the Blackstar clone since he would have killed his dad. But Sheldon doesn't accept that and chastises Brandon for choosing "the easy way out".
    Brandon: Did that look easy to you?!
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Sheldon feels that he could have stopped his father from jumping off since he was right there when it happened. His wife tries to comfort him that there wasn't anything he could have done.
  • Interrupted Intimacy:
    • Hutch is teleported into the room where Jacinda is getting oral sex from Gabriella, to everyone's displeasure.
    • Sheldon breaks off having sex with Grace when he hears of a possible dangerous asteroid.
  • Internal Reveal: In episode 6, Ghost Beam told Lady Liberty that Chloe was in the hospital, which she didn't know.
  • Jerkass Realization: Chloe in episode 4.
    Janna: (leaving) You're better than this.
    Chloe: No... I'm not.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: Of the Jupiter's Legacy comic book series.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Chloe can shout powerful soundwaves.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Jacinda gets cunnilingus from Gabriella on a pool table.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Jacinda is a short-haired tomboy, her girlfriend Gabriella has long hair and more of a feminine look.
  • Master of Illusion: One of Walter's powers is being able to create a totally realistic "psychic painting" which he traps people in mentally. However, it doesn't always work as some (like Blackstar) can break out. Except, not really 'cause that was a ruse and all part of his plan.
  • Meaningful Name: The word "Utopia" literally means "no place" rather than its popular definition as a world free from strife. This is an indicator that Sheldon's rose-colored dream of a human race in harmony and camaraderie can never come to fruition, at least not in the way he wants it to.
  • Megaton Punch: In episode 4, Chloe gives one to a guy she slept with who was trying to apply for the Union of Justice, because he thought she could give him a good word. Nick can't even take a punch.
  • Modesty Bedsheet:
    • On the morning after Chloe hooked up with Nick, she has a sheet around her chest.
    • Grace too covers herself with a sheet when Sheldon stops having sex with her.
  • Morton's Fork: Brandon is given a Sadistic Choice when battling (the fake) Blackstar: kill him and break the Thou Shalt Not Kill rule in the process or let his father die at his hands. Brandon decides to go with the former and kill him.
  • Named by the Adaptation:
    • Unlike in the comics where he never took up a superhero identity, here Brandon Sampson operates as Paragon.
    • Neutrino and Shockwave are given the civilian names of Gabriella and Jacinda respectively.
  • Notorious Parent: Skyfox became a criminal, making him this to his son, Hutch. This causes Skyfox to abandon his son as a kid, causing Hutch to resent his father.
  • Obstructive Code of Conduct: Many Union members find their Code's Thou Shalt Not Kill rule difficult to abide by, particularly if it's a choice of killing or letting someone else die - something that comes back to bite them in the ass so often that the code as such appears to be not just obstructive anymore, but immensely impractical. But Utopian constantly argues that the current state of the world is all the more reason to abide by it.
  • Off with Her Head!: Vera, who gets burned up when the Blackstar clone uses her powers against her, leaving just her head in his hand. He then throws her head away.
  • Offing the Offspring: Walter kills his daughter Raikou at the end of season one.
  • Older Than They Look: Sheldon, Walter and Grace have white hair along with a bit of wrinkling. They're still over a hundred years old though, but look much younger and are capable of stupendous feats. It's apparently a result of their super powers.
  • Parents as People: Sheldon obviously wants to be a good father to both of his children, but his insistence on being a superhero as well as his strict adhering to the Code has strained his relationship with them, as Chloe pointed out in episode 2.
  • Race Lift: Hutch is white in the comics (or appears so, at least—his mother is dark-skinned). In the series, though, he's obviously a man of color, played by a mixed-race actor.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • In episode 2, Sheldon gives an emotional one to the newspaper for writing slander about his father, as well as putting a picture of his bloody body on the paper with the headline "The Death of Capitalism". Except it's all true.
    • In episode 4, Chloe is given one by Sierra who calls her out for not helping their friends in the fight against (the fake) Blackstar, leading to the death of 3 of their other friends, and for not even attending their funeral. While she initially tells Sierra to backoff, Chloe wonders if she's right.
    • In episode 6, Chloe gives one to her mom for always taking her dad's side and repeating his words.
      Lady Liberty: That's not fair.
      Chloe: (scoffs) That's exactly what he said when I called him out on all his shit.
  • The Resenter: In the flashback of episode 7, Walter hated how Sheldon always had it easy and people listen to him because he's the favorite, the "golden boy", while no one ever listens to Walter or took him seriously, not even their dad. If he had then he might never have Driven to Suicide when their company went under. It may have also contributed to his descent into villainy.
    Walter: (to Blackstar) I'm not my fucking brother!
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Hutch's crew leaves him when they learn he's sleeping with Chloe, the daughter of Utopian.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Very much on the cynical side. The Utopian's adherence to classic superhero values, no killing and simply inspiring people to be better, is portrayed as naive and unfit on this morally gray, ruthless Earth.
  • Suicidal Pacifism: Even when she's dying from injuries caused by Baryon, Ghost Beam chose not to break the Code.
  • Super Family Team: All members of the Sampson family have superpowers but most of them use their powers for crime fighting while Chloe could care less.
  • Shout-Out: The front page of a newspaper has a picture of Lady Liberty carrying a car the same way Superman did in his very first appearance.
  • Superman Substitute: Sheldon/The Utopian is The Cape with a moral code and the strongest hero on his team; he is also a Flying Brick with Heat Vision and Super-Hearing.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill:
    • Sheldon's With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility lesson to his children includes "not killing bad guys" and showing mercy.
    • He's later upset when Brandon kills to save him from (fake) Blackstar, insisting that there were other options. Brandon disagrees, and finds this ungrateful regardless.
    • The Union turns out to have this in its Code (which can become difficult). Some of the younger members dislike it.
    • Lady Liberty let Baryon live, even though he killed Ghost Beam. But she was so distraught over Ghost Beam's death that she nearly broke the Code herself. Instead, she gave him one hell of a beating.
  • Token Minority Couple: Gabriella and Jacinda, the two Latinas on the show (going by their names at least) are in a relationship, while the only explicit LGBT+ characters as well.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Gabriella and Jacinda are queer women in a relationship, plus Latinas to judge by their names.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Said verbatim in the first episode by Chloe to Sheldon in the former's childhood, when Sheldon's about to remind her of similar morals against the reckless use of superpowers.