Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Doom Patrol: Joivan Wade Talks DC Universe Series And Playing Cyborg

The Doom Patrol has arrived, and they've brought along a new iteration of one of DC Comics' most iconic heroes.

Joivan Wade, who portrays Vic Stone/Cyborg on the DC Universe series, recently sat down with Collider for a chat about what sets the show apart from most televised superhero fare, the challenge of filling a role already played ably on the big screen, and the cracked family dynamic depicted in the streamer's second serial outing (following last year's debut season of Titans).

The young star related that it didn't take long for creator Jeremy Carver and executive producer Greg Berlanti to sell him on their vision for the series. "They explained to me that this wasn't gonna be like The CW and the Arrowverse, but that this is gonna be a whole new DC Universe, and what we could expect with the higher production quality. [They] told me that we were essentially going to do this as 15 one-hour movies," he said, explaining that even after accepting the role, he still wasn't quite ready for just how unusual Doom Patrol would end up being. "You're like, 'Oh, it's another superhero show,' but it's not. It's like nothing that you've seen before. You haven't seen a superhero show like this because this is not a superhero show. It's a support team... I had no idea how wacky it was gonna be, but they made it clear, from the start, what the ambitions were for it. After seeing what we've managed to pull off, it's a dream."

He elaborated that the inclusion of some rather unusual supporting characters, pulled from seldom-explored and often deeply weird parts of DC lore, contributed to the series' wholly unique approach to the superhero serial. Among these: Danny the Street, a living, sentient street which can teleport anywhere at will and adorn itself any way it chooses. ("Some real crazy stuff happens when we come across Danny the Street, and Negative Man says to Vic, 'Just ride the wave, Vic. Ride the wave,'" he says.) Also making an appearance is the Beard Hunter, a bizarre and murderous villain who in the comics — being unable to grow a beard himself due to a hormone deficiency — is obsessed with murdering anyone with a beard, and who in the show has the ability to "[consume] part of your beard, and is able to be in your head and consume your power." 

Obviously, Doom Patrol is not interested in rehashing what has worked for other superhero properties before. However, the young star did address the fact that his character has been given the live-action treatment very recently — in the 2017 feature Justice League, in which Cyborg was portrayed by Ray Fisher. In fact, although Wade is a huge fan of comics in general and his character in particular, he had pretty much given up hope of taking on the role after seeing Fisher's portrayal on the big screen.

"I specifically wanted to play a superhero, so I messaged my managers and said, 'Guys, I really want to do something superhero. Cyborg has been taken because of Justice League, so what other African American superheroes are there?' I'd heard about Miles Morales, so I was like, 'Maybe I could play him,' but they were only doing an animated version (the Oscar-winning smash Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse). I've always wanted to play a superhero. It was just about figuring out which one I could actually play. And so, when I found out that they were doing this, with another version of Cyborg and as a series, where you'd get to live with the character for 15 hours and see that journey and understand who he is, which we haven't really gotten to do within the versions that you've seen so far, it was just an amazing opportunity and a dream come true."

He went on to offer some choice details about his take on the character, in which he tries to walk a delicate balance between Vic Stone's human and not-so-human components. "If you take away the eyepiece, the mask and the body, nothing really changes. He's still a young man who's sarcastic, witty and cocksure... I've really enjoyed being able to bring elements of just being a young African American man. The complexities come from... This is his software that he's working with. He can control any computer in the universe... The journey of him being Cyborg is the most complex thing because he doesn't even know what's real. At the end of the day, he's programmed, and when you program a computer, you can put anything in there that you want. You can make them believe anything that you want that computer to believe because you program it, and he's essentially a computer. And so, working out what's real and what's not, what he does and doesn't believe, and which thoughts are his own and which aren't, is the real journey of the whole thing."

Wade's love for and dedication to his character are fully apparent, but as just one part of a sizable ensemble, he recognizes that perhaps the most important aspect of Doom Patrol is how the characters come to relate to each other, developing bonds over the course of the season that make the team of misfits greater than the sum of their parts. "At the start, [Cyborg] thinks the same as everyone else, which is, 'What the hell is going on here? Who are you? What is this band of circus freaks that can't pull themselves together?' And as time goes on, he falls in love with this group of people. They are a reflection of him. Everyone within this team has all gone through tragic accidents that have resulted in them being who they are and what they are. That's something he relates to with the Doom Patrol. Down the line, he'll fall in love with this team of people and they'll become his family."

With Wade among a talented cast that includes Matt Bomer (The Magnificent Seven), Diane Guerrero (Orange is the New Black), Alan Tudyk (Firefly), April Bowlby (Unbroken: Path to Redemption), and Hollywood veterans Brendan Fraser and Timothy Dalton, Doom Patrol is off to an amazing start. While only three episodes have dropped so far (the third one just today), critics have heaped praise on the series, and Wade promises that it's just warming up. "It's definitely gonna take you for a ride, and you're gonna be glued," he says. "This is its own thing, and you've gotta take it for what it is. Remove every preconceived idea that you might have for a superhero show. It's not that. It's something different, and it's great."

New episodes of Doom Patrol are available for streaming every Friday on DC Universe.