Post Mortems
Supergirl Martian Man Hunter

Supergirl Cast, EP Break Down Hank's Big Secret: 'He Has the Purest Heart'

Warning: The following article contains major spoilers for Episode 7 of Supergirl. Read on at your own risk.

So that’s why his eyes glow red.

After spending the first six Supergirl episodes skulking around in the shadows of the DEO and leading us to believe he was an enemy of the Danvers family, Monday’s installment found Hank Henshaw finally revealing his true identity: J’onn J’onzz aka The Martian Manhunter.

(Gold star for those of you who already assumed this in our comments section. Your bragging rights expire in 24 hours!)

A major character in DC lore (and an original member of the Justice League of America), J’onn J’onzz is also an alien, though he looks decidedly different from Kara. He’s an enormous, green-skinned Martian (with a good heart!), and the decision to make him a part of the CBS drama was a major one, according to executive producer Andrew Kreisberg.

“Within the body of the Supergirl series, there is a Martian Manhunter series rolling throughout,” Kreisberg tells us. “It fit in with how Supergirl has been evolving. She’s embraced her powers and stepped out into the light, and in a way, J’onn is closeted and afraid. He’s one of the most frightening-looking Justice Leaguers, but he has the purest heart.”

Now that J’onn’s identity is (somewhat) out in the open, read on for the Supergirl team’s insights on how it will affect the series:

MARS ATTACKS | Though Kara will of course remain Supergirl‘s focus, J’onn’s backstory will be crucial to upcoming episodes. As non-comic-book-reading viewers will come to learn, J’onn had a family and a life of his own back on Mars, before a war between the White Martians and the Green Martians caused most of the latter race to be eradicated in a fire.

Supergirl Martian ManhunterAccording to David Harewood, the man behind J’onn, Episode 11 will reveal his character’s past, and it will be quite the evocative outing. “It was a very emotional episode, just thinking about the whole idea of genocide and people being burned alive,” Harewood teases. “It’s going to be a very emotional and powerful episode, and fans will be really delighted to see it.”

FAMILY MATTERS | As Alex and Kara come to grips with the idea that J’onn isn’t actually Hank Henshaw, they will develop a relationship with Harewood’s character that the actor says will be quite enjoyable for viewers. “Having lost his own children, [Jonn’s] got a lot of pain and melancholy, which is fantastic to play. These two girls represent something that’s very close to him,” he reveals.

Adds Chyler Leigh: “Up until [Episode 7], there’s the question of who Hank is and how much he knows about our past and our family. There’s tons of mistrust, a lot of questions and not a lot of answers. But [J’onn] looks at Alex almost as if she’s one of his children. There’s so many wonderful moments between the two of them when he says, ‘You’re very much like my daughter.'”

IDENTITY THEFT | That’s not to say J’onn will be completely comfortable in his own skin anytime soon — in fact, quite the contrary. J’onn will be hesitant to use his many powers, especially since he isn’t quite as easy on the eyes as Kara.

“That’s very uncomfortable, because he realizes that Kara is beautiful and blonde and gorgeous, and I’m this 7-foot, green martian,” Harewood explains. “As much as I want to just be myself, it would terrify people to be confronted with this ape. Seeing Kara enjoy revealing her true nature — there’s something about that where the Martian Manhunter is a little envious, because he can’t quite do that.”

That said, Harewood said he is enjoying playing his shapeshifting character, who won’t always take the form of Hank as the season progresses. “As you’ll see in episodes to come, there’s a lot of fun to be had,” he hints. “He can be whoever he wants to be, so I think you’ll find me being other members of the cast at various points of the story.”

Supergirl fans, how do you feel about the introduction of J’onn J’onzz? Did you know Hank’s big secret all along? Tell us in the comments section!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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66 Comments
  1. Mary says:

    The clue for me that he was Martian Manhunter was that the episode where we first saw his eyes glow red was the one with another shape-shifter – the Hellgrammite.

  2. BBussey says:

    J’onn J’onzz! I knew it, back from the first scene that showed his glowing eyes. And the mournful comment about having had a family a few episodes back sealed it.

  3. Na says:

    I knew. As soon as I saw the glowing red eyes I thought Martian Manhunter. I saw other theories but always new he seemed more protective then menacing.

  4. herman1959 says:

    I’d never read the comics so I had no ideal who or what he was, but I like this development. It adds a whole new dimension to the show. Also Cat not knowing Winn’s name was funny…Wick!

  5. I like the costume he has on.

  6. Jordan says:

    Kudos to all of you who saw this coming. I definitely did not and was blown away. I’ve enjoyed the show so far, but this was the first time I got really excited about where it’s headed. Hope they keep it up!

  7. TvPeong says:

    One of the best reveals ever! This episode was on fleek!

  8. ScottJ says:

    I still remember reading the old JLA comic that told a lot of the Martian Manhunter’s backstory. It was one of the most heart breaking stories I have ever read.

    • Robby says:

      And what makes J’ohnn a great of character that he is, is that despite all the sadness over the death of his people (by disease or by White Martians depending on the contunity), he does the job he did on Mars (in previous retcons, Manhunter is a rank for their police force).

      • Dean says:

        So he’s basically the same as Superman and Supergirl (last of their kinds) only this guy is more alien looking.

        • ScottJ says:

          He wasn’t the last of his kind in that original story. There was a rocket ship full of survivors lost somewhere in the galaxy. I don’t know how that might have changed in the various amended continuities.

        • Robby says:

          Along with a slightly different power set (flight, strength, shape shifting, invisibility, intangibility and is a telepath). And while Kal-El and Kara came to Earth as children, J’onn was brought over (again depending on continuity) by a scientist’s experiment.

          And in almost every retcon, J’onn works within law enforcement.

  9. Greg says:

    Love it and want to see what happens next.

  10. Carla Krae says:

    Yep! Knew it all along, since we first saw his eyes.

  11. Ellinaras78 says:

    Too bad this website doesn’t have disqus so we can see the history of comments.

  12. Debbie Chapman says:

    Awesome. I just knew he was going to be a good guy. I look forward to seeing how his character evolves.

  13. GraceM says:

    Well we all knew who he was before he announced it. Glad the “secret” is out.

  14. Jason says:

    Man did they ever get his appearance perfect. Much better than Smallvilles made for TV budget version.

  15. James D says:

    I demand at least 48 hours Rebbecca, I have a lot of bragging to do :) Not really a secret but I still enjoyed the reveal when he shifted into J’onn J’onzz i nerdgasmed pretty hard great job on the CGI he looked like a total Bamf which is how he should look. So happy that he’s on this show and they got David Harewood to play him one of my all time favorite comic heroes.

  16. Gary Roth says:

    Is this show (which is Outstanding) going to continue next year? I thought I saw a preview that said Winter finale.

    • Rick Katze says:

      20 episodes this year. Yes it’s been contracted for the full year.

    • herman1959 says:

      Yes, it’s coming back. That’s why it’s the WINTER finale, not series or season finale. The Flash and Arrow are doing the same thing.

    • Phoenix5634 says:

      All the shows that take a break over the holidays have a winter finale usually, it’s basically just the mid-season finale for most shows. Supergirl has been signed for a full season again next year.

  17. Bob says:

    When his eyes turned red few episodes back I knew it was Martian manhunter I thought of smallvilles Martian manhunter when I saw them

  18. Carm says:

    So who is the other living person who knows who he is?

  19. peterwdawson says:

    Interesting choice. Then again it’s a solid way to pull the rug out from under comic fans who figured he’d just turn out to be a cyborg or something, as per Hank Henshaw in the comics, and instead having him be a beloved but rarely seen in live action hero was a nice twist.

  20. prish says:

    At the change from Henshaw to Martian J’onn, he husband gasped, “Wow! I remember him from DC comics.” The husband was watching to prove to me that Supergirl was a dud, but maybe he’s been caught, instead. I say, wasn’t it just the most darling episodes with my gals having all heart? The husband appreciated the fighting, natch.

  21. Yeah, I also had my suspicions since the “glowing red eyes” reveal. I’m glad they didn’t drag it out like “Is he good? Bad?” I look forward to seeing the character progress.

  22. Vince says:

    He is huge. Is he really that tall?

  23. There wasn’t much to this episode besides the Martian Manhunter considering that Jemm turned out to be another bland villain!

  24. N says:

    I jumped up when he said he was a shape-shifter then when he changed I screamed. This was a great episode

  25. Ha I called it from the start. I screamed like a fan girl

  26. Pat says:

    Fantastic episode. One little bit of info that I just read above, is that Kara does find out who Hank really is sooner rather then later. J’onn told Alex last night that no other person could know including Kara. Next weeks season finale looks so exciting.

  27. Ben says:

    God this show sucks… The dumbing down of American entertainment is at its pinnacle, when this crap (poor acting) (weak storyline) (terrible writing) is watched with any enthusiasm whatsoever.. When you accept a turd product.. Turd products are what you receive.. And this is one giant turd..

    • The Carpooler says:

      Yeah, I’m into feeding trolls this week. I’m at my limit.

      Take your negativity somewhere else. Don’t like the show? Fine, don’t watch and don’t comment. Or, more likely in your case, don’t comment without even watching. Get bent and pound sand.

  28. Rafael says:

    It’s faith, which is the keyword in this episode.

  29. Johnny Styles says:

    Kudos to everyone who called this revelation weeks ago!

  30. Phun says:

    Very nice episode and uplifting! That’s what I like about Supergirl! Makes you feel good. Can’t wait to see more of Martian Manhunter. David Harewood and Chyler Leigh, you both won me over with last night’s performance!

    • Phun says:

      Mean to add. Everyone won me over with last night’s performance. :) A little extra shout out for David and Chyler in that last scene. :)

  31. Joey Padron says:

    Good episode. I had a feeling Hank is Martian Manhunter cause when his eyes turn red. Glad they reveal it in the episode. Great he’s on the show and Alex can trust him now knowing what her dad did for him.

  32. Bill Hayes says:

    Delighted to see the Martian Manhunter on live TV! He was a great favorite of mine when I was a kid in the 1960s. Hope the character can cross over to other DC TV shows. That would really help draw the DC Universe shows together sort of making Brave and Bold team ups and mini Justice League action.

    • Phoenix5634 says:

      Theres been a few possible subtle hints at crossover possibilities with certain recently introduced characters on the flash and now supergirl show.

  33. MattySi says:

    Luke Mcfarlane was a nice surprise! It’s a shame he died.

  34. Michael says:

    I pretty much spend the whole time I watch this show rolling my eyes. I was just going to watch this last one and then quit (sorry Laura Benanti, you are awesome). This turn makes the show much more interesting. Now if the writers could just spend a little less time putting it on the nose and add in some subtlety…

    • Emmalee says:

      I know, right? The seriousness and shallowness of this show drives me crazy. It’s like Kara has a “New Personal Issue” of the week that she has to deal with. She even has little therapy sessions/pep talks with someone to help her overcome her problem. With a different villain every episode. Does anyone else feel like the show is trying to be dignified and not-campy to the extent that it looses part of its soul? Kara needs to seem more like a real person and less like a Barbie doll.

  35. Emilie says:

    I haven’t read the comics or anything, but I did watch about 10 seasons of Smallville a few months ago, so I wondered if he was really the Martian Manhunter. I didn’t realize that his name is spelled like that.