Matt Lanter is no stranger to playing heroes. He’s also no stranger to paying villains. Which makes the fact that his character in Jupiter’s Legacy, George Hutchence, aka Skyfox, is both the hero and the destined villain of this tale, the best performer/character combination we could think of.
We had a chance to talk to Lanter, a favorite of ours since Timeless days, about what it was like filming Jupiter’s Legacy, bringing a character like Skyfox to life, and of course, how he compares George to some of his other iconic characters. And one thing we can promise you is …Matt has thought about this.
“There are a lot of similarities (between) pre-Darth Vader Anakin and Skyfox,” he told us, right off the bat. “They’re both charismatic guys, both full of bravado, kind of rule breakers, and do what they want.” We kinda wish that was that, but then, of course, there’s the caveat, and you know, it’s a pretty big one. “And then they both fall.”
Because yes, George is not meant to be the hero of this tale, but the villain. Except all the best villains – and in this Matt found a commonality between Anakin and George, think they’re doing the right thing. “They think they’re just in what they’re doing, and they think they’re helping the world around them.” This is especially true when it comes to George, who’s “a bit of a free spirit, does what he thinks is right,” Mat shared, stressing that his character is “a rule breaker, not a rule follower,” who “thinks being a rule follower 100% of the time inhibits growth.”
This, however, doesn’t mean we’re diving into George’s bad side right away. Instead, “we only got to see the good side of George,” in season 1 of Jupiter’s Legacy. And for Lanter, it was easy to fall back on the “Anakin/Ahsoka relationship” from Clone Wars, to “make sure George felt earned.”
“My job in season one was to show my caring, my understanding, my loyalty – to establish the character as just fun, someone you want to be around.” To do this, Matt once again went back to Clone Wars and based some of it on “some of the losses from Anakin’s story,” while still trying to show the “loyalty and love that George has for Sheldon.” It’s all meant to “set up what’s to come, and makes it a stronger fall, and more sad.”
And then, in the future, if this show gets more seasons, they can explore the question: “Does he actually get into some pretty villainous things?” Fans of the comics know the answer to that, but as we mentioned, the show still has ways to go before Skyfox can be his comic book version. And who knows what detours might come along the way.
Matt wasn’t a comic reader before he came into Jupiter’s Legacy, but apparently preparation for the role has made him one, as he shared with us that, after reading the Jupiter’s Legacy comics, he went and bought more comics – among them X-Men ones. And hey, I’ll personally take anything that makes more people into comic book fans.
“It’s exciting to be part of Millarworld,” Lanter shared. And it’s “exciting to bring a superhero to the screen, one we haven’t seen before, one most people aren’t familiar with.” And it was particularly fun too, for him, to get to play opposite Josh Duhamel, who Lanter shared is “an easy guy to get along with.”
You can tell by their chemistry on screen that the two get along, and Lanter confirmed that “the rapport with Josh was really important,” as it “helps establish that relationship,” and in many ways, their relationship, their bond, and what comes after, will determine so much of the story of Jupiter’s Legacy. And might end up being even more important if we get a season 2, something Matt really wanted to explore.
“I hope we get to see Skyfox in present day,” he told us, which is something we didn’t really get in season 1 of Jupiter’s Legacy, despite George being very much a presence in the present timeline. This was something that, even though he was only involved in basically half the story, was “very cool to see come together,” and something he’s eager to see explored more fully.
Particularly because Matt himself describe George as “sort of Tony Stark, Captain Jack Sparrow, with a little bit of Paul Newman,” and can you even imagine what older George would be like, considering the inspiration? I’m not sure I can even process.
Of course, before the interview ended, as we are Timeless fans first, humans second, we had to ask Matt about two important things – first the blonde hair, and how it felt to look so different, and of course, what Wyatt would have to say about George. The first answer might amuse you, and the second one, well …the second one will probably surprise you.
“Blondes have more fun,” he laughed, even as he confessed that his wife, Angela, didn’t really appreciate the blonde hair. Which, let me just say, yes, very much agreed. Matt is always handsome, but blonde just doesn’t hit the same way brunette does, we’re not gonna lie. “Very Zack Morris of me,” Matt joked about his hair, and a funny as that comparison was, we’ll still take the Wyatt look.
Which, to the question of how Wyatt and George would get along, Matt had this to say:
“I think Wyatt would be a lot more quiet about it, but I think he would think this guy’s pretty interesting. Wyatt wasn’t really a guy for flair, and George is all flair, but I definitely think that they would get along great. I think they both have stories to tell each other at the bar, is what they’d be doing.”
Count me in as someone who would love to be a fly on that wall.
Jupiter’s Legacy is available on Netflix.