Now that David Harewood's Hank Henshaw has been exposed as the Martian Manhunter on CBS's Supergirl, the show will soon expand to include another important part of J'Onn J'Onzz's mythology: the White Martians.
"In Episode 11, we have a visitor from another planet who’s a White Martian," Harewood told ComicBook. "There are two Martian species - it feels really weird talking about this (laughs) I’ve not been able to say anything about it - there is a Green Martian species and a White Martian species and the White Martians, in our story, are responsible for the death of the whole of the Green Martians. It was a fire and they burned them and we get to see a lot of that."
In comic books, Martian Manhunter holds a pathological fear of fire due to the death of his family. It looks like Supergirl will present an origin along similar lines.
"It’s very emotional. It was a very emotional episode for me, just thinking about the whole idea of genocide and, you know, people being burned alive," Harewood explained. "I think it was around the same time as the Paris attacks. It was very emotional. The whole idea of it was weird for me to be playing, but I think it’s going to be a very emotional, powerful episode because you get to see a little bit - the fans are going to be, I think, really delighted to see this because I don’t think, technically, it’s been able to be done before, but I think we’re, thankfully, now living in an age where you get great people like Armen [V. Kevorkian] - our Visual Effects Director - who’s just fantastic and he’s capable of just bringing some of stuff to life and I think fans are really going to get to see a version of Martian Manhunter on the screen that they’ve just never, ever seen before. There’s going to be something in it for the fans and something in it for just the general viewers because it’s some pretty emotional stuff to cover."
White Martians were also important foes to the Grant Morrison's JLA, posing as a superteam called the Hyperclan. Miss Martian, a longtime Teen Titan, was also a White Martian, though she broke with her species' antagonistic tendencies and became a hero.
Supergirl returns to CBS January 4.