Actress Tala Ashe will join DC’s Legends of Tomorrow on the CW as Muslim-American Zari Adrianna Tomaz, a new member of the core characters’ team. According to a press release, Zari is a “grey hat hacktivist” whose combative attitude will probably lead to some juicy conflicts with the other strong-minded characters.
Here’s more about Ashe’s character, per a CW press release:
A Muslim-American woman from the year 2030, Zari lives in a world of contradictions. Technology has brought about incredible change in her future — too bad human nature hasn’t kept pace. Fear, prejudice, and a lack of care for the planet have forced Zari to become a “grey hat hacktivist.” A computer nerd with a wry, combative attitude. A woman living a double life who doesn’t realize that she has secret, latent powers derived from an ancient, mystical source.
In the original comics, Zari fights against Black Adam (who’s on his way to the big screen) and goes on to become a hero named Isis.
Yeah…that last part may have to change.
While this is the first Muslim-American superhero on screen, printed comics are way ahead of the game in terms of diversity and representation (and possibly to atone for being historically white, straight, and male). There’s Riri Williams as Iron Man, Miles Morales as Spider-Man, Jessica Cruz fighting alongside Baz as Green Lantern, Amadeus Cho as the New Hulk. Wonder Woman is now canonically bisexual, and DC’s Batwoman is a Jewish lesbian.
As for Muslim representation, the current Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, was a breakthrough character introduced in 2013 and written by a Muslim writer, G. Willow Wilson. In 2012, Simon Baz appeared in comics as a Muslim Green Lantern; depending on who you ask, the current Robin in DC Comics is from the Middle East (the son of Batman and Talia Al-Ghul). The X-Men universe introduced Monet St. Croix back in 1994, and Sooraya Qadir as Dust in 2002 — who appeared wearing a full niqab.
Ashe will appear in Season 3, due later this year.