Latest DC Universe entry brings a host of new heroes, and villains, to screens
Justice League's Ray Fisher tells us about his Cyborg addition to the team
The latest instalment of the extended DC Cinematic Universe arrives in cinemas this weekend, and for the first time we’ll see the full complement of Justice League heroes on screen – including big names such as Ben Affleck’s Batman, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Henry Cavill’s Superman, who was presumed dead after the events of last year’s Batman v Superman.
The movie sees a reinvigorated Batman, inspired by Superman’s selfless sacrifice for the sake of humanity in the previous film, team up with Wonder Woman to build a team of unique beings to combat the threat of a new evil known as Steppenwolf – not a seventies rock band, but a hover bike-riding inter-dimensional super villain and survivor of Doomsday, the evil being that previously killed Superman. The trio are joined in their adventures this time around by three less well-known, but equally loved among fans, characters including The Flash, Aquaman and Ray Fisher’s Cyborg. We’ve already met all these characters briefly in flashback or found footage scenes in the previous movie, but this is the first time the characters have had a full starring role in the DCU. Superman’s role in proceedings remains a mystery thanks to DC’s usual strict secrecy around the movie, though we do know Cavill is among the cast, and thus that Superman will appear in some form.
Fisher’s character is a human/robot/alien hybrid genius with superhuman abilities created thanks to some stray alien technology and a rather overly inquisitive pair of scientist parents who have used their son, Vic Stone, aka Cyborg, for a host of artificial enhancement experiments. Fisher tells us a little more about his character’s background: “When we meet Victor Stone in this film, he’s been transformed into Cyborg for almost a year,” he says. “He has been keeping himself in complete isolation as he attempts to deal with everything he’s lost: his body, his mother, and the life he once knew. On top of that, he must figure out who and what he is, now that he’s been transformed into a ‘monster’ by his all-too-absent father.”
As for those superhuman enhancements, it sounds like Cyborg could prove a very useful member of the Justice League team: “Due to the technology used to create Cyborg, his powers are ever-evolving,” says Fisher. “They include: the ability to interface with anything technological, flight, super-strength, hologram projection and a sophisticated weapons system … the list goes on! He has powers within him that even he isn’t yet aware of. Cyborg doesn’t need to eat or sleep, and whenever he encounters an issue that he’s not initially equipped to handle, his technology can transmogrify and immediately adapt to that situation.”
Fisher sounds genuinely excited by his incredible abilities, and who wouldn’t jump at the chance to play an all-powerful being on screen? But the actor admits he wasn’t a fan of comic books growing up: “I didn’t have comics growing up, but I became a huge fan of these characters from their animated and cinematic versions. I watched just about every comic movie and animated series in the 1990s and for the past decade,” he tells me.
Of course, like any committed actor, once Fisher was in line for the Cyborg role, he set about amending for his youthful ignorance of the original comics: “When I was cast in Batman v Superman, I was sent a huge stack of comics,” he says. “They provided a ton of information about Cyborg and how he has evolved as a character over the years. It was cool to see so many different representations of him. It gave me licence on how to interpret him.”
Cyborg’s character, in common with many great comic book heroes, is a somewhat conflicted one. He has immense power, yet is unsure of his own identity. The power came not from hard work or skill, but thanks to what could only reasonably be described as a form of abuse from his scientist parents. The Cyborg ‘birth’ scene we have already seen in Batman v Superman, meanwhile, is far from a thing of joy – the human Stone convulsing and screaming in pain in scenes more comparable to Frankenstein’s Monster than to a memorable day on the maternity ward.
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For all the pain associated with his character, however, Fisher says he hopes the overall message audiences take from Cyborg will be a positive one: “I’d like the takeaway from this film to be the idea of unity – that people of different backgrounds and experiences can come together and do what’s right for the world. With my character, I hope they see that despite having undergone a terrible accident which has forever altered Victor, he has turned that around into something positive by helping others.”
Hope, says Fisher, is the underlying theme of both the movie and his character’s own unique struggles: “What drew me to Cyborg was the tragic nature of his origins and how grounded he is in a reality that I recognise. As an actor, it really gave me a lot to chew on,” he says. “Victor has to rebuild himself mentally, the way his father rebuilt him physically. It won’t be easy and it may take time, but he will do it! That’s an important takeaway for the character – giving people hope and showing that no matter what the hardship, anything is possible.”
Justice League is in cinemas this weekend