Legion of Super-Heroes star Harry Shum Jr. about what draws him to franchises like DC and Grey’s Anatomy

Appearing somewhere in between in the Oscar nominee Everything everywhere at once and landing a gig on primetime staple Gray’s Anatomyfound actor Harry Shum, Jr. time to voice Brainiac 5 Legion of Superheroes, a DC Universe animated film available today on digital, Blu-ray and DVD. In the film, Supergirl feels traumatized by the loss of her homeworld and completely out of place in a world of superheroes where she is on a steep learning curve. Superman suggests she go to the future where she can train with the Legion to control her powers, perhaps finding some semblance of family along the way.

One of the first people she encounters is Brainiac 5, whom she immediately distrusts due to his family’s legacy of evil. Much of the film’s conflict revolves around whether she can trust him when a mysterious army of masked villains attempt to loot a powerful weapon from the legion’s vault. Shum, who previously appeared in Shadowhunters And cheerfulnessis no stranger to taking on roles with a passionate audience that has high expectations.

“It’s a balancing act to honor what people liked about the show or the novel or something you edit, or these characters they’ve lived longer with than you,” Shum told ComicBook.com. “I think I always approach it at the core of trying to figure out what defined them, and then also take that away so that I can see the core humanity of those characters, and then take that away. I think that’s is some staying strong and moving on, whether you’re going with a 400-year-old warlock, or an intern who fought to try to get into the program at a renowned hospital, to Brainiac 5, who has everything from his ancestors who wanting to destroy the universe, while trying something different. Here he meets someone who was loved, but at the same time always falls in the shadow of her relative. So I think when you look at the humanity of it all, there’s more clarity behind it.”

Shum said his love of comics and Brainiac 5’s sense of isolation both contributed to his wanting to get the job done. This means that he has recently provided animated voices for major space-based franchises set in the future on two occasions, as he also appeared in Star Trek: lower decks.

“I think there’s a loner aspect to him, which I thought was really interesting, especially when you talk about family as a theme,” Shum said. “There’s a bond that you always want to have between people and that you want to pass on to the next generation, but I think there’s loneliness, and when I read the script I saw Brainiac 5 and I identified with that in a lot of ways .Growing up as a kid I was a very lonely kid I rolled very much alone, and comic books were the safe haven where I got to explore the things that you were so afraid of before I think with Brainiac 5, watching him do this working through things on a high level, and being able to see these things in a different way than anyone else… that puts you in a lonely place, because you’re the only one who can see it that way, so you can’t really talk to anyone I think it was really nice to be able to step back and see Brainiac 5 explore his emotions and vulnerability, with someone who’s not just as powerful as Supergirl, but as powerful as her.”

You can check out the official synopsis for Legion of Superheroes below.

Welcome to the 31st century and the Legion Academy, where a new generation hones their powers in hopes of joining the Legion of Super-Heroes. Devastated by tragedy, Supergirl struggles to adjust to her new life on Earth. On the advice of her cousin Superman, Supergirl leaves their space-time to go to the Academy. There she soon makes new friends, as well as a new enemy with old ties: Brainiac 5. But a nefarious plot lurks in the shadows – the mysterious group known as the Dark Circle seeks a powerful weapon in the Academy vault. Find out if the budding heroes are up to the challenge in this all-new DC Universe movie!

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