Isabela Merced. Photo by Cibelle Levi

Superman: Legacy’s Isabela Merced Reacts to Hawkgirl Casting News

Actress Isabela Merced was understandably thrilled at the announcement that she would be playing the role of Hawkgirl in Superman: Legacy. Yet the news was particularly poignant for one special reason.

Merced Calls Hawkgirl Role A Gift

Merced responded to her casting on Instagram, revealing that the news coincidentally came on her birthday. Merced posted a picture of Hawkgirl, which can be seen below, and praised DC Studios co-CEO and Superman: Legacy director James Gunn, calling the announcement of her new role “the best birthday gift.”

Merced was one of three actors recently confirmed as part of the Superman: Legacy cast, along with Nathan Fillion and Edi Gathegi. Fillion will be playing the Green Lantern Guy Gardner, whereas Gathegi will be playing the Michael Holt version of Mister Terrific. It is less clear, however, which version of Hawkgirl will be played by Isabela Merced.

There have been several heroines to use the Hawkgirl name at DC Comics, inspiring quite the complicated history to tie them all together. The first Hawkgirl was Shiera Sanders, who was the latest reincarnation of an Egyptian queen, Chay-Ara, reunited with her true love in the modern world. The second Hawkgirl was Shayera Hol, an alien peacekeeper from the planet Thanagar. However, the most likely candidate is the modern Hawkgirl, Kendra Saunders, who was a distant descendant of the first Hawkgirl.

A young Hispanic woman, Kendra had a troubled youth before she took her own life. The soul of Chay-Ara took over Kendra’s body, yet retained all of Kendra’s spirit, personality, and memories. This inspired a fair bit of confusion when Hawkman returned from the dead to find his destined “true love” had no memory of their millennia of shared experiences.

It seems unlikely this backstory will make it into Superman: Legacy, given the dark subject matter and how convoluted it is. Additionally, it is unclear how much of Kendra’s original backstory is still canon in the modern DC Universe. It’s possible Gunn may split the difference and introduce a new Hawkgirl with Kendra’s appearance and the Shayera Hol background. In any case, it is clear that Isabela Merced is happy to be taking flight as the new Hawkgirl.