Jupiter's Legacy ending explained, Easter eggs and questions answered
Skyfox challenges the cast of Mark Millar's superhero drama, streaming now on Netflix. (Spoilers!)
Richard TrenholmFormer Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Not all superheroes are super (or heroic) in Jupiter's Legacy. Let's check out where Hutch and Chloe, Skyfox, Blackstar and the cast of this superpowered Netflix drama wind up as we break down volume 1's deadly final twist.
Based on a comic written by Mark Millar, Jupiter's Legacy is produced by Millar, with Steven DeKnight and Sang Kyu Kim working as showrunners. All eight episodes of the first season are streaming now, adapting different parts of the Jupiter's Legacy and Jupiter's Circle
. They interweave a present-day story with flashbacks to an origin story for the Utopian, Lady Liberty and the Union of Justice. Both storylines build to big season-ending revelations, but what do they mean and how do they set up a possible season 2?
What's the deal with the Utopian and Paragon?
Just like in the first episode, Sheldon Sampson (Josh Duhamel) and Brandon (Andrew Horton) face Blackstar (Tyler Mane) in episode 8, titled How it All Ends, and it's the real deal this time. Blackstar taunts the Utopian to break his code and kill the bad guy. Fortunately, Petra (Tenika Davis) breaks the stalemate, and after killing the clone in the previous encounter, Brandon restrains himself this time. The Utopian doesn't look very happy about it, however.
What happened in the clone's head?
This is the first time we see smooth-talking George Hutchence, aka Skyfox (Matt Lanter), in the present day -- or so we think. In the dead clone's mind, Walt (Ben Daniels) encounters an image of George. Some kind of mental battle follows, though even in this strange realm it takes the form of a traditional superhero punch-up. When Lady Liberty turns up, Walt seems genuinely regretful, telling her the situation is somehow "all his fault."
We've seen how the smooth-talking George got his powers in the origin flashbacks, but we don't know how his son Hutch came along or how he fell out with his teammates over the Utopian's idealistic code. The Utopian told Brandon that Skyfox betrayed his fellow heroes, but George claims Walt turned the Union against him -- which may have some truth, given what Walt has been up to.
What's Walt up to?
Walt blames Sheldon for the state of the nation, so he created the Blackstar clone to stir up trouble between the heroes. It was Walt who placed their father's watch inside the clone, framing their missing friend George for the convoluted scheme. Walt then shows Lady Liberty a vision of Sheldon and Brandon's corpses, pushing her into believing their old pal is returning to cause trouble. But given that we see only a mental image of Skyfox, is George even really involved?
Walt's daughter Raikou, played by Ana Akana, worked it all out. But she made the mistake of blackmailing her father instead of joining him. He uses his mind powers to distract her while he slits her throat, meaning no one knew about his schemes to manipulate his brother and turn the family against each other. The season ends with Walt offering reassurance to a troubled Sheldon, but we know he has devious schemes in store...
What does this mean for season 2?
Walt is still part of the Union and the family, but he's working to drive a wedge between Brandon and Sheldon and undermine the code. He's shown that he'll ruthlessly deal with anyone who gets in his way -- even his own flesh and blood. With his trusted position inside the Union and his powerful mental abilities, he'll be tough to beat if there's another season. The question is whether Hutch and Chloe will find the real George, and whether George can or will face Walt again. Unfortunately, the Utopian will probably see them all as criminals, which would unwittingly aid Walt's Machiavellian machinations.
If future seasons continue the dual narrative structure, maybe those flashbacks will reveal the circumstances surrounding Skyfox's break with the Union (and Walt's role in the schism).
How did the Union's members get their powers?
The flashback origin story picks up some time after the ordeal on the island, with the six travelers adopting superhero identities and embarking on crime-fighting careers with powers that are eventually passed on to their children. It isn't clear how other characters like Blackstar got their powers, however.
In a nod to comics history, the newspaper photo Walt shows Sheldon depicts Lady Liberty hefting a car in the same pose that Superman's in on the iconic cover of the very first Superman story, 1938's Action Comics #1.
Now that he's the Utopian, Sheldon happily goes without a mask. He assures Walt they have an untouchable bond -- but in a mirror of their later conflict, Walt hides his true face. In the final flashback scene, we see the Union members gather round the table in their headquarters, bantering about power rods and discussing the reason for their powers. Walt wants to "rule the world," passing it off as a joke...
Why didn't Hutch's powers work?
Hutch pushes Chloe away when he calls her the Utopian's daughter, which makes it frustratingly ironic that his friends abandon him because of the relationship. That's how he ends up alone in an airless vault in China. And because his teleporting power rod works by voice control, the lack of air means he can't make a sound to teleport out. Luckily Chloe chooses to become his new partner in crime, which will surely put her on a collision course with her father.
Together they steal a power source that can punch a hole in the most powerful being. But Hutch isn't gunning for the heroes -- he wants to find his father.
The episode then cuts to the original heroes discussing why original hero Blue Bolt has a power rod, similar to the one Hutch uses. Is this meant to imply that Hutch's parentage may not be as clear-cut as we think?
How did Blackstar get out?
Antimatter-powered supervillain Blackstar escaped the Supermax prison thanks to Walt's tampering with the cell door lock during an earlier visit, when he pretended to be angry. The book Blackstar is reading, a romance paperback called Faithless Seduction, is written by one "Fiona Bower," coincidentally the name of the show's art department coordinator.
What was the song in the clone's head?
The mental image of George was listening to Painting the Clouds With Sunshine, a little ditty from the 1929 musical Gold Diggers of Broadway. That's also the title of episode 3, where we heard the tune while George spiffed himself up to the line "Playing the clown trying to drown all of my woes."
Who's Haddo the sorcerer?
Eagle-eared fans will have spotted a couple of mentions of this mysterious magic man during the season. Oliver Haddo was a name used by novelist W. Somerset Maugham to parody real-life occultist Aleister Crowley, but all we know from the show is he sold a van to Hutch's crew. A touch of enchantment in future seasons, maybe?
How does the TV show match with the comic? (Spoilers for the comic)
Walt's betrayal is an early twist in the comic, but in the book he recruits all the heroes to turn on the Utopian. Brandon in particular is seduced by Walt's words -- and uses his heat vision to explode his father's head.
Brandon murdering the Utopian ushers in a dystopian future in which Hutch and Chloe must fight back against Walt and his authoritarian regime -- with belated help from George, who's been in hiding the whole time. In the comic, Walt's betrayal is extremely public, but in the TV adaptation we see him scheming against his family from within.