Ricky Church chats with Legion of Super-Heroes star Zeno Robinson…
DC’s latest animated film Legion of Super-Heroes has now been released, taking viewers along a ride to the 31st Century with Supergirl as she learns to hone her powers. Training alongside new Legion recruits as well as the egotistical Brainiac 5, a descendent of Superman’s enemy, Supergirl and her new friends discover a threat that could destroy the universe and must work together in order to prevent it.
We spoke with voice actor Zeno Robinson on his role as Invisible Kid in the film. Robinson has had a long career in voice acting, starring in series such as My Hero Academia, The Owl House and Pokémon. This film is not his first DC work as he recently starred as Jimmy Olsen in Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons. We chatted with Robinson about Invisible Kid and his haywire powers, the Legion’s popularity and his latest role as the new Terran bot Thrash in Transformers: Earthspark. Check out our interview below…
Ricky Church: In Legion of Super-Heroes you play Invisible Kid. What’s it like to play this character who is relatively unknown to the mainstream audience?
Zeno Robinson: It’s cool. The cool thing about Invisible Kid is sort of introducing this character that certain fans may not know, but certain fans who maybe the Legion is their favorite may know, introducing him to the mainstream in this way and endearing him to audiences so that he may get a bigger role in the comics. I think that in Brian Michael Bendis’ run Invisible Kid has shown up a couple times, so endearing him like that so we could see him a little bit more. It was really cool establishing that personality for him and establishing him in the reality of what he would be like and why audiences should like him.
Cool. You talk about making him endearing to audiences. One of the things that I found funny that endeared him was the fact that he had trouble turning invisible sometimes. He’s training to be part of this great group of superheroes, but he’s having trouble with his primary power. What are your thoughts on what his problems were or how that might be relatable?
Yeah, I think it was cool because I loved playing this kid who was literally just trying to find his way. He idolizes and he looks up to these heroes that he aspires to be, but everybody kind of goes through growing pains, especially when it comes to something like our innate talents or our innate abilities. Even with me in acting, I had trouble with it at first and sometimes it takes training and practice and patience to unlock my own artistic method of working. Just like with Invisible Kid, it’s like a lot of working at how do I figure out how my own abilities work in the midst of a great crisis.
For sure. Now this movie is led primarily by Supergirl as she tries to find her place in the future and come to terms with the destruction of Krypton. She’s been pretty popular these last few years with her live-action TV series, so what do you think about the focus on her and why she’s such a popular character among not just Superman or Supergirl fans, but the DC fans?
Yeah. I think it’s a smart idea to make Supergirl the focus of this movie in particular because Supergirl as a character is someone who didn’t grow up the same way as Clark did with all of the values and ideals that were instilled in Clark at an early, early age before discovering his powers. Supergirl just sort of discovered her powers immediately. She’s like ‘What do I do with all this power?’ while Superman already knows what to do. So as a character who looks up to Superman, to then be taken to the future where a whole society of people look up to Superman and she can physically see his legacy, like how that legacy affects her and what she wants to do with her own power and establishing her own legacy. I think because she has just such a different sort of value system than Superman it creates an interesting dynamic with her, with fans and things like that.
We talked a little bit about this with Invisible Kid, but even just the supporting characters next to Supergirl, they’re all made up of some lesser known Legionnaires than the big ones who are away in this movie. What’s it like to be starring alongside these other characters who, again, a lot of the mainstream or even some DC fans might not know and bringing them to the forefront?
Yeah. It was really cool. It’s like before the Teen Titans were the Teen Titans, there was a show that introduced you to them and now everybody loves the Teen Titans. I feel like it’s kind of the same thing. Everyone I’m acting alongside are all peers and friends and people that I look up to so it was cool starring in a thing alongside them. Like Eric Lopez and riffing off of their characters and sort of becoming this unlikely group of heroes in training who want to prove themselves and be like their heroes. I think that was just a cool element to play and I love underdog stories and I love stories where people are figuring it out and trying to be emblematic to the people they look up to.
Yeah. I like what you said there, calling it an underdog story because one of my favourite aspects to this movie is that it feels like a coming of age story for Supergirl and a lot of the other Legionnaires. How did that inspire your performance or the performances of the rest of the cast?
It inspired me in the way that my performance for Invisible Kid is that it is that underdog story and it is coming of age even for an Invisible Kid. He’s got this power set and it’s that story of how do I make this useful? How do I make this applicable to every situation, any situation that I’m in? Outside looking in, just turning invisible may not be, to someone, may not be a crazy power to have or may not be one of the strongest powers, but it’s all about how you apply it and figuring out how to apply it. I think that’s what I really, really enjoyed going on with that part of Invisible Kid, him figuring it out. I feel like at the end of the day we’re all just kind of figuring it out, especially when it comes to like our personal art, our personal talents and things like that.
For sure. You also previously starred as Jimmy Olsen in Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons. Jimmy as well is a very young character in that movie and he’s known as Superman’s Pal, this light and positive character. How does it feel going from one DC character like Jimmy Olsen to Invisible Kid?
It was really cool. I love playing Jimmy because he’s such an iconic character and I love the take we did on him in the movie. I love playing such a character that was kind of a tech role to Superman. He has this sort of different energy than Invisible Kid. Like Invisible Kid also has the benefit of having superpowers and being a superhero and I love playing superheroes, I love playing characters with powers, but I always also love just being grounded and down to earth, supporting people like Jimmy Olsen. It’s like the differences between the two, it’s interesting to see how having the powers also influences Invisible Kid’s personality whereas Jimmy is a little more mild mannered.
Cool. Another of your recent roles is Transformers: Earthspark. I’m a big Transformers fan. Transformers is such a huge franchise that’s been going on for decades. What’s it like to be part of the Transformers universe, especially a new Transformers show that’s meant to introduce the franchise to a new generation of fans?
Yeah. It was crazy. It was just as crazy as getting told you’re going to be part of the museum! I grew up on Transformers as a kid as well. I just feel very blessed to be able to take part and be part of establishing characters or adding to worlds of things that I enjoyed as a kid so I can sort of bring what I enjoyed about it to a new generation. Earthspark has been so much fun and Thrash has been such a fun character, very much like Invisible Kid. I love Thrash a lot and the producers really let me do my own thing, they really let me make it mine. We did the same thing with Invisible Kid so it’s an honour to be a new Transformer and a new form of Transformer as a Terran. It’s been a great blessing and a great honour. Yeah, I’ve been having so much fun with it.
Thank you to Zeno Robinson for speaking with us!
Legion of Super-Heroes is now available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD. Read our review here.
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.