At the end of Supergirl‘s first season, an alien pod crash-landed on earth. Who did the Martian Manhunter (David Harewood) and Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) find in the pod? We now know that it is Mon-El, a character introduced in the comic books in 1961. Chris Wood was cast in the role.
The 28-year-old actor made his debut in the season two premiere, “The Adventures of Supergirl” on The CW, although it was brief. We only got to see him asleep and his identity was not revealed. However, Mon-El had his coming-out party in episode three, “Welcome To Earth.” In “Survivors,” his relationship with Kara began to blossom, as she told him that she looks forward to looking out for him on earth, something she didn’t get to do for her cousin, Kal-El. Kara also tried to be a role model for Mon-El, but it doesn’t look like he’s all that interested. He was captured by Cadmus at the end of “Changing.”
As the show moved towards its fall finale, Mon-El’s part continued to grow to the point where we think Kara and Mon-El might become romantically involved.
“The chemistry between Chris and Melissa is definitely palpable, and we’re loving writing their characters together,” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg told Entertainment Weekly before the fall finale aired. “The next episode is a big Kara/Mon-El story that we’re really excited about. They’re both obviously playing coy about what happened, neither admitting that they actually did kiss, so how and when that comes out is going to be fun and delicious.”
Here is a look at the character and Wood.
1. Mon-El, A.K.A. Lar Gand, Made His Debut in ‘Superboy’ in 1961 & Has the Same Powers as Superman
Mon-El made his debut in Superboy #89 in 1961. He crash-landed on earth and Superboy (the younger version of Superman) assumed Mon-El was Kryptonian because they shared the same powers. When Mon-El crashed, he lost all of his memories, so Kal-El had to come up with a name. The “Mon” part comes from the fact that he landed on a Monday. Kal also assumed that Mon-El would be a family member, so he gave him the “El” surname.
However, the truth is that Mon-El is really Lar Gand, an alien born on Daxam. Gand was an explorer who visited Krypton just before it was about to explode. Jor-El, Kal’s father, warned him of this and gave him a map to Earth.
The big difference between Kryptonians and Daximites is their weakness. While Kryptonians can be hurt when exposed to Kryptonite, lead hurts Daximites. Oddly, lead is more dangerous to Daximites than kryptonite is to Kryptonians.
2. ‘Supergirl’ Producer Andrew Kreisberg Says the Show’s Mon-El Will be Completely Different
The DC Comics shows under Greg Berlanti haven’t shied away from changing things and Mon-El will be no different. In an interview with Collider, executive producer Andrew Kreisberg said that their Mon-El will be “our own spin on” the character. Mon-El will give Kara the chance to be mentor instead of mentee.
“What’s interesting about Mon-El joining the show, from Kara’s perspective, is that Kara has spent her whole life as someone who’s been mentored, first by her mother, and then by the Danvers and Superman and Cat. She’s always been somebody who’s been taken care of, in a way. Now, with Mon-El, he’s fresh off the boat. As far as he’s concerned, living on another planet happened yesterday, and suddenly, he’s on Earth and everything he knew was lost, just the way it was for Kara, but she’s had 12 years to process it and he’s struggling with it. So, Kara is now the one in the mentor position.
Kreisberg has followed through with his promise. Although Mon-El is still a Daximite, the backstory behind his name was completely dropped. Maybe “El” is a common surname on both Krypton and Daxam.
3. Wood Starred in The CW’s ‘Containment’ Series During the 2015-2015 TV Season
Wood is no stranger to The CW. He’s starred in two shows for the network that failed to live up to expectations. Last season, he played Jake in Containment, a show about a virus that breaks out in Atlanta and the entire city is quarantined. The limited series lasted 13 episodes and didn’t start airing until April 2016. The show’s run ended in July.
Containment was promoted as a limited series, but executive producer Chris Ord teased the possibility of more seasons. But after weak ratings, The CW decided in May not to order a second season.
Wood also starred on The Carrie Diaries as Adam Weaver. That show was a prequel to Sex and the City, with AnnaSophia Robb as Carrie Bradshaw. The show only lasted two seasons before getting cancelled in 2014.
Wood Played Kai Parker in ‘The Vampire Diaries’
Despite Carrie‘s lack of success, The CW thought Wood showed promise and he was cast in the role of Kai Parker in The Vampire Diaries. He played the role for 16 episodes between 2014 and 2015.
Wood’s performance as the character made him a fan favorite. In an interview with Glamour, he gave some advice to fans who might see him on the street.
It’s always nice to hear what fans have to say about the show, whatever love they want to share. A quiet, non-attention grabbing, “Hey, just wanted to say that I enjoy your work” is perfect. I only hope that people understand that if I’ve just come from the gym or am fresh off a red-eye flight and look like a sweaty mess, I might not be super keen on photo ops!
5. Wood’s Father Died of Untreated Mental Illness in 2012 & Spoke at the Mental Health America 2016 Conference
Wood was a speaker at the Mental Health America 2016 conference because mental illness is an issue close to Wood’s heart. He lost his father to an untreated mental illness.
In his Glamour interview, he said the best thing to do for a friend who might be feeling depressed or struggling is to be there to listen.
Let them know that you are understanding of their feelings. Be open to hearing what they’re saying and ask how you can help. Make sure they know they aren’t alone, that there is hope and they can find help, and encourage them to be an active participant in their treatment. A lot of people go through this, and they don’t need to feel ashamed. Offer to help them find an appointment to speak with someone, or even to accompany them if they feel overwhelmed. Admitting they are having a problem and talking about it is the first step to recovery, so as long as you stay supportive and encourage them to be active in getting help, you’ll be doing more than enough.
Wood is a graduate of Elon University in North Carolina, where he earned a musical theater degree. He is currently dating Hannah Lawrence.