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Born in California, Mike Wade actually graduated from college with a B.A. in Psychology, but taking a pair of acting classes as a college senior sent his career, and his life, off into a different direction as an actor, and it’s probably the best decision he’s made in his life.
You may have seen him in episodes of Timeless, NCIS, For the People, Who the F is Mike Young or in a recurring role on SEAL Team (as Lt. Wes Soto). He’s graced the big screen in nine films, most recently 2018’s Wally Got Wasted.
But on Netflix’s Jupiter’s Legacy he is Fitz Small, the superheroic Flare, and a key member of The Union.
WHO IS FLARE?
NAME: Fitz Small
ALTER EGO: Flare
POWERS AND ABILITIES: Can transform his body into a solid mass of light, which grants him the power of flight and the ability to project energy blasts.
NEED TO KNOW: Founding member of The Union and the team’s heart and soul, now supporting his daughter on her own superheroic journey.
Had you been familiar with Jupiter’s Legacy at all prior to reading the script? Or is it a whole new world for you?
Mike Wade: This is a whole new world for me. I loved Superman growing up. I mean, I still love Superman, but I wasn’t familiar with Mark Millar’s comics. I’ve seen a couple of his movies. I saw Wanted and had heard of Kingsman and Kick-Ass and all that, but I hadn’t known how prolific he was with the comics, and I was blown away by Jupiter’s Legacy. It’s just an amazing comic, as so many people already know.
What was the appeal of Fitz?
He’s someone who can take what works and discard what doesn’t. America is an example. Fitz loves his country and sees it as a great nation. He knows there’s work to be done and he’s not just talking about what’s bad, he’s saying, “Okay, I’m willing to step up and do my part.”
I really admire that about Fitz, because one could just be bitter and just say, “Oh, to hell with all of it.” But that’s not Fitz’s outlook on life and not Fitz’s outlook on his country or even some of his favorite authors, because Fitz loves to read. He still reads Lovecraft, even with the views that he has, he still was able to find value in certain stories.
The story spans many decades, so how do changes in society affect Fitz?
Fitz is impacted because The Union has a code. We don’t lead, we inspire. We apprehend the bad guys, we don’t kill anyone. He lives that, because Fitz has been injured in battle, so it’s not just talk.
He goes through a very serious injury as Flare.
It’s a different world than we came up with. Even with his physical injuries, what means the most to Fitz is that his daughter is out there now. It’s one thing for him to be hurt and not be able to perform the same way he did, but to see his daughter risking her life … well, that really makes you question the code you live by even more.
His daughter is pivotal to him…
Seeing things through the eyes of his daughter, who has a heart of gold and is able to forgive him … well, if Fitz can take what works and discard what doesn’t, she can do it 100 times better.
How does he relate to people now that he’s a hero?
The way I see it is we’re superheroes, but we’re still very much human. So, any insecurities that we had before we acquired these powers, we still have them. They didn’t magically go away when we acquired these powers. We’re still dealing with some very human issues. Each of us has our own little thing. Even someone like the Union’s leader, Sheldon Sampson, the Utopian, as perfect as he seems, there’s still a lot going on with him. So, each character has their flaw that we still have to work through.
What’s the feeling when you put that costume on?
It’s a process. It’s empowering, and then it gets hot. And then when you take it off, it gets cool, because then all the air rushes in. It’s funny. We were talking about this with Josh [Duhamel, who plays the Utopian]. You feel so big and strong in that thing, but the thing is, you can’t go to the bathroom without somebody helping you out. So how strong can you really be?
But you walk different, you feel different. You feel more like the character. You feel like someone who has superpowers, because it’s the way that it kind of commands you to walk. We had a great wardrobe, costume department. So, they put a lot of time in to get those right. They did an amazing job. Each person’s super suit is unique. I think people are going to be amazed by them.
Are you ready for the scrutiny from fandom that comes with being on a superhero show?
I’m very much looking forward to that. I’m a people person. I love people. That’s probably why I studied psychology when I was in college. I love to meet people, and I love to see people affected in a positive way. I’ve seen just a little taste of the fans that Mr. Millar has, and it’s amazing. I can’t wait to meet people in person and take pictures, and when it’s safe, shake hands and all that type of thing. I’m very much looking forward to it. I mean, it’s going to be new to me, but I know it’s going to be a lot of fun. One way that I relate to Fitz is I can take what works and not focus on the negative or anything like that.
For the audience that may not be familiar with Jupiter’s Legacy, in your mind, what do you feel is the real power of this show?
The real power of Jupiter’s Legacy is the fact that it’s universal. So yeah, we’re a superhero genre show, but there’s a lot of individual struggle that each person, each character, has to go through. There’s family struggle. Even if someone’s not into the whole superhero world, they will still be very much attracted to that. I really feel like Jupiter’s Legacy is a family drama wrapped up in an epic examination of the superhero genre…you could take it further into Greek mythology as well, of course.
Jupiter’s Legacy premieres on Netflix on May 7. Read more about the series in our special edition magazine!