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Chicago native Harry Lennix Jr. scores victory in the ‘Snyder Cut’

Celebrated actor Harry Lennix is excited to appear in the upcoming “Justice League: Snyder Cut,” or the “Snyder Cut,” as he plays the shapeshifting, telepathic, extraterrestrial superhero J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter.

There had previously been much mystery surrounding Lennix’s involvement in the project. The film is briefly described as follows: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists newfound ally Diana Price to face an even greater threat.

Together Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to recruit a team of superheroes to stand against this newly awakened enemy. The team is also comprised of Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Cyborg and the Flash.

In May 2017, Zack Snyder stepped down during postproduction of “Justice League” due to a family tragedy. Another director, Joss Whedon, (who is currently facing abuse allegations from actors with whom he has worked), took over the film, but when released “Justice League” was considered mediocre by box office standards, shorter in length than what Snyder envisioned and missing characters that fans deemed important to the story. Consequently, fans rallied for a film more faithful to Snyder’s vision, and the “Snyder Cut,” which is four hours long, will begin streaming on HBO Max on March 18.

Previously, Lennix, who is a native of Chicago and who currently plays in NBC’s “The Blacklist,” played Calvin Swanwick in two other DC Extended Universe (DCEU) films; “Man of Steel” and “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” In both films, Lennix’s identity was shrouded in mystery.

It has been reported that Snyder always intended to reveal Swanwick as Martian Manhunter. It is a victory for Lennix and his fans that he will be able to reveal his true self in the “Snyder Cut,” especially after the social media community campaigned for his character. They rallied so hard because Black actors, who had been slated for “Justice League” during early production had been “whitewashed” from the final production.

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Recently, Lennix told a Collider reporter that he had no idea about his character’s real identity when he was cast in “Man of Steel” as General Swanwick, believing it to be a “one and done” situation. And when he was brought back for “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” he was still given no clues about the character’s real identity.

“If I’m in it at all, if I’m in it for 20 seconds or 10, I will be more than happy because I didn’t think I was going to be in it and I certainly didn’t know I was going to be Martian Manhunter until after Zack revealed it, but he always likes to surprise me,” Lennix said. “It was the happiest day that I never expected when I found out this was going to happen. I’m looking forward to it, whatever it is. If it’s a second, I’ll be thrilled.”

Film and culture critic Jonita Davis offered more explanation concerning the importance of this film: “Harry Lennix is Martian Manhunter—a character who is not from this planet but takes the likeness of a Black man while on earth. He is a pivotal character, a powerful one.”

Davis, who is also the publisher of The Black Cape Magazine, added that Lennix isn’t the only Black character in the film, which is great for representation. “The Snyder Cut will shock people. In addition to seeing Lennix in a role he never took under Joss Whedon’s reshoots of the movie that Zack created, we get to see two very powerful and prominent Black comic heroes onscreen working side by side.” She is referring to Cyborg, played by Ray Fisher.

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In an article published in Davis’ magazine, avid fan Will Rowlands discussed creative license: “It boils down to the rights of creators,” while saying that the studio told the public that they would respect Snyder’s work, “but all the while they were cutting it to shreds to make a time limit work.”

Although Lennix no longer lives here, he previously told the Crusader that he considers Chicago his home. “My roots remain here. I have family here and our artistic contributions, architectural achievement, and all-around toughness are inarguably as significant as any other region of the country.

It is a microcosm of all that is right and wrong in America and, as such, is the most ‘American’ city in the world.”

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Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is the Entertainment Editor for the Chicago Crusader. She is a National Newspaper Publishers Association ‘Entertainment Writing’ award winner, contributor to “Rust Belt Chicago” and the author of “Old School Adventures from Englewood: South Side of Chicago.” For info, Old School Adventures from Englewood—South Side of Chicago ( or email: [email protected].

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