Meet Dr. Henry King, aka Brainwave. In DC Universe’s upcoming original series Stargirl, the telepathic villain will set out to make Courtney Whitmore’s life miserable — and he’s not the only one. Brainwave is just one member of the Injustice Society, after all. However, with his ability to read and manipulate thoughts, he may turn out to be one of Stargirl’s most challenging opponents.
Speaking to CBR, Brainwave actor Christopher James Baker teased just how powerful his character truly is. He offered a little insight into King’s dynamic with Courtney, as well as what his life looks like outside of the Injustice Society. He also shared some of his favorite moments from the series, discussed his role on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and more.
CBR: Introduce me to Stargirl‘s Henry King, aka Brainwave.
Christopher James Baker: I like to think of him the other way around: he’s Brainwave, aka Henry King. Sort like how Superman is always Superman, just in disguise as Clark Kent. Brainwave is the true being; Dr. Henry King is a mask. He is a member of the Injustice Society, a villain who is an incredibly powerful telepath. As well as reading minds and controlling people’s thoughts, he can also manipulate how other people see reality. He can inflict a lethal stroke or brain hemorrhage with a thought, and has massive telekinetic abilities which allow him toss a bus through the air with barley a thought.
If you could, tell me a little about how you came to land the role.
I made a self tape, as they were casting in LA and I live in NYC. I was lucky enough to work with Melissa Carter (co- showrunner and writer) on a film years ago and I think she put me on Geoff’s (Johns, writer and showrunner and general legend) radar.
How quickly do we get to meet Henry?
He’s introduced in the first episode and immediately begins to cause trouble for Stargirl.
When Henry isn’t up to super evil villain stuff, what does his life look like?
Dr. Henry King is a very successful and respected neurosurgeon at the Blue Valley medical center. He also takes care of his son, Henry King Jr, who is a classmate of Courtney’s. Although his parenting style is a little didactic at times…
Which one of Henry’s characteristics do you relate to the most?
Hmmm, whilst his actions are ultimately perceived as evil, I admire his clarity of thought and commitment to what he thinks is right. He is very decisive and unconflicted internally.
How would you describe Henry’s dynamic with Stargirl? Does he interact with her as Courtney and, if so, how is that different?
Antagonistic. But Brainwave is also fascinated with Stargirl. I can’t speak too much about how they interact.
Where does Henry fit in the Injustice Society? What’s his role like in that team?
He’s integral to the Injustice society and their plans, but he doesn’t always play well with others.
Can you tease a favorite moment or scene from Stargirl?
The first few encounters with Stargirl as his powers are revealed are pretty exciting.
Switching tracks, let’s talk about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The last time we saw Malachi, he was leading the effort to destroy the organization. What is his role like in Season 7?
Unfortunately I’m not allowed to say, but you get the idea he wasn’t out to make friends.
With the exception of Enoch, the Chronicoms — including Malachi — are pretty static characters. Will we see Malachi go through any sort of changes in Season 7?
Again, I can’t really say. But I think Enoch has been hanging around with humans for too long so is much more in touch with his emotions than most of the other Chronicoms. Being sentient robots, emotions don’t figure heavily in their decision making.
As we learned at SDCC last year, Season 7 is the final season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. How did that change the attitude on set?
It was a great set to be on. A lot of the cast and crew have been working together for years, so I’m sure knowing the finish line was in sight really meant everyone was giving it their best.
Can you share your favorite memory from Agents of SHIELD?
I was on set the day the news broke that Stan Lee had passed away. I remember that day being imbued with a special kind of energy. Everyone taking stock of what an incredible contribution he made to the world, responsible for creating the livelihoods and passion for so many people. It was amazing to hear firsthand stories from different people about what a generous and AWESOME person he was.
You also appeared as a villain on Gotham, another comic book series. Are you drawn to this kind of role, or do they just happen to come your way?
I’m drawn to these kinds of characters and the worlds they inhabit. I love the latitude you have as an actor to explore and invent when the source material comes from good comics. The challenge of finding a grounded truth in a “comic” character is something I find endlessly fascinating.
If you got a chance to play any superhero, who would it be and why?
Good question… I’ve always loved Gambit. He was my favorite comic character growing up. He is just cool for so many reasons. I like characters with some mystery and darkness. Also, the Silver Surfer. The intergalactic nature and scope of the Silver Surfer always blew me away.
DC Universe’s Stargirl stars Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore (Stargirl) and Luke Wilson as Pat Dugan (S.T.R.I.P.E.). The series will premiere Monday, May 18 on DC Universe and Tuesday, May 19 on The CW.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. stars Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Henry Simmons, Iain De Caestecker, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Elizabeth Henstridge and Clark Gregg. Season 7 premieres Wednesday, May 27 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.
Stargirl star Christopher James Baker teased just how powerful Brainwave truly is, what his life looks like outside of the Injustice Society and more.