Spoilers are ahead. TV shows are naturally in the business of keeping you tuned in for more episodes. And the superhero series Jupiter’s Legacy was never going to get Netflix viewers to let the episodes continue to auto-play with just a gray-haired Josh Duhamel chiding people for cursing and droning on about his moral code. Enter the show’s central mystery: how did the Jupiter's Legacy superheroes get their powers?
It takes the show seven entire episodes to tell us what most superhero stories bake into the beginning of any super narrative. In fact, most Marvel movies have learned to get the origin story out of the way early so audiences can focus on what comes next. Jupiter’s Legacy tries to focus both, and to keep us from losing focus, uses This Is Us-inspired flashback storytelling to keep us hooked. Eventually, Jupiter's Legacy takes us back in time to the ‘20s as our soon-to-be heroes embark on the journey that will get them their powers. Unlike This Is Us, which made fans wait 32 episodes to find out how Milo Ventimiglia's Jack died at the hands of a malfunctioning slow cooker, Jupiter's Legacy thankfully answers the central question in seven.
Like in the original comic, the Union's powers are bestowed after the six original heroes journey to a strange island and prove themselves worthy to an extraterrestrial life force. Sure. In the show, they're deemed worthy because they're ~all in this together~ and choose to unite as a team instead of turning on one another when things get tough. This show is very into family values and togetherness. It's like Full House but with super powers.
Upon completing their final test, the six walk through a glowing door and then they're suddenly standing on the surface of an unidentified planet. (Is this supposed to be Jupiter, a notoriously gaseous planet? Who's to say!) A glowing alien orb then projects images of their dead loved ones to reveal the exciting news: they're worthy of superpowers! Once the powers are unlocked, it sends a golden shockwave from the center of the island out into the water where the ship's crew is awaiting to see if the six travelers survive. Then, the superheroes fly down from the sky in spiffy new costumes, because apparently Jupiter is also a tailor.
If you thought waiting out the mystery of how the original six heroes got their powers was excruciating, don't unclench just yet. The next generation of super-powered individuals is even murkier. Some of them got powers via their genetics — Chloe (Elena Kampouris) and Brandon’s (Andrew Horton) parents are both superheroes. But Hutch’s (Ian Quinlan) dad is a hero, and Hutch has no powers, so that’s not a foolproof method. Add to that, the fact that super people seem to be everywhere — and they can't all be offspring of these original six heroes.
The comics aren't exactly helpful in sussing out the answers, because they don't have nearly the amount of superheroes that the show does. The source material really only needs to explain the powers of characters like Chloe and Brandon. But the Netflix series' excess of supes could potentially be explained by the golden shockwave that hit the sailors on Sheldon's boat after the Union got all charged up. That would lean into the comic's author Mark Millar's wish for the Jupiter's Legacy origin story to differ from that of most comic-based superhero history.
"I like the idea of doing something that feels more mythological. Something that felt like it was part of something gigantic," he told CBR News in 2013. "A superhero origin that was quite mythical as opposed to the science-based origins we've seen from the '50s on."
The show is just as mythical as it is mysterious, but the grand reveal of the superhero powers origin story has some holes and unlock a host of other questions. Where did the group's costumes come from? Where is Blue Bolt in the present timeline, and why does no one seem to care about him? At which point did The Utopian decide he was going to preach about his stuffy moral code all the time, and why does he hate swearing so much? Is this golden wave theory a thing? These questions may haunt me forever. But at least no crock-pots were armed in the telling of this century-spanning mystery.