What Are The White Martians on 'Supergirl'? These Alien Villains Have Ties To Hank's Past

Already in Season 1 of Supergirl, Kara Zor-El has faced off against a number of villains — some human, some alien. As the show has proven, the crash landing of a Kryptonian prison ship on Earth can have some serious consequences, most notably being Astra and Non's plot to take over the planet, of course. But Supergirl has fought non-Kryptonian aliens, and viewers will soon meet a new kind of intergalactic foe. But, what are White Martians and what connections do they have to DEO leader Hank Henshaw?

Well, don't forget that Hank Henshaw revealed himself to be an alien in disguise: J'onn J'onzz, also known as Martian Manhunter. So, as you can probably tell from both having "Martian" in their names, yes J'onn and the White Martians hail from the same big red planet. But, they are not the same race of Martians as J'onn, who is a member of the Green Martian race. In the comics, both races share the same powers as Martians, but there is a fundamental distinction between them aside from skin color: the Green Martians are wise and peaceful while the White Martians are savage warriors. This difference in their natures led to a civil war between the races on Mars.

So how can we relate that info about the White Martians to what we know of J'onn on Supergirl? Well, since he introduced himself as the last surviving Martian, he either lied (unlikely) or he wasn't aware there were any White Martians left (significantly more likely). According to the episode synopsis, we also find out that the White Martians are responsible for J'onn being the last remaining member of the Green Martian race:

“Strange Visitor From Another Planet” – Kara must help Hank face his painful past when a White Martian, a member of the alien race that wiped out his people, kidnaps Senator Miranda Crane (Tawny Cypress), an anti-alien politician. Also, Cat’s estranged son, Adam (Blake Jenner), arrives in National City.

It's unclear if Supergirl will delve into the civil war aspect of J'onn's life on Mars (I'm sorry, I couldn't resist a David Bowie reference). But, considering he proclaimed himself to be the sole survivor of his planet and "the last son of Mars," something definitely happened on the red planet. According to an interview with David Harewood, who plays Hank Henshaw/J'onn J'onzz, the White Martians killed the Green Martians with fire — the Martians' greatest weakness.

Now, if you're having any doubts that this episode is going to be exceptionally emotional, let me just stop you right there. Harewood admitted it was an emotional episode for him to film, and with what we know about J'onn's backstory, that makes a whole lot of sense. Plus, Glen Winter, the director of "Strange Visitors From Another Planet," recently told Comic Book Resources this episode of Supergirl is going to make viewers cry:

It's an amazing episode. It delves into Martian Manhunter's history, and where he came from. Someone from his past comes back to see him. David Harewood gives an emotional, nuanced performance. You can expect to cry. It's beautiful. [Audiences] can expect some amazing action.

So, break out your tissues Supergirl fans, because this is going to be another emotional episode. Is anyone else keeping track of how many times Supergirl has made them cry? This J'onn J'onzz episode dealing with White Martians will bring me up to six.

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