On paper, Icicle sounds more like a dessert treat than a menacing villain, but as we learned in Stargirl's third episode, he's much more than meets the eye. The hour, named after the Injustice Society of America leader, saw him kill councilman William Zarick and his son Joey in cold blood which set a new, darker tone for the series.
Neil Jackson, who plays the frosty evildoer, says he was initially thrown off by the cutesy moniker which doesn't invoke the sort of terror one has come to expect from the main bad guy in a superhero series. It wasn't until creator and showrunner Geoff Johns explained who Icicle aka Jordan Mahkent was that Jackson finally understood why the name is perfectly suited for this iteration of the comic book character.
"I was like, 'Well, is this a Nickelodeon show? He sounds like a My Little Pony. He doesn't sound like a villain who instills fear in people,'" Jackson explained. "Then he pitched me the character and I got it straight away. These names are throw-overs from when comic books didn't have the same sort of gravitas that we have with them now, and so you've got names like The Justice Society and Injustice Society and Icicle and Stripsey, and they're all a little bit kitsch and silly and fun. Geoff's brilliantly taken what could be ludicrous and turned it into something that's very credible. With this last episode, Jordan proves himself to be a very, very, very powerful threat even though he's got a silly name."
Jordan's actions are some of the darkest we've seen on the show so far. First, he staged a nasty car accident on a bridge which resulted in Joey's death. Later, when William confronted him about the loss of his son, Jordan used his power to freeze him solid and then covered it up as a heart attack. According to Jackson, Icicle had some compelling reasons for the double homicide.
"The justification for killing Joey Zarick is that's a direct warning to Courtney (Brec Bassinger). He's like, 'You're a little girl playing in a man's sandpit here, and if you want to try to play this game, there's going to be repercussions,'" Jackson explained. "The father, William Zarick, has disobeyed Jordan and is threatening his leadership in the ISA. He has to go because he's no longer the cooperative team member, but his son became collateral damage as a warning shot to Courtney."
The slayings were a surprisingly dark turn for the usually light-hearted show, which Jackson admitted made him concerned over how these differing tones would mesh into one cohesive story.
"I had so many chats with Geoff, to the point that I think I was starting to frustrate Geoff [because] there's two sides to this TV show. There's the very light, fun, family-orientated, almost Riverdale High School, bright colors, Stargirl side of it. Then there's the Jordan Mahkent Injustice Society, which is dealing with cancer and death and revenge," Jackson explained. "I kept saying to him, 'I don't know how you're going to marry these two worlds together. How are you going to make a cohesive show out of two very different tones?' The more we talked about it, the more I saw the brilliance in it. She's Stargirl, she's light, she's a burning ball of fire and he is a hard ball of ice," Jackson said.
With Zarick no longer in Icicle's way, Stargirl's big bad now sits comfortably as the head of American Dream Corporation, which also employs Courtney's mom Barbara (Amy Smart). In this position, he'll now able to move forward with his plan to build a better America through Project New America. Fans still don't yet know what exactly his plans entail yet, but Jackson says Jordan's motivations are completely sincere in his eyes.
"He is very, very passionate about re-instilling the sort of Norman Rockwell values that America had and bringing communities back in a sense of community. It's a two-pronged attack that he's doing with that. There's the business side of it, where he's going into communities to inject cash and capital and revitalize the communities as he's done [in] Blue Valley," Jackson said. "But the other side of it is a far deeper plan that's going to seismically change the JSA. That is a little more on the villain front, but still with the same intention that he's ultimately trying to make the world a better place. But he is a hundred percent behind that plan which is the reason why anything that is in the way of it has to be eradicated."
And while Stargirl's efforts to protect Blue Valley from the ISA pit her directly against Icicle, his biggest threat may come from an entirely different source. The new job will find Jordan working closely with Barbara, where he'll be forced to deal with zoning plans and some unexpected feelings.
"She awakens feelings in him that he hadn't felt since the death of his wife," Jackson said of Barbara. "His feelings start to get in the way of [his plans]." Is Icicle really poised to mack on Courtney's mom? Something tells me this growing feud with Stargirl is about to get personal.
Stargirl airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on the CW. New episodes also drop Mondays on DC Universe.