While comic book creator Mark Millar is heavily involved in Netflix’s adaptation of Jupiter’s Legacy, that doesn’t mean the show is a direct translation of his original graphic novels.
In fact, the eight-episode first season makes several major diversions from the comics that inspired it, from slowing down the pace to altering the stories of key characters.
If you’re interested in checking out the source material for yourself, check out our complete guide to the Jupiter’s Legacy reading order that explains the best way to tackle the fantasy saga.
Otherwise, read on for a full breakdown of the biggest changes that Jupiter’s Legacy on Netflix makes to the comic books, but beware of spoilers ahead for both the books and the streaming show.
Jupiter’s Legacy: Biggest comic book changes
The journey to the island
One of the most noticeable changes for anyone familiar with the Jupiter’s Legacy comics is the journey that Sheldon Sampson and his associates have to take in order to get to the mysterious island from his visions.
This odyssey is touched upon very briefly in the books, encompassing only seven pages of the first issue and six more in the fourth chapter, with Sheldon’s friends seemingly never having any doubt about his sanity.
In stark contrast, this subplot is a main focus in the first season of Jupiter’s Legacy, with all of the flashback scenes fixed on the psychological trauma Sheldon experiences during his harrowing journey.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press, creator Mark Millar explained that writer Steven S. DeKnight was behind the idea to expand this storyline, in an homage to sci-fi classics Close Encounters of the Third Kind and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
“It was such a genius idea, it sounded so bold that that would be half of the first season,” Millar said. “We plotted it out very carefully and then as the scripts were coming in, I saw what he was doing and I was like: ‘This is perfect’.
He added: “We talked about doing this as a movie [and] it was going to be the first five minutes… but a television show just works perfectly. We’re with Sheldon and his friends when they get to that island. We’ve been through that ordeal with them for six episodes before they get off that boat.”
Another notable change from this subplot is that, in the comic books, Sheldon’s first wife, Jane, actually stays with him for several years after he becomes the Utopian.
However, she does not go to the island with him and therefore lacks his superhuman abilities, which becomes an obstacle in their relationship as his ability to deal with virtually every problem on the planet makes her feel inadequate.
She decides to end their relationship and pursue a more independent lifestyle, leading a heartbroken Sheldon to find comfort from a similarly lonely Grace Kennedy (aka Lady Liberty).
The portrayal of Brandon Sampson in Jupiter’s Legacy on Netflix is very different to his depiction in the comics.
The streaming series paints him as a committed superhero desperate for the approval of his father, whereas he is already reckless and disillusioned by his introduction in the source material.
In an interview with RadioTimes.com and other press, Brandon actor Andrew Horton implied that the show plans to gradually move Brandon closer in-line with his comic book portrayal over a multiple-season arc.
“The fact that the series is providing Brandon with this backstory to hopefully develop to where he gets to in the comics… I really like that,” he said. “Because for me, as an actor, that’s going to give me a hell of a journey in season two when we get there: to become this this darker, more narcissistic, more vengeful person.
“What’s nice about Brandon in the first series is that he’s so earnest, and then to go from that point and to become so totally disillusioned with the code as he is in the comic books, I think that there’s gonna be a hell of an arc and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it.”
In the Jupiter’s Legacy comic books, Walter Sampson has a super-powered son named Jules, who is expelled from the Union of Justice by Sheldon after dating a woman he rescued from a fire.
When Walter turns against his brother and seizes control of the team, it is implied that he is partially motivated by securing a powerful position for his son.
However, the absence of Jules in the television adaptation makes Walter’s devious scheming even more selfish, as he is entirely driven by building up his own influence.
“He’s much more of a lone wolf [in the series],” actor Ben Daniels told RadioTimes.com. “All those decisions are decisions that he’s making for himself, really, and I think that’s added to the show.”
The fate of Raikou
While Walter’s son hasn’t made the leap from page to screen, his illegitimate daughter Raikou does play a major role in the first season – although sadly, she doesn’t make it out alive.
After she cottons on to her father’s secret plot against the Union of Justice, she attempts to extort money out of him in exchange for her silence.
Refusing to play along with his daughter’s plan, Walter murders her in the series finale, but Raikou’s fate in the original comic books is very different.
She enters the story further down the line when Chloe and Hutch are attempting to bring down Walter’s regime, and is ultimately trapped in a nightmarish psychic construct by a reformed villain named Repro.
A different introduction for Blue Bolt
In the comic books, Richard Conrad– later to be known as the superhero Blue Bolt – is just another of Sheldon’s friends who accompanies him on his mission to find the island from his visions.
However, he is not part of Sheldon’s social circle in the Netflix series and instead crosses paths with his group on the unruly seas, when he is rescued by their ship after his own capsizes.
Given that he doesn’t appear until episode six, Richard is a somewhat diminished presence in this first season of Jupiter’s Legacy, although co-star Ben Daniels has said that he’ll take on a larger role if the show returns.
“I think he’ll really come to the fore in [unconfirmed] season two,” he told RadioTimes.com. “I talked a lot to Mark Millar about it and he wanted to be sort of out there up front and centre.”
Blackstar’s expanded role
A major recurring villain in the first season of Jupiter’s Legacy is the hulking powerhouse Blackstar, who is mysteriously cloned in the first episode and takes on the Union of Justice again in the finale.
This is a far expanded role for the character, who is something of a throwaway adversary in the original comic book, appearing briefly in the first issue before being apprehended by the super team.
Rather than being killed by Brandon, as his clone is in the Netflix series, Blackstar is taken alive and imprisoned, so it’s possible that he could rear his head again in future volumes of the comic book.