In Netflix’s new superhero series Jupiter’s Legacy, Sheldon Sampson is drawn to mysterious island by visions of his dead father and strange symbols. As he unravels the truth behind them, he starts to suspect that the man he’s seeing isn’t his father at all, but rather something else disguising itself as his father to torment and test him.
Jupiter’s Legacy season 1 mixes together two different storylines – one revealing how the original six members of the Union of Justice got their powers, and the other set a century later as the remaining members try to cope with an increasingly complex modern world. Sheldon, who later becomes known as The Utopian, was the son of a steel magnate whose life was suddenly upended by the Wall Street Crash of 1929. His father avoided the fallout of the crash by jumping from the roof of their company’s high-rise building, and shortly afterwards Sheldon became plagued by seizures, a compulsion to draw circular patterns and a windmill missing three blades, and the gruesome ghost of his father taunting him.
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The vision of the windmill eventually leads Sheldon to the farm of a man called Miller, who survived a chance encounter with the island many years ago and was driven mad by it. Jupiter’s Legacy suggests that Miller became a conduit for the beings on the island, with different people over the years being drawn to his farm and Miller himself experiencing visions similar to Sheldon’s. Perhaps Miller was one of a previous group of people who were chosen to go to the island, like Sheldon and his friends, but he resisted the call and therefore never got relief from his visions. They eventually drove him so insane that he killed his family and then killed himself in front of Sheldon – though not before warning him that the person he was experiencing visions of would tell him lies.
The ghost of Sheldon’s father is not a ghost at all, nor is it his father. It’s actually a manifestation created by the beings on the island, sent to test his mental strength and character by pushing him to the edge of madness. The island’s masters test all of their potential candidates in this way, encouraging them to turn on one another and give up the search or give in to their darkest impulses. This culminates in the island’s final test, when the six explorers are seemingly trapped in a pit full of skeletons and begin to turn on each other – until Grace and Sheldon realize the only way out is to stop fighting and start working together.
In the Jupiter’s Legacy comics the island’s inhabitants are specifically referred to as aliens, and the show reveals that they have drawn many groups of six people to the island over the years to test their worthiness. The aliens possess powerful psychic abilities that allow them to plant visions in Sheldon’s head and drive him to draw the patterns that eventually lead him to the island. The patterns appear to be an alien language, since the trees on the island have the same markings.
Within each group of six people that the island chooses, it seems that one person is chosen to receive the messages to and find the others. While at the Miller farm, Sheldon has a vision of the five other people that he’s destined to travel to the island with. Some of these people, like Fitz and Grace, he seeks out directly. Richard, on the other hand, is thrown into his path by the storm surrounding the island, while on a mission for the Red Cross. This means that the aliens’ abilities may go beyond simply psychic manipulation and into manipulation of time and space itself – either seeing which people are destined to come to the island, or actively moving them into place.
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