Fans of the live-action Arrow-verse were introduced to Russell Tovey’s The Ray in this year’s big CW superhero crossover. However, fans of the character have an opportunity to learn more about the character and his backstory in The Ray: Freedom Fighters, an animated prequel to the “Crisis on Earth-X” event. In it, we learn more about Ray Tirrell, a reporter who gets light-based powers during the course of an investigation.
Den of Geek was part of a group of reporters who had a chance to speak to Tovey at the DC in D.C. event last weekend. He spoke about the process of creating the character, and what his future live-action hopes for Ray Tirrell look like.
“I did the animation at the same time I was filming the crossover event,” said Tovey. “I was filming the crossover event, then, on the weekends, I’d have the animation. They fed into each other.”
Pulling double duty on Ray gave Tovey a chance to really dive into the character.
It’s a script that covers 12 episodes that really shows the background of The Ray, of Ray Tirrell. So, for me, going into the other show, it was free research. As an actor, you always want to develop a character and you want to find out who their parents are, where they’re from, what their favorite food is. You sort of do these notes, just to give you some truth. But, having this animation, as well as doing the live-action, fed into each other. It was a gift, really. It helped me out a lot.
While Tovey said the character of Ray is very different from who he is as a person, he did note his past struggles with sexual identity as personal experience he could draw inspiration from in creating the character.
“Ray Tirrell struggles with his sexuality,” said Tovey. “I’m gay and, when I was younger, I always had a lot of issues with myself, coming to terms with who I was, what my future was going to be. Who I was in the world, who I was going to tell, how I was going to deal with that, how I was going to tell my family, coming out. So there are big things that I can absolutely relate to in Ray Terrell’s world.”
While Ray may have aleady appeared in the live-action part of the Arrow-verse, there aren’t any plans (that have been announced) to have the character make another appearance in live-action form. However, as we saw with the Vixen character, The CW is definitely open to crossing its characters between the two formats.
Where does Tovey see Ray fitting into the Arrow-verse?
Why can’t The Ray have his own show? He can come on and visit. He can do crossovers. He could have his own shit going on. I would feel excited about that if you could actually flesh out the writing, give him his own world. That was my confident, arrogant answer.
That being said, Tovey is excited to see where the animated show goes, saying that he’d like to see many more seasons of The Ray: Freedom Fighters in animated form.
“The stories could go on forever,” said Tovey. For now, the first six episodes of The Ray: Freedom Fighters are available to watch via CW Seed.