Interview: Joivan Wade Talks Season 2 of ‘Doom Patrol’, The Importance of Black Love On-Screen and More
Doom Patrol is back and better than ever! If you haven’t checked out our review for the series, do that right now! In honor of the new season of the trippy comic book show, I had the chance to chat with Cyborg himself, Joivan Wade. During our conversation we discussed what it was like returning for the second season, getting to explore more of Victor Stone’s human side, his relationship with Roni and the importance of Black love being portrayed in the comic book genre.
We also briefly discussed if we will get to see him team-up with the Titans, and also chatted about his new YouTube channel that helps aspiring actors pursue their dreams! Check out the interview below and catch Doom Patrol on HBO max right now.
I just want to say I absolutely love Doom Patrol. It is one of my favorite shows ever. So, first of all, can you just talk about what it was like returning for season two versus what it was like on your first time on set in season one?
Joivan Wade: Season one it was a whole new show. You’re coming into a whole new everything. You’re having a new family and a new production, a new world and a new character and all the responsibility that comes with that. And I think stepping into season two what was great is that you are now familiar with all those. You’ve been able to settle into the world, the family, the and crew, which is what makes your life so different; so understanding the world in which you’re playing in and the character which we’re playing was a big factor.
So, coming back there I had so much gratitude first and foremost because we got a second season, and then being able to do it over again and be explored in the way that we do. And so yeah it was – it was amazing just to feel as comfortable as I did in season two and I feel like it helps dictate performance as well, and allows our performances to be a lot stronger and a lot more nuanced because of that freedom and that time that you feel like you have because you’re familiar.
Can you talk about what it was like exploring the vulnerable side of Cyborg/Victor Stone and more specifically, about the relationship between Victor and Roni?
Wade: Season one was still focused on Cyborg right? And it was naturally the introduction for the character and so you’re living in that space. Where for season two, I think, we are more focused on Victor Stone than we are Cyborg. And I feel like there were elements of that and in season one; mainly through opening that backstory, but with season two we’re definitely looking at them. The main theme of season two is about growing up, and the characters in their own respective ways. What does it mean for those characters to grow up? And for Vic it means dealing with his trauma and PTSD head-on. And that’s exactly what he does.
I really enjoyed performing with Karen who plays Roni and that vulnerability that I get to explore as Vic, and exploring that loving story that they dive into.
With comic book shows/movies, you don’t often see Black love portrayed like it has been in Doom Patrol between Victor and Roni. I wanted to say It meant a lot to me as a young Black man seeing the start of a healthy relationship between two young Black people in a comic book world. So, what was that like for you just being able to embrace that and act that out?
Wade: Yeah, I think first and foremost it was a privilege to be able to be a part of that because as you said that’s not something which is explored very much and Black love on screen is not something in which we get to see a lot of diversity period, and in light of everything that happening now with the police brutality, the systematic racism is not just in police brutality but across the board, especially as for our representation and how we’re reflected on-screen. This is a part of that change in a public sector and I’m actually really proud of the team that we have to make a point of watching even the kind of Black love story and we’re going cast Roni as a Black actress and being a Black man we’re really going to get to live in that space.
I think that is going to make a huge difference even as you said to yourself, even other young Black guys or girls who are now watching the show are able to resonate and relate because they’re seeing a representation of themselves. And Karen is lovely. She’s amazing to work with and I Think the chemisty was already there before that point. I had known her before coming into this and we just connected on a really strong level, and I think that comes across on screen.
And you know you can’t leave this conversation without talking about another team that Cyborg has worked with! Can you tease anything about him potentially meeting up with the Titans at all? In the future or potentially showing up in the third season of their show?
Wade: I would love to man. It is something in which it would be a dream to me because when I think of Cyborg/Victor Stone, I think of Teen Titans. I think Teen Titans before Justice League and before anything else. Outside of the comics, my biggest influence on the character was actually the 2000 edition on Cartoon Network. That version of Cyborg is the one that lived with me and was the one I wanted to represent the fun factor that he shared.
I think what is great about the Doom Patrol, is we get to dive into Vic Stone just as much as Cyborg, but at the same time keeping those elements that make him who he is, which is him being a young cat from Detroit who was a high school sports star, and that cannot be lost and shouldn’t be lost, and I feel I’ve worked really hard to try and maintain that humanistic aspect of it.
So yeah man, I hope I get to be a part of the Titans world at some point. Ryan (Potter) who plays Beast Boy on Titans is a really good friend of mine in real life and we constantly talk about wanting to do that. It’s in my contract to do so and I would hope to get in there at some point but that’s above my pay grade [laughs]!
Another thing I did want to touch on besides Doom Patrol is your career in general and how you’re starting to use your platform to teach other actors things you’ve learned along your journey. Can you briefly just touch on why you felt it was important now more than ever to just give young people advice?
Wade: To me, it kind of just comes down to treating people how you wish to be treated in life. I’m a huge advocate for not just saying but doing. I feel like I’ve amassed the career that I have because I’m a doer. One of the biggest things for me is that I wished I had working actors that I regarded and that I could also relate to. Like seeing young Black actors when I was a young Black actor, and seeing them do work and actually building a career and understanding what it took or what it’s taken for them to do that, and be on the journey. I think it’s really important for you to experience the journey, not the aftermath, because the journey is what allows you to feel like you’re on it and in the same way aspiring young actors are on their journey, I’m still on my journey. You know, I haven’t hit the heights I’ve wanted to hit. This is just a stepping stone within that.
I get asked thousands of questions on my DMs on Instagram. Whether it’s about acting or even self-belief and motivation advice, and so instead of replying to the message constantly one-on-one, it got to the point where it was too many and I don’t want to ignore them like people did to me. But i wanted to help but. How can I be practical about it? And the way to do that was to create videos where I can say, you know, I can let them know. I might not be able to respond to your message, but all your questions should be answer by the end of my videos. So yeah, I want to give an opportunity to young actors and I’m in a position to do so, so why wouldn’t I?!
That is truly incredible man. I’m honored to have gotten to interview you now early on in your career and I can’t wait to see what you do next. You know Geeks of Color is going to be here to support all your projects so I just want to say thank you again for taking a few minutes to sit down and talk to us. It really means a lot. We really appreciate it.
Wade: Appreciate Brother. Stay safe.
About Joivan Wade:
Joivan Wade trained at the BRIT School and was a member of The National Youth Theatre. He rose to prominence in the comedy trio Mandem on the Wall, breaking out in his first series regular role in the hit E4 show Youngers.
Film credits include lead roles in The Weekend Movie for Netflix, the Universal feature The First Purge, which recently became the highest grossing of the Purge franchise from Blumhouse. He’ll next be seen in the BBC Films feature Vs. from director Ed Lilly and producer Bennett McGhee.
Wade has worked alongside comedy giants David Walliams, Catherine Tate and Matt Lucas on BBC series Big School, Walliams & Friend and Pompidou. He also starred with the legendary comedian Sir Lenny Henry in his TV adaption and theatre performance of Rudy’s Rare Records.
Additional television credits include the BBC crime drama The Interceptor, portraying fan-favorite Rigsy across two series of Doctor Who, and as series regular Jordan Johnson in Eastenders.
In addition to his growing success as an actor, Wade is an entrepreneur who co-founded the digital media company The Wall of Comedy. It is the largest comedy platform in the UK with over 7 million followers and consistently receives over 480 million views per month. Wade and his partners at The Wall of Comedy are currently developing multiple TV formats with STX Entertainment.