Art by Prentis Rollins (2017, Commissioned by Tim Board)

The Live-Action Hawkman and Hawkgirl


The History of the Live-Action Hawkman and Hawkgirl.

By Tim Board (Hawkworld Facebook and Hawkworld Twitter) Updated!


Thirty-nine years ago, on January 19 and 26, 1979, NBC broadcast "Legends of the Superheroes", a two-part special with several DC heroes and villains. This was also the show that gave us our first live-action Hawkman. Do you know how many men and women have played Hawkman and Hawkgirl over the years? While live-action Batman actors are almost too numerous to count, the number who have played the Winged Wonders on silver or small screens have been few and far between. Let's take a look at the actors who have played the Hawks over the years.

Bill Nuckols (Legends of the Superheroes, 1979)
Bill Nuckols is a bodybuilder from the 70s who made his TV debut on the show. He went on to have parts in two more movies, Sunset Cove (1978) and Supertrain (1979). He moved away from Hollywood after that and pretty much disappeared. One fan of the superhero special was able to track him down for an interview but judging from the article, Nuckols seems to be a man of few words. You can find the interview here. He also has an Internet Movie Database page with a bit of info. 
Sidenote: Hawkman's mother, Mrs. Esther Hol, also appears on the show. For some reason, she lives in Peoria, Illinois, not Thanagar. Mrs. Hol was played by none other than Pat Carroll, the actress who did the voice of Ursula. 


Jim Jackman (Baby Ruth commercial, 1997)
The second live-action Hawkman showed up 18 years later on a Baby Ruth commercial. He was played by Jim Jackman, a comedian who had parts in movies like Spaceballs and My Stepmother is an Alien. He was also involved in TV shows such as 3rd Rock from the Sun and Malcolm in the Middle. He is currently 61 years old and has a Facebook page. For the record, I have seen some criticize the commercial as demeaning to Hawkman but I absolutely love this commercial. You can also check out his IMBd page


Michael Shanks (Smallville, 2010)
After another 13-year wait, we finally got what many consider the best live-action Hawkman to date. During the last two seasons of 'Smallville', Michael Shanks appeared in four episodes as the Winged Wonder. In true Hawkman fashion, he dies while saving Lois Lane in his final appearance. Shanks did a great job in bringing the first serious rendition in Hawkman to the screen so it's a shame that he was limited to only four episodes. However, he did give us the greatest superhero landing ever. 

During the episode titled 'Shield', we were also treated to a vision of Shiera, played by Sahar Biniaz. Shanks was on the 'Stargate' series for years and since 2012, he has been on the TV series 'Saving Hope'. Check out his IMDb page


Ryan Digger and Allie Haze (The XXX Adventures of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, 2013)
To be honest, I debated adding the next Hawkman and Hawkgirl. The Hawks were played by Ryan Digger and Allie Haze on an adult film called "The XXX Adventures of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. The title pretty much explains everything that needs to be said. I have never watched the film, to be honest, but the costumes on the cover are pretty amazing so I decided to include them on the list. The man responsible for the costumes is cosplayer Brin Londo. As for the movie, you're on your own. 


Falk Hentschel and Ciara Renee (Legends of Tomorrow, Flash and Arrow, 2015-2016)
Our next entry is from 'Legends of Tomorrow'. Falk Hentschel and Ciara Renee appeared in the Arrowverse during the 2015-16 seasons. Renee showed up first in the final episode of the first season of Flash. She was on two more episodes of the second season of Flash before being joined by Hentschel for one episode. They made an appearance in one episode of Arrow in 2015, before joining the cast of 'Legends of Tomorrow!. Unfortunately, Hawkman was killed off in part 2 of the pilot episode but came back for the last six episodes of the season, while Hawkgirl was a regular in all 16 episodes before they were written off the show at the end of the first season. Hawkfans are pretty divided on the look of this version of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Their costumes were all brown leather, their wings sprouted out of their backs, and their maces were rather small. For Legends of Tomorrow's 100th episode, broadcast on October 27, 2021, Falk Hentschel returned for a few scenes. 

Both actors did a good job with what they were given. Maybe they will get another chance to play the characters in one of the Arrowverse series someday. Hentschel is currently working on various TV Shows. Check out his info on his IMDb pageRenee is currently involved in TV appearances and stage shows. Here's her IMBd profile.
Sidenote: In the Legends of Tomorrow titled 'The Magnificent Eight', Kendra meets the 18th-century version of herself named Katherine Manser, aka Cinnamon. Cinnamon is one of Hawkgirl's former lives in the comics. The character was played by Anna Deavere Smith

The Legends of Tomorrow's Hawkman and Hawkgirl also got their own action figures. The figures are not bad but they also make you wish the makers of this poor show had thought to add a bit of color to the Hawks' costumes. 


After aan almomst seven-year wait, the next live-action Hawkman was Aldis Hodge. He played Hawkman in the Black Adam movie and became the first live-action Hawkman to grace the silver screen. Hodge was announced as Hawkman in September 2020, but it would be another long wait until we finally saw him in action because of the coronavirus pandemic and production delays. Several changes were made about him in this movie. Many fans wondered why a Black actor was playing the part, when Hawkman has never been depicted as a Black character in the comics. Personally, I had no issue with it but it did cause quite a bit of heated discussions in the social media group discussions which needed a lot of moderating. Another hot topic was his costume, which was gold and red. While Hawkman has had a couple of very brief periods when he wore a red costume, his standard look is the yellow and green costume in the comics. Why the first Hawkman to fly in the theaters had so many changes made was never really addressed by those in charge. But it is what it is and that was what the fans got. 

Here is a video of all of Hawkman's powers that were displayed in the movie. Video by All Powers Explained on YouTube!

The movie was finally released on October 21, 2022. The reviews, sad to say, were on the negative side, but Hodge's performance as Hawkman and Pierce Brosnan's Doctor Fate were praised by most fans. In the movie, this version of Hawkman is the leader of the Justice Society, he has an awesome Nth Metal ship, and he is the owner of a huge mansion in St. Roch, Louisiana that serves as the JSA headquarters. Here's my article on Hawkman's mansion.

He was also considerably powered up in order to be the muscle that goes up head to head against Black Adam. From news reports and interviews, we could see that Hodge prepared like crazy for this role and in this Hawkman fan's opinion, he did an swesme job. We had hoped that the movie would lead to a spin-off movie or something but as of May 2023, that hope appears to be gone or way, way back on the burner with all the upheaval the DCU is going through. Never say never, right?

The Hawk Cruiser

The Black Adam's Hawkman has also had several figures released. There are three Funko Pop versions, a figure by McFarlane, and even a cruise ship with figures. There is even a replica of Hawkman's available for $400! Definitely a must for all the collectors out there. 

Here's to hoping that we see Aldis Hodge or another new actor chosen to portray our hero once again on the silver screen, but this time with Hawkgirl at his side!

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