Feb 24 2016
Megalyn Echikunwoke voices Mari McCabe aka Vixen on the CW Seed’s Vixen cartoon. In December it was revealed that Megalyn would bring Vixen to life on Arrow February 24th and guess what…it’s now February 24th!!!! Who knew that in 2015 we would be blessed with not only a cartoon, but a live-action version of Mari McCabe? I’m sure you all can agree with me that it was well worth the wait.
I was recently blessed to sit down with Megalyn Echikunwoke, and we spoke in depth about her role as Vixen, tonight’s episode of Arrow, what her mom thinks about Vixen and diversity in comics. Megalyn is not only an actress, but she can also sing, dance and I’m pretty sure she fights crime in her spare time. Enjoy this exclusive BlackComicsMonth interview with Megalyn Echikunwoke.
BlackComicsMonth: It is a complete honor to meet you. I am one of the HUGEST Vixen fans out there, when I found out that there was going to be a Vixen cartoon I literally cried that day. I remember the news broke online that you were voicing her and the overwhelming response from many was happiness. Can you explain how you won Marc Guggenheim and everyone over to become Vixen?
Megalyn Echikunwoke: Honestly, I was just so lucky. I have worked for the CW in the past, I was on 90210, I played a really fun character, that was a nemesis and I had this really cool arc. I think they got to know who I am, I don’t think they knew that Vixen would go into live-action. I think that they probably like you and I understood knew how cool Vixen was and wanted to explore her world in this animated series. I don’t think they knew how popular it would be. When they asked me to do the animated series, I think they just felt parallel with me and Vixen in our lives and they thought maybe she could do it. I haven’t really done a lot of voice work, I hope that they liked my voice and they thought I could portray her character vocally.
I loved doing voice over and I’m very big on having vocal versatility, especially as an actor and I love to sing, so I’m constantly working on my voice.
BCM: Whoa. Wait? You sing? I promise I won’t ask you to sing, well…maybe at the end of the interview.
BCM: I loved the cartoon, but I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when I found out it was only 30 minute season. Congrats on being picked up for a second season! Who do I have to bribe to get 30 minute episodes?
Megalyn: I know! A lot of people were disappointed and very mad, including my mom. She was very upset, I never saw her getting so into something I’ve done.
BCM: Mom knows best! You need to tell her to get on Marc and everyone else to make season two thirty minute episode each and not just 2-3 minute teases.
Megalyn: I think it was like an exploratory thing and the fact people are wanting more is a good thing. It means yes, we’re doing something right! The animated series got picked up for another season. I think all the work that everyone is doing on social media is really cool, they want to service the fans, so if you want 30 minute episodes let it be known.
BCM: Oh, I’m letting it be known! I’ve been stalking Marc for over a year now on Twitter and I tell him all the time we need more Vixen.
Megalyn: I think they’re hearing, but they don’t want to give away what the plans are just yet.
BCM: They’re definitely hearing, because you’ll be on Arrow today!
Megalyn: It’s happening soon! We want to get the fans hyped!
BCM: What was your reaction when you found out that Vixen was going to be making her debut on Arrow?
Megalyn: So, so, so excited. Honestly, it’s been a big dream of mine to play a superhero. I’ve wanted to do action movies, I always thought I’d love to portray a character and be in action movie. I loved the Lara Croft series, I want to do what Angelina Jolie does, but better!
I’ve always been super physical and an athlete, I work on my body and dance a lot. I always thought it would be a dream come true to portray a very physical character that’s hero in some kind of way. I was very caught off guard how prolific Vixen is to a lot of people and in a lot of ways it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
BCM: I’m calling it now sis, your mentions are going to be set ablaze tonight, they are going to scroll at The Flash speed!
Megalyn: Haha I know, I’m so excited! I think you all are going to be really happy. They wrote a really great episode, they gave Vixen some really cool lines, she looks beautiful. The whole Arrow cast, crew and executives really made something special for you guys. I’m very excited.
BCM: We are so ready, we need it. Listen. I’ve watched the trailer about 50 times, don’t judge me.
Megalyn *hysterically laughs* I have to bow down to the writers – Keto Shimizu and Brian Ford Sullivan wrote the episode. I have one of the lines in the trailer “Why don’t I kick your ass like a woman.”
Listen! Praise the Lord, Hallelujah!!! I have a feeling Keto wrote that line. What woman doesn’t want to say that! YAAASSS! What woman doesn’t want to say that to a man once in her lifetime. “I’m gonna kick your ass like a woman!” It was just a very fun thing.
BCM: Speaking of kicking ass, how intense were the fight scenes?
Megalyn: The fight scenes were pretty intense. I haven’t seen the visual effects yet and they’re trying to make it like the animated series. She has a silhouette of the animal she’s summoning, they came up with cool visual effects and she really kicks some serious ass!
You can’t mess with Vixen! Nuh-uh!
BCM: You sure can’t mess with us! Your costume is SO DOPE!!!! Please tell me you took it home with you.
Megalyn: I WISH! Alas, she’s not mine to keep. It’s now apart of the Arrow world, the costume is specific to Arrow. Hopefully I get to wear it again.
BCM: Representation matters and we need to see you, on our television sets, a beautiful woman of color – kicking butt, taking names and who knows, maybe working the runway. How important is it to have representation in the superhero genre?
Megalyn: It’s extremely important. These characters are meant to reflect us and they’re meant to inspire. Nothing inspires more than when you see you doing the things that you fantasize as a superhero. They’re meant to give hope and I think diversity and representation in the comic book world is really important. In the case of Vixen, she really resonates with a lot of people, not just Women of Color or People of Color…everyone. She’s a very relatable character.
BCM: I’m not alone when I say we want you to have your own Vixen series.
Megalyn: I’ve been hearing a lot about that and I’m here for it!
BCM: So how can the fans secure a Vixen solo series?
Megalyn: I wish I knew what to tell you, because I’d do it myself. *laughs* Maintain your support. When the show airs, get behind it, if we get this episode trending and people tuning in I think it will really matter.
Let everyone know. TUNE IN TONIGHT!
BCM: Seeing this character that I’ve loved for most of my existence come to life, is something that I still can’t grasp; it’s so surreal. Can you tell us about what’s going to happen with Mari tonight?
Megalyn: Vixen comes to Starling City and helps out Oliver Queen, they kind of have a connection – superhero solidarity. He needs some help with some tough stuff and who better to call then Vixen. If you need someone to kick ass like a woman, call Vixen.
BCM: I know that’s right! We know Mari’s totem lets her call upon any animal. Which 2 animals would you call on and why?
Megalyn: It depends on what I need them for. Mari uses the animal that she needs in the moment. If I need to scale a wall, I’ll call on a spider, superhero strength or knocking something over – a rhino, if I need speed – a cheetah. It’s all case by case. I can also use all of the animals at once.
BCM: Soooo I’m guessing we’re gonna see a handful of animals tonight?
Megalyn: Maybe. All I can say it’s going to be a great episode.
BCM: Is there any chance Vixen will make her way to Central City?
Megalyn: Anything can happen.
BCM: Vixen just made her debut in DC’s New 52 in Brenden Fletcher’s Black Canary #8 which dropped on February 10th. The issue is pretty bad ass, and she showed she had the strength of an elephant. Seeing her in the comic & now you on TV, I absolutely need a Vixen solo comic series. You bringing Vixen to life has made this Jersey girl’s dream come true.
Megalyn: She’s in a comic? That is so cool!
I’m so happy to hear that, I have no doubt that there are a lot of women out there who feel just like you and I’m so excited. I can’t wait to hear what all of the fans think! I feel very honored to play Vixen.
BCM: Now, I have to ask because the movie is out next month; Batman v Superman, who would Vixen side with?
Megalyn: I gotta see the movie first, I don’t want any judgment if I choose a side.
BCM: C’mon…you have to answer.
Megalyn: UGH! Okay…I like Batman’s dark side, but I’m probably going to hang with Superman. We could fly above the city, being super. Wait! Scratch that, you know what? I’ll hang out with Wonder Woman and kick ass with her.
BCM: Sounds like a plan! Any parting words for your fans?
Megalyn: Thank you all for your support and I hope you enjoy the show.
Tune in tonight on The CW at 8PM EST to see the first appearance of Mari McCabe aka Vixen portrayed by Megalyn E.K.