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Real Name:  Shayera Hol

Voiced by Maria Canals

A mysterious woman with angelic wings, Shayera Hol claims to be an undercover detective from the planet Thanagar—a war-like world located in an unknown sector of the universe—who found herself accidentally transported to Earth by the rays of a dimensional transporter known to her people as a Zeta Beam.  Finding herself stranded on Earth, Shayera utilized her survival training to integrate herself into the culture as the superhero known as Hawkgirl.

Now a member of the Justice League, Hawkgirl uses her fierce combat skills and her electrified mace in the service of her adopted planet.  Though not one to freely give information about herself, she has come to trust her teammates as she would the warriors of her homeworld.

Cartoon Network on Hawkgirl:  "Shayera Hol was an undercover detective on her native planet of Thanagar.  Several years ago, while pursuing some criminals who were trafficking in forbidden technology, she was zapped by a dimensional transport beam.  Her molecular structure was ripped apart and sent halfway across the galaxy.  When she awoke, she found herself on an uncharted planet called Earth.  Using her survival training, she adopted a human identity and learned to blend in with the native population.

"Although Shayera hopes to return to Thanagar someday, she has developed a strong bond with the people of Earth.  As Hawkgirl, she uses her Thanagarian powers to serve and protect her adopted home.  Hawkgirl has the power of flight, lethal hand-to-hand combat skills, and the ability to communicate with birds.

"As a trained detective she has phenomenal powers of observation, deeply impressive to Batman.  A great team player, the others consider Hawkgirl one of the guys, making it easy to forget that she comes from another world.  Despite her pleasant and unassuming personality, she is a fierce combatant.  She can strike with a sudden ferocity surprising to her closest teammates (courtesy of Cartoon Network press materials). "

Excerpts from the Justice League Panel at the 2001 San Diego Comic Con:

Bruce Timm:  She’s the second most controversial member of the cast.  People were saying, “Why Hawkgirl?  Why not Hawkman?”  Well, she’s cooler!  Again, we felt that we needed to have another woman in the group—we like women, you know.  And we [also] felt that the Hawk family had to be represented, because of the icons that they are.  And we decided that, “Well, we don’t want to have both of them, so let’s just have Hawkgirl.”  And, personally, I’ve always loved that Hawkgirl design, ever since I saw it when I was a kid.  I think her mask is cooler.  I think she’s got an overall better shape.

The thing we wanted to do to set her apart from Wonder Woman is that Wonder Woman is a little bit aloof.  It’s not that she’s really arrogant or snotty—it’s just that she’s used to being treated like a princess, and so she’s a little bit like, “What’s the matter with these weird humans?  They don’t treat me right.”  And Hawkgirl, even though she is from another planet, she actually does fit in with the rest of the gang better.  She’s like kind of one of the guys.  As we say, “Wonder Woman’s a supermodel, but Hawkgirl’s like any girl next door.”  She’s approachable.

And Rich [Fogel] was saying, “Well, you know, that’s fine, but she’s a hawk.  She needs to have something hawk-like about her.”  And he came up with this great gimmick for her:  for the most part she’s sweet, she’s warm, she’s friendly, and everyone likes her; but the minute she goes into battle her instincts kick in and she turns into Wolverine.  So, you know, everybody’s going into battle, suddenly Hawkgirl jumps ahead of them and she’s like slaughtering everybody, and they’re like, “Wait.  Wait!”  [Well,] not really slaughtering—maybe robots, but…yeah, she hurts a lot of bad guys.  Anyway, I predict you guys are going to dig her.

Courtesy of Revolution Science Fiction and Comics2Film.

Maria Canals on Hawkgirl:  “She is fearless, she is mysterious—which I love about her.  When you see [Justice League] you’ll see how beautifully they animate her when she flies—she lifts up in the air and she flies and spins and somersaults.  She’s very graceful, and yet the next minute she’s kicking a space alien’s butt.  She’s very tough.  She [also] has this weapon—my mace—and I have this war cry that I love when I get to do.  It relieves a lot of stress when I do it (courtesy of [website name removed])."

Bruce Timm on Hawkgirl #1:  “We didn’t want to have both Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and I always loved the Hawkgirl design…when I was a kid and read my first Hawkman comic, I liked Hawkman fine, but I had a huge crush on Hawkgirl!  Her design and helmet shape were better, and she’s a girl, so she’s sexier.  I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have another female in the group besides Wonder Woman (courtesy of Starlog Magazine).”

Bruce Timm on Hawkgirl #2:  “Rich Fogel, my writer-producer, said, ‘Her name is Hawkgirl, so there has to be something hawk-like about her!’  He came up with this idea that she’s sweet and cuddly, but the minute she goes into battle, she takes no prisoners!  She’s from Thanagar, a war-like planet, so she’s really aggressive.  This stuns the rest of the Justice League, who are more ‘goody-two shoes.’  Hawkgirl is like Dr. Jekyll and Wolverine (courtesy of Starlog Magazine).”

Bruce Timm on Hawkgirl's back-story:  “We’re not doing anything with Hawkman at the moment.  Again, we don’t have a lot of time to go into everybody’s origin stories.  We don’t really explain a whole lot with Hawkgirl—she does mention that she’s from Thanagar—but there’s really not a whole lot of room in the show to have Hawkgirl and Hawkman.  It brings up a lot of questions and back-story [that] we really don’t have time to get into, so she’s pretty much a singleton at the moment (courtesy of [website name removed]).”

DarkLantern on Hawkgirl’s Rogues Gallery:  “An arch-enemy for Hawkgirl would be nice.  Copperhead was meant to be her 'opposite' in the Injustice Gang (hawk vs. snake), though that doesn’t really qualify as an arch-enemy.  She’ll have a similar 'opposite' in the Secret Society (Killer Frost, bird vs. winter), though this member is really the arch-enemy of a member of the JLA not featured in the series (Firestorm, the Nuclear Man; courtesy of Toon Zone).”



Hawkgirl Model Design Sheet #1 | Hawkgirl Model Design Sheet #2

Hawkgirl Image #1 (Unused STAS Design)

Hawkgirl Image #2 (JL Design) | Hawkgirl Image #3 | Hawkgirl Image #4 | Hawkgirl Image #5 | Hawkgirl Image #6

Wolverine Image #1 | Wolverine Image #2



My home, Thanagar, is a war-like world—there one must strike first or die.

Hawkgirl (to Superman) in Secret Origins

NOTE:  As of this writing, the episode Starcrossed has yet to air in North America; therefore, no developments introduced in Starcrossed are included in this entry.

Save for the ongoing debate over the creative team’s choice for Green Lantern, the decision to use Hawkgirl instead of Hawkman on Justice League has been the most controversial element to the series.  Largely relegated to sidekick status ever since her initial debut in the Golden Age of Comics, she was always “Hawkman’s wife”—meaning that she always operated out of Hawkman’s shadow and seldom got the spotlight (in fact, due to Justice League bylaws concerning heroes with similar powers, Hawkgirl didn’t become a member until years after Hawkman did).  However, by using her in the series as a solo character, the creative team had the opportunity to both include an established DC character that people recognized and, yet, have one with an undefined personality that they could design from scratch.  Essentially, by excluding Hawkman, they have given Hawkgirl the opportunity to become her own woman.

Obviously based upon the Silver Age Hawkgirl—the Golden Age Hawkgirl being the modern-day reincarnation of an Egyptian princess—this version utilizes a variant of that incarnation’s origin, as the Silver Age Hawkgirl (later Hawkwoman) traveled to Earth with Hawkman originally to track a criminal, but later stayed on to study the world’s policing methods.  However, this version of Hawkgirl also departs from the original in other ways, such as with her real name.  In The Terror Beyond, Hawkgirl gives her real name as Shayera Hol but, in the comics, her maiden name was Shayera Thal—Hol being her husband Katar’s last name.  This, coupled with her wearing of traditional earrings that signify marriage among her people, lead many to believe that she is, in fact, married to Katar Hol (or, at least, married to him at some point).  As for her activities on Earth, next to nothing has been revealed, which may indicate that she chooses not to utilize a secret identity (effectively dropping her Silver Age persona as Shiera Hall, co-director of the Midway City Museum).

As stated above, as the comic book version of Hawkgirl possessed little in terms of personality or established character traits, the Justice League creative team was able to take great liberties in reinventing her for today’s audiences.  By designing her to be more forceful, more “hawk-like,” in battle situations, the creative team has filled the “aggressive warrior” slot that usually sits empty in the Justice League.  To reinforce this persona, in designing the character’s visual, Bruce Timm apparently combined the traditional, Silver Age Hawkgirl’s design with that of the Marvel Comic’s Wolverine, another character well known for his ferocity and battle prowess (compare the animated Hawkgirl to the Timm-drawn Wolverine designs provided above—similarities exist in their masks, boots, and use of warm colors in their designs, such as browns, oranges, and reds).

Rather than use the ancient Earth weapons that the Hawks tended to favor in the pages of their own title, Hawkgirl has traded them in for an electrified mace that possesses a range of interesting abilities.  In addition to being brutally effective in battle, viewers have seen the mace interrupt the discharge of a cannon designed to destroy worlds (War World) and negate magical spells and barriers (The Terror Beyond).  While nothing has been revealed thus far in terms of its composition, it is possible that the mace is composed of Nth Metal—a metal native to her homeworld that has unique, if unspecified, properties (in the comics it has multiple uses, including powering starships and the Hawk’s anti-gravity harnesses).

Of course, like her mace, precious little has actually been revealed regarding Hawkgirl’s background or even her physical composition.  In terms of her race, we have learned that, as they are in the comics, Thanagarians are an aggressive, war-like race; but we don’t know to what end.  In addition, in various episodes, it has been hinted that Hawkgirl’s wings may actually be physically part of her body (such as in Secret Society, where she felt pain when one was hit by Superman's heat vision); which differs from the comics, where the wings were artificial and her flight was powered by the Nth Metal in their harnesses.  Many of these questions are reportedly going to be addressed in Starcrossed, Season Two’s finale; but, until then, she will continue to be an enigma to usand to her teammates.


Images courtesy of Cartoon NetworkDC Cartoon Archives, Wizard Magazine, bat313, The Bruce Timm Gallery, [website name removed], Warner Bros. Online UK, Toon Zone, DC Comics, and The World's Finest; Wolverine courtesy of Marvel Comics.

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