More than a year after introducing Tom Swift via Nancy Drew, The CW on Tuesday finally invited viewers into the billionaire inventor’s world — a fashionable, futuristic fantasy where few things (and people) are as they seem.
The premiere of Tom Swift picks up in 2022 (vs. Nancy‘s 2019), meaning Tom is “a couple years older, more into his twenties and more of a grown man,” as star Tian Richards explains to TVLine. Tom’s appearance on Nancy was merely an appetizer, “and now you’re getting the full meal.”
Unfortunately, Tom doesn’t appear grown (or straight) enough for his disapproving father, who doesn’t believe that Tom is ready to assume control of Swift Enterprises. A potential father-son reconciliation becomes even less likely when Tom — in a room surrounded by his father’s closest “friends” and associates — witnesses his space craft explode during a live stream of a high-profile voyage to Saturn.
Tom is overcome with grief and guilt, but upon discovering that the explosion originated outside of the ship, he goes into full-on heist mode, enlisting his inner circle — cousins Zenzi (Ashleigh Murray) and Lino (Donovin Miller), along with bodyguard Isaac (Marquise Vilson) — to help him retrieve vital information to expose who really killed his father.
It’s a close call, but Tom manages to retrieve the data and make it out alive, largely thanks to Rowan (Albert Mwangi). Not only does the bodyguard of Congressman Eskel (Ward Horton) help Tom avoid getting caught, but he further warns him that he’s being watched by some powerful enemies.
The plot thickens when the organization that built the ship-destroying missile is discovered to be owned by Eskel. What’s more, it’s actually a shell company for an illuminati-scale group called The Road Back, which aims to prevent the technological advancement of humanity.
Some good news: Tom then learns that not only is his father alive, but he sent a capsule to Earth with vital information on how to save him! Sure, the the capsule disassembles upon reentering the atmosphere, but that just gives Tom and his crew an excuse for a road trip.
Little do they know, Eskel has hacked Tom’s A.I. Barclay (voiced by LeVar Burton), and everyone on his team — including Rowan, presumably — is committed to keeping Tom from discovering their plans. But was Richards surprised by this final twist? Short answer: “No.”
Longer answer: “In our world, you’ll learn that you have to keep your eye open,” Richards says. “You never know who’s who. Yes, we’re having fun, but it’s business and it’s corporate — those are the main areas where people are not what they always appear to be.”
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