Julian Chase is the main protagonist of gen:LOCK and is voiced by Michael B. Jordan. He was born and raised in New York and is a former Interceptor pilot in the Vanguard, the military arm of the Polity.
After a crippling injury during a battle against the Union, Chase was rescued from death by Rufus Weller and brought into the Experimental Science Unit's gen:LOCK program as part of a last resort to save the Polity from annexation. In "Identity Crisis", he purposefully makes his mind incompatible with his body, leaving him in his Holon's Mindframe forever.
Chase is a tall, athletic man with dark skin. He has amber eyes, but is shown wearing blue Mixed Reality lenses in his Ether avatar and when mixing in. He has a somewhat broad nose and dark brown hair. The left side of his hairline has blue luminous streaks of hair that act as futuristic tattoos, and a thin luminous blue line goes around sides of his hairline. His primary attire used to be a form-fitting suit worn by Interceptor pilots, which is in shades of blue, black and gray. The design was later changed to resemble the Experimental Science Unit's prototype body suit, with blue and black armor plating and luminous blue highlights.
Casually, Chase wore brown trousers, a black shirt with white stylistic rhombus shapes on it and a gray hoodie with cyan interior and white shoes. His Ether avatar mirrors his casual outfit, but the blue color in his appearance is more glowing and prominent.
Following the Battle of New York City he lost his right arm and the entire lower half of his body, and the back of his skull has since been plated with metal.
Chase is described as an "All-American guy" by Gray G. Haddock, who continued to describe Chase as "charming, funny and the first guy to break the ice to make sure people are doing OK." Michael B. Jordan has described Chase as "a very selfless person who wants to do the right thing and would sacrifice himself in order to protect the world and the people he loves." Chase also has the leadership skills to help form the show's main team. His current struggle entails adjusting to life after personal tragedy.
He regrets having to keep his survival a secret from his girlfriend, Miranda Worth, for the four years since his crash. Despite having had no choice in the matter, Chase is not happy for having had to deceive her and keep his crippled state hidden from her for so long. In spite this however, he is very willing to give his all for the gen:LOCK program, believing it is better to spend his time doing something worthwhile instead of living out his final days just waiting for death to come to him, contrasting with Valentina Romanyszyn's more apathetic, self-centered worldview.
Chase possesses a sly sense of humor, telling Kazu Iida how he needs to choose his words wisely and meeting the former sergeant's challenge by mentioning how Yasamin Madrani will "kick his ass." Chase's sense of humor is instrumental in keeping everyone around him calm in the face of extraordinary circumstances without distracting them from the matters at hand, displaying his cool leadership in the face of fire.
However, Chase's calm, relaxed nature hids deep hang-ups and insecurities, only truly showing his vulnerabilities when he is alone. He can also be rather brusque with people when he is angered, displaying a harshness with Dr. Weller upon discovering the true nature of Nemesis. When in this state, Chase is shown to be very stubborn and focused, spending the entirety of the Battle of The Anvil fighting Nemesis, and only pulling away once he is forced to defend his allies. Learning the truth about him and Nemesis also triggers an existential crisis, leading to Chase considering himself nothing more than a "code branch", briefly shattering his confidence and his faith in his humanity.
For the longest time, Chase had a deep aversion to mindsharing due to an extreme sense of protectiveness over his mind and sense of identity. After losing the use of body, Chase saw his mind as the only real thing he had left, and came to dread any kind of change or evolution on his part, fearing that he would lose himself in the process. It is only after the support of his new teammates that Chase finally gains the confidence to move on and grow as a person.
The following information accompanies Chase's profile in the Character Reveal Teaser #1:
NAME: CHASE, JULIAN
RANK: O-2 1LT
PILOT QUAL: ADVANCED STRIKE
CURRENT ASSIGNMENT: TOP SECRET//GL
PREVIOUS ASSIGNMENT: DUTY VB110 AEIRE VAP
FITREP: XREF 12898211134
OMAs: V-AMN 141/08; ICM 32/2; TEM 287/1
PILOT TRAINING: IFS API T-72 T-88 F-66
Information from a fragment of the script shared on Twitter by Gray Haddock suggests Chase was 21 years old before his crash.
After Chase was declared dead after the Union's attack on New York, he was honored on a memorial wall inside the Anvil with the following commemoration:
V-183 READY ALERT SQUADRON
WHOSE BRAVERY AND VALOR
WILL LIVE ON IN OUR HEARTS
BATTLE OF NEW YORK
Chase is one of the few people in the world capable of undergoing gen:LOCK. By having his mind digitized, he can be placed inside a Holon and operate it as if it were his own body, giving him a much greater degree of control than traditional pilots.
Chase is skilled at hand-to-hand combat, having his military record compared to Yaz, who is the top of her class in infantry training, and being able to spar with Kazu on equal grounds. He utilized his close combat skills to pin down Spider Tanks and destroy them with his rifle at point-blank range, and was able to fight Nemesis on equal ground for ten minutes, although Nemesis only had access to two of his four arms. Chase makes use of his Holon's wing thrusters to tackle opponents.
Chase is a skilled marksman, having his military record compared to Yaz, who is the top of her class in infantry training. His first Holon was equipped with a prototype rifle, which he used when conducting several successful operations against the Union during the early stages the gen:LOCK program. He is shown to be proficient at shooting when at close and long range even when in flight.
Before his injury, Chase was an Interceptor pilot. His performance in the Battle of New York City indicates that he is exceptionally skilled, being able to outmaneuver a guided missile and destroy it with machine gun fire, and later allowing the ESD device he released to successfully detonate by shielding it from the Behemoth's turret fire with the Interceptor itself. After his Holon was fitted with flight capabilities, Chase was able to outmaneuver and shoot down several Union Fighters. He even grabbed one of them to use as a projectile, and later intercepted a rocket as long as his Holon and redirecting it away from his allies.
In "The Best Defense" Chase's Holon is customized with a pack of thrusters, wings and propellers mounted on its back, allowing him to make use of his combat aviation experience. In "It Never Rains...", it undergoes further customization, with alterations to the jetpack and armor.
- The story of Chase and Nemesis relates to the Ship of Theseus, an ancient thought experiment concerning the metaphysics of identity. In the experiment, the famous ship sailed by the hero Theseus has been kept in a harbor as a museum piece. As the years go by, some of the wooden parts begin to rot and are replaced by new ones. After a century or so, all of the parts have been replaced. The experiment asks if the "restored" ship is still the same object as the original.
- Further, the experiment supposes that each of the removed pieces were stored in a warehouse, and after the century, technology develops to cure their rotting and enable them to be put back together to make another ship. It asks if this "reconstructed" ship is the original ship, and if so, it asks if the restored ship in the harbor is also still the original ship.