supergirl

“It’s like be­ing a lit­tle kid when you have your ac­tion fig­ures”

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Contents -

t’s never been easy for Supergirl. Decades of liv­ing in her fa­mous cousin’s shadow once saw the Maid of Might’s comic book ca­reer shuf­fle through nu­mer­ous short-lived ti­tles. And while Su­per­man be­came a box-of­fice phe­nom­e­non in the ’70s and ’80s, Kara Zor-El weath­ered a 1984 movie mis­fire. Even more in­sult­ing, for the last 30 years, she’s been most closely iden­ti­fied with a story – DC Comics’ Cri­sis On In­fi­nite Earths – that killed her off in or­der to make her cousin once more Kryp­ton’s sole sur­vivor.

But her for­tunes changed with the bright, bold bolt of red-and-blue-coloured hope that ar­rived last year in Kara’s first-ever TV show. Ex­ec­u­tive pro­duced by Greg Ber­lanti – of Ar­row, Flash and Leg­ends Of To­mor­row fame – Supergirl’s first sea­son cul­mi­nated with Kara (played by Melissa Benoist) sav­ing her home town of Na­tional City from a Kryp­to­nian in­va­sion force, and forg­ing her own iden­tity in her adop­tive world.

Now in its se­cond sea­son, Supergirl, like the Maid of Might her­self, has re­ceived a new lease of life. Its pro­duc­tion has now left Warner Brothers Stu­dios in Los An­ge­les, and is pro­duced in Van­cou­ver along­side Ber­lanti’s other shows for Amer­ica’s CW net­work – as part of the most am­bi­tious, fully in­te­grated genre uni­verse con­ti­nu­ity ever brought to tele­vi­sion. Which means fans can now look for­ward to an epic cross­over event this year, in­clud­ing four DC TV se­ries.

“We’re do­ing a mas­sive cross­over be­tween all four,” says Ber­lanti’s right-hand woman, pro­ducer Sarah Schecter. “It’s gonna be just an in­cred­i­ble week. It’s a whole lo­gis­ti­cal night­mare that’s made a lit­tle eas­ier by Melissa be­ing up in Van­cou­ver. But part of the fun is we love all these char­ac­ters and hope­fully our fans love all these char­ac­ters, so to be able to mix and match and see dif­fer­ent peo­ple in­ter­act­ing and the re­la­tion­ships be­tween them… It’s just end­lessly fun. It’s like be­ing a lit­tle kid when you have your ac­tion fig­ures. You’d have your Su­per­man play­ing with your GI Joe! It’s fun for the writ­ers and it’s fun for the ac­tors. It helps fos­ter real com­mu­nity be­tween all of these shows, which is what we want.”

In its se­cond year, Supergirl’s spirit of com­mu­nity has even ex­tended to Su­per­man him­self: in the form of ac­tor Tyler Hoech­lin, who joins his cousin in Na­tional City for the sea­son’s kick-off sto­ry­line.

“It was re­ally ex­cit­ing for us to build who Supergirl was,” Schecter says of Supergirl’s first sea­son, “what she was ca­pa­ble of, and her strengths and the depth of her as a char­ac­ter. In sea­son one we were re­ally able to do that. But while there’s a lot of comedy, ac­tion and drama, it’s re­ally a story about fam­i­lies. It’s about the fam­ily that you have and the fam­ily that you choose. And Clark is an im­por­tant part of Kara. He’s the only liv­ing part of Kara’s fam­ily. It is her show, and I think you’ll feel that in these episodes – she’s equal to him in ev­ery way. But [he’s] a way to learn more about Kara, re­ally. To see more of her fam­ily. In the way that some­times you can see your fam­ily and see sim­i­lar tics and con­nec­tions. But part of what sep­a­rates them is that she spent her youth on Kryp­ton, and then she lost ev­ery­thing. He was a baby, so he doesn’t re­mem­ber it and she does. That’s a gift to both of them in dif­fer­ent ways and a tragedy to both of them.”

Some of year two’s other new char­ac­ters will also res­onate with long­time su­per­hero fans, in­clud­ing the Pres­i­dent of the United States — played by TV’s Won­der Woman her­self, Lynda Carter.

“We had [in­vited] her last year,” says Ber­lanti of the iconic ac­tress. “We had a Pres­i­dent writ­ten into the fi­nale last year, and she wasn’t avail­able. So we took the Pres­i­dent out of the fi­nale and put her into episode three this year. She’ll be in mul­ti­ple episodes. She’s re­cur­ring. There are some fun twists with the char­ac­ter too that I think peo­ple are go­ing to be re­ally ex­cited by.”

“We give her a lot of things to do,” adds Schecter. “Hope­fully we’ll be ac­cu­rate prog­nos­ti­ca­tors of Novem­ber’s elec­tion with our real-life Supergirl, Hil­lary [Clin­ton]… Then we’ve got some other great cast join­ing us. Ian Gomez is com­ing in and is go­ing to be play­ing Kara’s di­rect boss. He’s sort of do­ing a Lou Grant char­ac­ter. It’s just go­ing be a lot of fun.”

Ad­dress­ing last sea­son’s cliffhanger end­ing, in which a mys­te­ri­ous Kryp­to­nian pod crash-landed in Na­tional City, Schecter says, “The big re­veal is who’s in the pod. That’s gonna be a big part of sea­son two. It’s not just who’s in the pod, but what are the mo­tives of the per­son in the pod – are they good or bad? Are they telling the truth? There’s gonna be a lot of fun to play there.”

Com­ing TO­GETHER

Other new char­ac­ters this year in­clude Me­tallo, Lex Luthor’s sis­ter Lena, and the in­tro­duc­tion of Project Cad­mus and Guardian. But fans are al­ready be­side them­selves with an­tic­i­pa­tion for the four-part cross­over in­volv­ing the en­tire DC TV Mul­ti­verse, which will be fol­lowed in the spring by a mu­si­cal cross­over. “We just started work­ing on it last week,” says Ber­lanti of the four-parter. “I’ve men­tioned that it will be one kind of uni­fied threat. We haven’t done a global threat yet on the show. That’s some­thing that would be re­solved in the cross­over. A piece of the story will start in Supergirl. There will be con­nec­tive tis­sue to Supergirl. If you’re watch­ing it as a be­gin­ning, mid­dle and end, pro­duc­tion-wise the way that we’ve kind of imag­ined it, the sto­ry­line starts in The Flash, but it will be help­ful if you’ve watched Supergirl

It was ex­cit­ing for us to build who Supergirl was

the night be­fore… We have a means of how we’re gonna deal with her en­ter­ing the crossovers. She’ll be com­ing to ‘our uni­verse’, as it were, the Uni­verse Prime that we all share. But con­nect­ing those two is not some­thing we’ve talked about, to be hon­est.”

SFX asks Ber­lanti if a Cri­sis On In­fi­nite Earths adap­ta­tion could one day oc­cur, per­ma­nently merg­ing Supergirl’s uni­verse with the par­al­lel uni­verse of Flash, Ar­row and Leg­ends…

“Sure, ab­so­lutely. Part of why [DC] was do­ing that at the time is, I think, to clar­ify a lot of things. Hope­fully we don’t get to a point where ev­ery­one’s so con­fused that we have to do that. But yeah, ab­so­lutely. It’s not some­thing we haven’t talked about, it’s just some­thing that’s not a pri­or­ity… To be hon­est, it’s the same thing we en­coun­tered when we ini­tially did Supergirl – with Supergirl comes Su­per­man, and none of the char­ac­ters on our shows in the uni­verse we’ve cre­ated live in a world where they’re talk­ing about Su­per­man. I think we would deal with that if we ever dealt with how he in­te­grated too, be­cause it’s a sig­nif­i­cant thing.”

In the mean­time, fans can, ac­cord­ing to Schecter, ex­pect a more “comic booky”

Supergirl than they saw in the show’s first sea­son, which melded su­per­heroics with soap-opera ro­mance. The change in tone is also due to the show’s new home.

“The peo­ple at The CW have been mak­ing su­per­hero shows for years,” says Schecter.

“Ar­row’s go­ing into its fifth sea­son. So we just have a short­hand with them. If you say ‘metahu­man’, they know what that means right away. So it will al­low us to be all of who we are.”

Supergirl is on Sky 1 in the UK and The CW in the US.

They must be re­mem­ber­ing ’70s Won­der Woman. Glasses can be so handy!

An ac­cu­rate prediction of the fu­ture…?

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