Melissa Benoist had recently announced her time as Supergirl would be over after a six-year run. It came as something of a surprise considering the show had just been renewed for a sixth season back in January. With Benoist moving on and the slow shuttering fans were left to feel they’d seen the end of the character on the small screen. But rumors around some of the universe’s other shows have fans thinking we might see a new Supergirl sooner than later.
After originally airing on CBS, Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl found a home on The CW in the channel’s Arrowverse. It joined a stable of shows that have performed rather well since Stephen Amell’s Arrow debuted all the way back in 2012.
When Supergirl first aired on CBS, it grabbed almost 13 million viewers tuning in for the newest iteration of a female superhero. By the end of the season, those numbers had halved.
CBS let Supergirl and Melissa Benoist go and The CW picked up the show in its second season with the ratings dipping to three million viewers at the open. And following the Season Five finale, the Supergirl ratings had really fallen off a cliff; fewer than one million tuned in. The show is now headed for a final 20-episode run that should wrap up the story arc. Both the network and Melissa Benoist released statements in early October that the show’s sixth season would be the last.
The CW executives cited a double effect of dropping ratings and the COVID pandemic halting production timelines as reasons the show would no longer air. So that means the end of Supergirl as we know her in this universe? Maybe not so fast. Removing characters without a true death scene is tough. And franchises are typically hesitant to do so outside of alternate timelines because it makes it tricky to bring them back at some point. So we may see a new face on the character.
Where the speculation from the new Supergirl comes from, even with Melissa Benoist’s exit, is in the upcoming CW show Superman & Lois. This latest addition to the Arrowverse with star Tyler Hoechlin as Superman and Bitsie Tulloch as Lois Lane added another recent casting of a character Leslie Larr. Super-fans really went down a rabbit hole here speculating this actually referred to LeslaLar, who is a specific enemy of Supergirl from the original comics. Why would The CW bring on this character if a new version of Supergirl wasn’t far behind?
Does this mean a new Supergirl would mean a standalone show? Not likely considering the current circumstances, or at least not Melissa Benoist’s version making a cameo. With the Arrowverse continually growing, they don’t specifically need Supergirl as part of their version of the Justice League. They already have The Flash and Green Arrow along with Batwoman who was recently recast with a new look.
Why else might we get a new face in the red, white, and blue? It likely wasn’t just the numbers that ushered Melissa Benoist’s version of Supergirl off the screen. The actress and her husband Chris Wood announced the birth of their first child back in September. Along with Benoist, Wood is a fellow The CW alum getting his start as Kai Parker on The Vampire Diaries. But the couple ultimately met on Supergirl where he played Mon-El, a love interest for Kara Danvers. With the show going off the air, the onscreen couple will head offscreen together.
Melissa Benoist’s new baby, and apparently happy marriage, is a welcome sign for the actress after she had opened up about domestic abuse in her first marriage. In 2019, the actress opened up about troubling accusations stemming from her marriage to Blake Jenner.
In many ways, it’s a shame the show couldn’t find a solid footing with fans. Supergirl has earned very good reviews from critics, averaging 88% through its first five seasons. This is a remarkable number for this type of show with a somewhat narrow range of viewing audiences. Because Season Six is the last, the writers are at least afforded a way to bring Melissa Benoist’s Danvers character to a close and tie off any loose ends.
But it doesn’t mean the end of the character. Recasting is always possible (heck, we just saw it with Batwoman) and comic franchises always need to be ready for a pivot. That could be the case with Supergirl and news about castings can’t be too far behind as the Arrowverse continues to grow.