Superman may not have spawned a Batcave’s worth of sidekicks and spinoff vigilantes, but Kal-El did have one very important hero who shared his shield and his defining adjective: Supergirl. While there have been numerous variations on the character over the decades, she has always been, at least in part, defined by her relation to her more famous forebear. We’ve known for a while that CBS was developing a new Supergirl TV series, but we didn’t know the answer to that fundamental question: would this Supergirl exist in a world with Superman?
The answer would seem to be yes. The revelation came out almost as an afterthought in a TV Line story on the first supervillains the titular superheroine will be facing off against. TV Line reports that Supergirl, a.k.a. Kara Danvers, a.k.a. Kara Zor-El, will spent the pilot episode smacking around the DC comics supervillain “Lumberjack.” (His schtick is that he’s big and he dresses like a lumberjack — hey, every hero has to start somewhere.) At any rate, TV Line says that CBS is looking to cast somebody in the vein of “Rory McCann, the 6-foot-6 actor from Game of Thrones” to play the “big, burly monster of a man, who has battled Kara’s cousin in the past.”
Kara’s cousin, of course, is fellow Kryptonian Kal-El, better known to the world at large as Superman. So we know that CBS’ Supergirl will take place in a world where Superman existed before Supergirl. But is he still around? The producers of The CW’s Arrow and The Flash have said before that the “big three” of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are generally considered off-limits for their shows, at least partly because DC is busy trying construct their own connected movie reality with the characters to rival Marvel’s mega-successful Cinematic Universe. So will Supes just be spoken of but never seen in the Supergirl series? Maybe we’ll find out he’s dead, or missing, or just really bad at keeping lunch appointments with his cousin. Hey, if they need somebody to cameo in the role, I’m sure somebody at DC still has Tom Welling’s phone number.
Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out. DC is taking the exact opposite of Marvel’s massively connected approach when it comes to their recent crop of TV shows. Arrow and Flash both exist in the same universe — and may possibly crossover with Supergirl — but Gotham and Constantine both unfold in their own distinct and separate realities. So presumably Supergirl will follow suit and have no connection to the movie universe where Henry Cavill is Superman and Ben Affleck is Batman…but you never know. And that’s not even getting into that whole Krypton prequel series Syfy is developing. This is why DC should just embrace the concept of a crossmedia multiverse…
CBS’ Supergirl will star Melissa Benoist (Glee) as Kara and Mehcad Brooks (True Blood) as Jimmy Olsen.