Following some confusion at Friday’s Superman panel, DC Comics confirmed today at Comic-Con International that Stephanie Brown won’t be appearing as Nightwing in Smallville Season 11. As rumored, she’ll be replaced by Barbara Gordon.
The introduction of the one-time Spoiler turned Robin turned Batgirl alongside Batman in DC’s digital-first series was announced last month, giving some consolation to fans frustrated that the character has yet to be seen in the New 52. But even as Comic-Con began, a rumor emerged that the publisher had changed its mind.
On Friday, the fan who made headlines at last year’s convention as “the Batgirl of San Diego,” attended DC’s Superman panel in hopes of getting answers, but walked away with none. So today she returned for “The New Wave” panel, where Co-Publisher Dan DiDio delivered the official news: Stephanie Brown is out, and Barbara Gordon is in.
“That is true, and there’s a reason for it,” DiDio said in response to the fan’s question, noting that he supported the change from the original plan, as it falls in line with the Smallville practice of bringing the iconic versions of DC heroes into that television world. “If we’re going to introduce a character into the ‘Smallville’ world, I want them to be the most iconic versions like Barbara Gordon or Dick Grayson, and maybe down the road we can do more.”
Of course, the iconic version of Nightwing would be Dick Grayson, and not Barbara Gordon.
It’s unclear when exactly DC made the decision, as Stephanie Brown’s introduction in Smallville was trumpeted just a month ago at TV Guide, followed three weeks ago by an interview at Comic Book Resources with writer Bryan Q. Miller in which he explained that, “I felt I couldn’t get any deeper into this without having Stephanie somewhere.”