There was one thing that came through loud and clear at “Supergirl’s” inaugural PaleyFest panel — with only a handful of episodes left in her freshman TV season, it really will take a Girl of Steel to handle everything coming Kara Danvers’ way.
CBR News was on the red carpet at the Los Angeles-based television festival to speak with the CBS series’ cast and creators. And one message came through loud and clear: even with 16 of the show’s 20 episodes having already aired, there’s still a whole lot of story ahead before the season finale.
First up is the much-anticipated DC crossover episode, in which Kara encounters a parallel-universe-hopping fellow superhero for the first time in the form of “The Flash’s” Barry Allen, as played by Grant Gustin. Executive producer Greg Berlanti — who also heads up all the DC Comics superhero-derived series on The CW — revealed that while the original plan was to let Supergirl fly solo for her first season, developing a cross-network, cross-series event proved just too fun to resist.
“We always said to everybody, we’re going to let the first half of the year kind of settle and just let ‘Supergirl’ get out there and be its own thing,” Berlanti told us. “Then, as Christmas approached, we knew we’d be running out of time. I think it was January that we went in for our pitches for the back half of the year. That was the top of our list.
“We wanted to talk to Grant about it, see if he was cool, and he was great,” Berlanti continued. “He had to do everything he did on ‘Flash,’ work some weekends and then shoot down here twice to cover for us. So it’s certainly a nice deed that he’s going to do that for us. It would be the same thing if Melissa [Benoist] was kind enough to go up there.”
Ali Adler, executive producer and co-creator, doesn’t rule out further trips to alternate Earths in Supergirl’s long-term future, either. “I think that it more resides in ‘The Flash’ territory,” she admits, “but we used it once, and if successful, we like to divert our pen back in the well.
The show’s leading lady, Melissa Benoist, says the show has certainly put Supergirl through her paces, and she’s been surprised at how much Kara has evolved since the start — and how ready she is for even more dangerous adversaries ahead.
“Kara has changed so drastically from the pilot, and she’s really come into her own as a hero,” says Benoist. “Now, she’s ready for these epic villains, and the proportion of what she’s up against is so large. But I think it will be really fun for people to see how she handles it. ”
One of those “epic villains” is the Silver Banshee, the next evolution of Kara’s workplace nemesis Siobhan Smythe, played by Italia Ricci. That’s not the best news for Winn Schott, who’s just started dating Siobhan, but actor Jeremy Jordon hints that Siobhan’s transformation may have a silver lining for his character.
“[Winn] sort of is forced to become this voice of reason for this otherwise not very nice person who’s dealing with a lot of stuff and taking it out on other people,” says Jordan. “He’s kind of the one that’s most able to break through and cut through that. He realizes that about himself. We see him kind of be a little heroic.”
Viewers are used to heroism from the Martian Manhunter, in both his true form, and his adopted guise as DEO head Hank Henshaw, but actor David Harewood’s excited to play the original Henshaw, in all his glorious nastiness. “My favorite character of the whole thing is the real Hank Henshaw. He’s an absolute psycho, but he’s great fun to play! I’m looking forward to people seeing the real Hank take on the Martian Manhunter.”
Amid all the action, Supergirl’s love life is about to heat up, too, now that one apex of the romantic triangle between Kara, Lucy and James Olsen has been removed from the equation with Lucy having dumped Superman’s pal. “James and Kara get a lot closer, I think in ways that will make the fans happy,” teased Mehcad Brooks. “I can’t say too much about it, but, yeah: with one door closing, another one opens!”
And there’s even more plot twists and new characters ahead, with comics stalwarts Jim Harper, aka The Guardian, and Richard Malvern slated to appear before season’s end. “There’s a lot of questions that we have about how characters came to be,” hints Adler. “I think we’re going to get some satisfying etymology out of those stories. We have flashbacks, and we’ll see some people that we’ve seen before that we hope to give you some answers for.”
As the creators look ahead to a hoped-for-but-as-yet-unconfirmed second season, Adler promises that even the quaintest and quirkiest elements of Supergirl yore are on the table for story fodder.
“Comet the Superhorse, Streaky the Supercat — we love them all,” says Adler. “I think that we just hope to continue with this tremendous cast and make episodes for many years to come. We’ll exploit every little thing, I promise. We’ll get in there and turn it on its head and try to make something. I mean, we’ve talked about Streaky. So yeah, definitely we’ll embrace all the canon.”