There’s plenty for DC Comics fans to love in the new extended promo for NBC’s “Powerless,” from the gag about Wonder Woman’s invisible jet to the shortcomings of kryptonite glass to the cameo by Starro. Yes, the giant alien starfish.
The previous teasers for the workplace comedy have included plenty of DC Universe references — appearances by Crimson Fox and Jack O’Lantern, a Superman joke, the introduction of Bruce Wayne’s cousin Van, for starters — but this one definitely goes all in.
Set within the DC Comics universe, “Powerless” centers on the everyday lives of people in a world populated by super-powered heroes and villains. The sitcom follows Vanessa Hudgens as Emily Locke, who begins her new job as director of research & development for Wayne Security, a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises, which specializes in products that make defenseless bystanders feel a little safer as they try not to become collateral damage in the battles between superheroes and supervillains.
The inclusion of certain DC-related elements, like Wayne Security and Alan Tudyk’s Van Wayne, were added late in the development of “Powerless” (the company’s name was initially Retcon Insurance).
“About 15 weeks into this, we decided that the insurance company angle wasn’t really generating the type of stories that we wanted to be telling,” executive producer Patrick Schumacker told journalists during the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour. He and fellow executive producer Justin Halpern, both latecomers to the project, then met with DC Entertainment President and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns to come up with a way to “tell classic workplace comedy stories but in a way that kind of activates the DC universe a little bit more.”
Although “Powerless” will make references to A-list heroes like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, fans shouldn’t expect them to make cameos on the show. What’s more, don’t look for links to the DC Comics-based films or Arrowverse shows; “Powerless” exists in its own world, which Schumacker refers to as Earth-P.
“The idea is that we’re going to pull from the whole cannon of the comics,” he said. “It really is the comics we’re pulling from. We really want to show as much of the berth of the DC universe as possible.”
Starring Vanessa Hudgens, Alan Tudyk, Ron Funches and Christina Kirk, “Powerless” premieres Thursday, Feb. 2, at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
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