The DC Universe streaming service will soon be launching its latest superhero series, Stargirl. It marks the first female-led live action show on the service, so you can expect it to be a big deal when it launches in 2020.
However, Stargirl isn't exactly one of the most prominent female characters on the lengthy and distinguished DC roster, compared to the likes of Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman and Catwoman. You'd be forgiven for not knowing too much about her, then, which is where we come in. Before Stargirl kicks off, here's ten things you simply must know about DC's next TV hero.
10 Born To Be A Star
Courtney Whitmore's journey to become a superhero started from humble beginnings. She made her first appearance in Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E as a naïve teenager, who just so happens to be the stepdaughter of Pat Dugan. If this was one of the many regular run-of-the-mill Pat Dugans that you can find listed in the phone book, then that would be the end of an unremarkable story.
However, this particular Pat Dugan is a superhero better known as Stripesy or S.T.R.I.P.E. He was the adult sidekick of the teenage wonder Star-Spangled Kid. It's the Kid's costume that Courtney finds and dons to become the second Star-Spangled Kid. Her first superhero outing didn't last for long, as she soon received the retiring Starman's Cosmic staff, granting her the power to become Stargirl.
9 She's Got The Power
What powers can you expect to see Stargirl unleash when she debuts on the small screen? Quite a spectacular array of abilities, as it turns out. Thanks to the formidable combo of Starman's cosmic staff and the Star-Spangled Kid's cosmic converter belt (you may have noticed the slightly overbearing themes of 'cosmic' and 'stars' here), Stargirl has enhanced strength, speed and agility, as well as being able to fly, manipulate force fields and shoot energy blasts.
Clearly, this is a TV show where the SFX budget should be a stretch for even DC's deep pockets.
8 Already A TV Star
Stargirl won't be making her first TV appearance in 2020. In fact, she's already made two of them. The first was way back in 2010, when she turned up in cult classic Smallville. Played by Britt Irvin, it's safe to say that her costume made her look like she was wearing her dad's clothes, if her dad had been a professional wrestler. It was a bad outfit. Perhaps the costumer designer had run out of time and decided to just buy the costume from eBay?
Things improved with her second foray onto TV in DC's Legends of Tomorrow. This costume was thankfully bereft of the bulbous blue mask that protruded from Irvin's face but still lacked any pizazz, a quality surely necessary for a character named 'Stargirl'. Instead, it was pretty plain, better suited as a pair of pyjamas than for biffing bad guys in.
7 A Team Player
Stargirl isn't really known for her solo adventures, instead the majority of her comic appearances have seen her as part of a team. She's fought alongside some of the most formidable heroes of all time in the JSA - the Justice Society of America. She learned a great deal about the art of Superheroing from Power Girl - the Earth-2 counterpart of Supergirl - as well as having a brief romance with Captain Marvel himself, Billy Bateson.
With Billy having found success in the recent cinematic outing of Shazam, It's unlikely that we'll see him teaming up with Stargirl any time soon. Perhaps Power Girl will make an appearance? If so, a costume redesign might be on the cards.
6 The Arch-Nemesis
Every hero needs an arch-nemesis to do battle with for the fate of humankind. Batman has the Joker, Superman has Lex Luther and Stargirl has Shiv. Cindy Burman, aka Shiv, is the daughter of evil scientist, war criminal and really old dude, Dragon King.
Like father, like daughter, Shiv has taken after her old man by following in his nefarious footsteps. The Dragon King died going up against Stargirl and S.T.R.I.P.E, for which Shiv holds Stargirl responsible. With an armoured costume packed to the armpits with deadly blades, Shiv looks like she'll be the ideal candidate to cause Stargirl plenty of trouble on our TV screens. With Dragon King already having been cast, it's likely we'll see the origin of Shiv in the first season of Stargirl.
5 To the Stargirl Mobile!
Any superhero worth their salt needs a themed superhero mobile. Sure, it seems a little egotistical, but anyone who can pull off the tight spandex look is hardly going to have a reserved nature. Stargirl is certainly no exception and, despite having the ability to fly, she has a Star-Rocket Racer.
Given to her by her step-father as a birthday present, the Star-Rocket Racer is a flying space car that has been seen in a variety of colours. Whether the TV show paints the Star-Rocket Racer green or yellow, it's very likely to make an appearance.
4 The Formation of the JSA
As previously mentioned, Stargirl is a vital member of the JSA. The show itself looks like a gateway to bring some of the JSA roster into the DC TV universe. While there's sure to be plenty of surprises - Power Girl, we're looking at you - several superheroes have already been announced.
Wildcat, the cat-inspired superhero, is to be played by Brian Stapf of The Purge fame. Henry Thomas will play the owl-loving detective - and questionable speller - Doctor Mid-Nite. Finally, Lou Ferrigno Jr. (son of the original Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno) will be Hourman and, considering his background as a fitness model, will be bringing plenty of abs to the role.
3 Injustice Society
Comic book writers love creating villains who are the distorted and disturbed reflection of a hero. The Justice Society of America's oppositional opposites are the Injustice Society. Created by Sheldon Mayer and Bob Kanigher, the Injustice Society made their first appearance in All Star Comics #37.
Like most supervillain teams, they've had a revolving door of members. The Stargirl show seems to be drawing heavily from the original team, though, with both Tigress and Sportsmaster cast. Sportsmaster has had a variety of abilities in the comics, so there's plenty for the creative team to draw upon, but they all revolve around the use of sports-themed objects as weapons. The idea of him doing battle with Stargirl wielding golf clubs, basketballs and a pair of sneakers is hilariously brilliant.
2 The Costume
As mentioned, the Stargirl costume is a difficult to get right in live-action. An outfit that looks fun, frivolous and heroic in the comics has just come across as plain silly in Smallville and DC's Legends of Tomorrow. Fortunately, from the little we've seen so far, it looks like DC Universe have nailed the look this time out.
Brec Bassinger is spot on casting for Stargirl and is the personification of her 2D counterpart. Her costume manages to straddle the difficult dichotomy of being both fantastical and realistic. It's a good indicator that Stripesy, her giant mech-suit wearing stepdad, should look as brilliant as we expect.
1 The Cosmic Staff
Perhaps one of the most exciting elements of Stargirl will be the Cosmic Staff, A weapon that is so powerful that it will have to ramp up the visual effects of the show compared to the relative gritty reality of DC's street heroes. The Cosmic Staff absorbs energy which can be converted to a wide range of startling uses.
With it, Stargirl can levitate objects, create forcefields, and fire energy blasts. It is also attuned to respond to Stargirl's mental commands. Could be we seeing the equivalent of the MCU's Mjolnir on the small screen? With Stargirl launching next year, we won't have long to wait to find out.