CBS is already presenting Supergirl in a way that may guarantee Melissa Benoist (A.K.A. Kara Danvers/Supergirl) superhero status even before the series premiere, thanks in part due to the network’s wise move of pushing the idea that Kara Danvers has a fate. It seems like a simple, given idea, but without it, Supergirl would surely flop.
Even Melissa Benoist herself recognizes the beauty in her character’s struggle to accept a fate that seems predestined, and at the same time presents her with challenges that force Supergirl to struggle and fight for that fate.
“I just knew automatically that it was something important and rare and something that I wanted to be a part of,” Supergirl‘s Benoist said.
Supergirl tells the second half of a familiar story, as the series reveals that Superman (A.K.A. Kal-El) wasn’t the only child to escape Krypton’s destruction. Kara Zor-El was adopted by the Danvers family and learned to supress her powers, but an event that might otherwise have ended in tragedy, forces Kara Zor-El to use her powers and accept her fate as Supergirl.
While many, including Ms. Benoist’s own Supergirl character, have criticized the use of the word “girl” as opposed to Superwoman, Ms. Benoist’s co-star Calista Flockhart is fond of the title and of her own character’s girl power speech.
“I love that speech. One of the things I love about the show is that it’s a celebration of girl power,” Ms. Flockhart said. “I was attracted to the show because it’s a great show for moms and daughters—there’s a real family aspect of that.”
Supergirl Executive Producer Ali Adler also jumped in with his own thoughts, which seem basic enough to end further debate.
“[That’s a] different character. She’s Supergirl because she’s Supergirl.”
“We knew going in that Supergirl might imply a younger audience, but we felt we could take a powerful word back and participate in introducing that to a new generation and say that doesn’t just mean young or inconsequential,” Executive Producer Greg Berlanti adds. “It should be strong and bold. That was our goal. One of the blessings of what we get to do is to introduce it to a new generation and that means changing key elements of the character and still keeping true to the core DNA of the character.”
Regardless of her title, Melissa Benoist says there’s a message not to be lost over such trivial matters.
“I just knew automatically that she’s such a beacon of hope,” Melissa said of her Supergirl character, “and that bravery and strength was so intrinsic to who she is.”
The Supergirl pilot episode will air on October 26 on CBS.
[Featured image: Melissa Benoist courtesy of CBS/Supergirl]