If her cousin is Superman, why is Kara Zor-El known as Supergirl instead of Superwoman?
The powers that be behind Supergirl settled that debate — which actually comes up during the CBS’ super series’ pilot episode — during the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour on Monday. “[That’s a] different character,” executive producer Ali Adler started off. “She’s Supergirl because she’s Supergirl.”
Arriving two decades after Superman, Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) was adopted into a human family (Helen Slater and Dean Cain play her foster parents), and grew up keeping her powers under wraps — unlike her famous cousin, who has already fulfilled his destiny by sporting the cape. Kara comes of age working for media magnate Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) alongside her new friend/potential love interest James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) before deciding to embrace her own superhero side.
“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 added. “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.”
Despite sharing similar powers to Superman, Kara is not impervious — especially when it comes to Kryptonite — because she’s still honing her abilities. The goal was “to put her in situations where she isn’t all-powerful so you can root for her,” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg said. “There’s a tendency with Superman to make him so powerful that there isn’t really any danger. There are plenty of things besides Kryptonite that can take her down. It’s not to diminish her, it’s to make it feel like there’s actual jeopardy to the show.”
Speaking of Superman, as EW previously teased, the Man of Steel won’t play a particularly large role on the CBS series. “He will be a factor in her life, but you won’t see him exactly on screen,” DC Entertainment’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns said. “He’s going to be more in the background. But he does play a part in her evolution into a superhero.”
But there will be a number of familiar faces from canon showing up. In addition to the recently announced introduction of Lucy Lane (Jenna Dewan-Tatum), Kreisberg also teased that General Sam Lane, DC Comics superhero Red Tornado and Kryptonian super villain Non are also slated to appear.
Supergirl premieres Monday, Oct. 26 at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS.