DC now has the opportunity to shake up the ‘Super’ corner of its cinematic universe for the better.
At this point, how many upcoming projects are even in the works at DC Entertainment? There are four projects due to be out between now and 2020. But if we’re counting the movies that have been announced with no set release date, the number goes up to nearly 20.
Particularly in the last couple of years, there has been an aggressive influx of potential big-screen superhero content to get pumped up over. Well, as much as we can be for the oft-beleaguered DC Extended Universe (or Worlds of DC or whatever its designation is now).
Nevertheless, I do appreciate DC’s attempts to branch out with its growing slate of cinematic content. Obviously, after setting up the bones of its franchise with the likes of Superman and Batman, plenty of the company’s announced offerings still skew on the male side. A Deathstroke film, two separate Joker movies, and Matt Reeves’ long-gestating Batman project make up just a few forthcoming movies.
Despite this, we can look forward to Ava DuVernay’s New Gods, a number of Harley Quinn-centric films including Cathy Yan’s Birds of Prey, and the Christina Hodson-penned Batgirl film. After the success of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman and the increasingly inclusive TV schedule that DC has been cooking up across both streaming and network platforms (Batwoman! Stargirl!), the company displays a vested interest in changing up its tone to make way for varied perspectives in the superhero field.
A Supergirl movie, which is reportedly in its early stages at Warner Bros., fits into that shift perfectly. We were first made aware of the character’s possible existence in the DC movieverse in a Man of Steel Easter egg, but a standalone has now finally been confirmed.
According to Deadline, Oren Uziel, the scribe behind 22 Jump Street and The Cloverfield Paradox, has been hired to pen the Supergirl script. With not even a single producer committed to the film at this point, much less any hint of a plot summary, this is about as premature as announcements get. Nevertheless, there are plenty of reasons to remain on the lookout for this particular IP.
As far as Supergirl’s comic origins are concerned, the superhero also known as Kara Zor-El has gone through a myriad of different incarnations over the years. When Kara first debuted as Supergirl in the Silver Age of the late 1950s, she was the last survivor of Argo City of Krypton and sent to Earth to be raised by her cousin Kal-El (aka Superman). The character matured from an innocent, good-natured teenage orphan to a full-fledged superhero with a heart of gold. But eventually – due to DC’s decision to streamline the Superman canon in the 1980s – Kara was retconned out of existence in the Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series.
The character was reintroduced into mainstream Superman canon in 2003 with a new backstory. This Modern Age continuity presents Kara as a teenager when Kal-El is an infant. Sent to Earth to find Kal-El in the wake of Krypton’s destruction, Kara arrives years too late. She also remains youthful-looking due to her ship getting caught in a giant Kryptonite meteor, trapping her in suspended animation on her way to Earth. While still compassionate like her Pre-Crisis counterpart, Modern Age Kara goes through a period of self-discovery, dealing with issues of insecurity and aggression as she struggles to grasp having survived the destruction of her homeworld.
The Modern Age was then rebooted with the New 52 timeline after the Flashpoint crossover event. In this era, Kara crash-lands in Siberia instead of Smallville, Kansas. She has no memory of the destruction of Krypton, and her immediate introduction to a strange new world caused her to quickly get acquainted with her superpowers. Needless to say, Kara is left in a state of utter confusion. This version of the character is particularly troubled as she wrestles to cope with her new environment, feeling like she is unable to fit in. However, when Kara eventually overcomes her emotional turmoil, the character regains the good-natured personality that we often associate with her.
These are just a few nuggets in Kara’s long history. Even without the slightest inkling of a storyline attached to the Supergirl movie, it’s easiest to bear Kara’s personality traits in mind. She has remained fairly consistent over several incarnations. The best part about the character is that her vulnerability and humanity do not affect her desire to do good. In the context of the grim and mean DCEU, that would be such a breath of fresh air.
Deadline further notes that the Supergirl movie would be the perfect way to reorient Superman himself within the canon of DC films. Really, Henry Cavill has gotten the short end of the stick since Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel, playing an “untouchable god” version of the character who rarely gets to let Supes’ goodness shine through.
Nevertheless, Supergirl’s own desire to do good could kick the movies into gear and result in a brighter opportunity for the Man of Steel. Deadline’s report mentions the merits of possibly recasting Cavill in the role, but I’m of the opinion that this doesn’t even have to happen. I’m still waiting for Cavill to have his Supes do-over. Crack open the veneer of darkness that shrouds the character, and bring some hope into his universe.
A Supergirl film would clearly have a positive impact on DC movies at large. However, it deserves mentioning that whoever takes on the role will have some established shoes to fill. Helen Slater starred in the single live-action Supergirl, which came out in 1984. Then the character appeared in the seventh season of Smallville as portrayed by Laura Vandervoort.
And Melissa Benoist has treated us to a wonderful modern-day iteration of Kara in the Arrowverse TV show Supergirl. The CW series can be a big mess in terms of awkward scripting and continuity issues, but it certainly has a lot of heart that’s primarily demonstrated in Benoist’s vibrant and versatile performance. She carries the show’s more comical moments perfectly and has no trouble conveying scenes with more emotional weight either. One wonders who else could concurrently compete with Benoist in the role.
So, the stakes involved in a Supergirl movie are definitely high. Of course, this cinematic universe could always use more female heroes – ultimately, Diana Prince can’t carry that torch forever. Yet more than anything, Kara’s presence could very well propel the DCEU as a whole into a bright, optimistic future, positively affecting the broader continuity in all its films moving forward.