In the action-packed second episode of The CW series Supergirl, called “The Last Children of Krypton,” Cadmus attacks National City with a kryptonite powered villain who ends up seriously hurting Supergirl (Melissa Benoist). While she and Superman (Tyler Hoechlin) devise a plan that enables them to be stronger together, Kara’s first day at her new job doesn’t go as planned, with Snapper Carr (Ian Gomez) in charge.
Following a screening of the episode at the offices of The CW, actor Tyler Hoechlin and executive producer Andrew Kreisberg were on hand to talk about setting up the first half of the season and what’s to come. During the interview, they talked about never wanting Superman to overpower Supergirl on her own show, why this was the right time to bring on the Man of Steel, the effects of the transition from CBS to The CW, whether we might ever see Lois Lane, where James Olsen (Mehcad Brooks) fits in this season, Kara’s dynamic with her new boss, Mon-El (Chris Wood), the continued mystery of what’s happened to Jeremiah (Dean Cain), and how Supergirl fits in with the upcoming four show cross-over. Be aware that some spoilers are discussed.
Question: In Season 1, you talked about Superman, but didn’t show him. Now in Season 2, we get to see him, as opposed to just a silhouette. Can you talk about bringing him in to back up and build up Supergirl, but not take over?
ANDREW KREISBERG: We were very cognizant of not wanting him to come in and steal her thunder. The Superman that we designed was something that you really haven’t seen too much of. Usually, when you see Superman, whether it’s the Christopher Reeve movies, Man of Steel or Lois & Clark, he’s just starting out. We wanted to show a Superman who’s been doing this for a decade and has gotten really, really good at it. Usually, when somebody comes in, they have a massive character arc, and that wasn’t entirely the case here. He was coming in as a supporting character for Kara, and to be a friend, a cousin and a mentor. She’s always compared herself to him, but comes to realize, “I’ve got it all going on, too.” We simultaneously wanted to have a Superman that was relatable and fun and everything that you remember about Superman from your childhood while also demystifying him, a little bit. No matter how famous you are, there’s always somebody more famous than you. Yeah, she can fly and she’s famous, but there’s a familiarity with all the people that she works with. And then, Superman comes in and it’s like Mick Jagger just flew in and everybody’s jaws drop, but she’s completely over it. That’s really the angle that we came at it from.
TYLER HOECHLIN: That word “support” is the strongest one that I’ve tried to lean on. This is not his origin story. This is someone who’s been doing this for a long time and has become very comfortable. The game has slowed down for him. These things that seem like a big deal to her, he’s gone through those issues already. The role of him coming into this, for me, from the very beginning, was to support her, which lends itself to being a supporting character. There was never an intention for this to be about him. It’s always about her. It’s called Supergirl, and Melissa has done such a great job. For [Superman], it’s always about building her up and being there to impart wisdom when he can and support her when he can, but in no way try to make her feel like she’s not capable of doing anything that he could do.
Why did the first two episodes of the season seem like the right time to bring Superman onto the show?
KREISBERG: We were planning to do this when we were still on CBS, and I think it became even more imperative when we jumped to the CW, just because, especially when you make a giant transition like that, you always want to start with a bang and put your best food forward. We’d been hinting and teasing at Superman, all last season, so the idea to actually see him, and get to see Superman and Supergirl working together, just felt like a great way to open the season. And perhaps if people had either not seen the show before, or had watched early on and given up on it, it was a way to bring eyeballs back to it, especially ‘cause we really felt like we’ve hit another gear with the show, creatively. The show is called Supergirl, and it was always designed to be about somebody who had to deal with a very famous relative whose shadow was very difficult to step out of. In some ways, you didn’t need to see him to make that work. She started out not so sure of herself, but by the end of the year, she’s saved the world. We felt confident that Kara was in a strong enough place, as Supergirl and as Kara, that it was the right time to bring in her cousin and not have it overshadow her or make you feel like, “Oh, well, finally, Superman’s here!”
Are there any plans to bring Superman back, this season?
KREISBERG: Hopefully. We’re working on it. We’ll see. Hope springs eternal.
Now that you’ve established how important Clark is to Kara, how do you plan to continue that, when we won’t see Superman again for awhile?
KREISBERG: We always like the text messaging because it’s funny. That’s how people communicate now, so those text message scenes were always a pleasure to write. Any one of us knows how happy you get when your best friend, or your sister, or your brother sends you a text and just says, “Hey, how are you? I was thinking about you.” That’s become such a important part of our lives. In the first season, we couldn’t show Superman, so it was our best attempt to show that. Those scenes always had a strangely strong resonance, even though they were a gimmick. And now that Tyler has inhabited the part, whenever there’s discussion about Superman in subsequent episodes, or the thought of them talking to each other, or somebody says, “I’ll check in with Superman,” now you can imagine Tyler. It makes all of those mentions, and then the idea of him being out there, that much more powerful because you can imagine it and you know that he’s out there and he’s ready to help.
We’ve already met Lucy Lane, so what are the chances that we might get to meet Lois, and do you have any dream casting in mind for the role?
HOECHLIN: I think there’s plenty of talented actresses out there who could do it justice, but no dream casting. Hopefully, it would just be a dream person to work with, and somebody who’s a very supportive actress and very present in there, and who was always great and nice to the crew. That’s always a nice bonus. Any of those requirements would be great. But, I think it could be fun.
KREISBERG: There’s no real plans right now. We’re happy we have Superman.
Andrew, you certainly have enough on your plate from all the various shows and crossovers, but seeing how easily Tyler Hoechlin slipped into this character in this world, did you ever think about spinning him off into his own show?
KREISBERG: This is going to sound like we’re abused kids, but we’re so happy with what we get to do. I don’t mean for that to sound as bad as it does, but we asked if we could have Superman in the first episode, and DC and Warner Brothers said, “You can have him for the first two episodes!” And we were like, “Great!” I’m not going to sit here and say that there’s never going to be a world in which there is a Superman TV show and that Tyler’s going to star in it. I don’t know what the future holds. But right now, that’s not our focus. Right now, we’re working on Supergirl, which is the flagship, and working on a way for Tyler to reprise the role is really what our focus is on Supergirl right now.
In regard to the transition from CBS to The CW, are you approaching anything differently now?
KREISBERG: This was pretty much what we envisioned. As far as the changes were concerned, we were always going to revamp the DEO. We just fell out of love with the cave set. It just didn’t feel of a piece. It was cool in the beginning, and then for some reason, it just didn’t feel like it was bringing everything together. And we were always going to have Winn join the DEO. There wasn’t as much difference between the CBS pitch and The CW pitch. Some of the stuff that we’re, doing down the road in subsequent episodes, once we knew we were on The CW, we felt more comfortable framing the show in our terms. It’ll feel more of a piece with The Flash and Arrow and Legends, and maybe embrace some of the more comic book elements. But, they weren’t that different. Certainly, the idea to have Superman was there from the get-go.