Though Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) made a heroic first impression in the Supergirl pilot by saving a plane full of helpless passengers, National City’s newest superhero hasn’t quite gained the same popularity as her famed cousin after a number of mishaps around town. But that will all change as the Girl of Steel begins to hone her powers.
“Her reputation on the show mirrors her reputation to the audience,” executive producer Andrew Kreisberg tells EW. “There’s some people who came to the show with a little bit of [apprehension]. ‘What’s this going to be about? Can she do it? Is she going to be as strong as Superman? Can she do all the things he can do?’ As the audience falls ever more in love with Melissa, Melissa’s portrayal, and the show itself, so too does National City fall in love with its hero. She really becomes a symbol of hope and justice just as her cousin has.”
With that said, Supergirl’s meteoric rise will be a departure from what fans of the Berlanti-verse have seen with Arrow and The Flash. “It’s interesting for us because it’s the first time we’ve really had such a real public superhero right from the get-go, and dealing with that instant fame and the impact on the city is part of the series,” Kreisberg says.
What may not help Kara’s case, however, is giving Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) the first exclusive interview, since the media magnate plans to run an exposé on Supergirl during Monday’s episode. “Kara’s never had to deal with having a secret identity,” Kreisberg says. “At first she’s very concerned that Cat is going to out her as Kara if she figures it out. The exposé turns out to be much more of a critique about Supergirl’s impact and her millennial-ness, which really rubs Kara the wrong way.
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“What’s so interesting about the relationship between Kara and Cat is Cat doesn’t realize it, but not only is she mentoring Kara Danvers, her young assistant, but she’s also mentoring Supergirl,” Kreisberg continues. “Cat is a very successful woman and the lessons that Cat is able to impart about how she rose to the position that she’s at, and all the tricks and tools she needed to make her way to the top, are actually valuable lessons for Supergirl as well. It’s a really interesting three-way relationship, even though there’s only two people in it.”
As Supergirl finds her footing, it seems only natural to wonder if she’ll ever find a helping hand from the Man of Steel. But what would turning to her chisel-jawed cousin for help do to her growing popularity? “That’s something to be explored as we move forward,” Kreisberg says. “These early episodes are really her trying to get out of his shadow. Superman is a kind and loving cousin. How you get to find that out and see that is part of the fun of the show.”
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.