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Supergirl at Comic-Con: Superman tensions teased at panel

Plus: Why season 2 is the right time for Kara and Clark

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Monty Brinton/CBS

Fans waiting with bated breath to learn who was in that crashed pod Supergirl ripped open at the end of season 1 got a little closer to an answer at the show’s San Diego Comic-Con panel Saturday. While the character is still a mystery, Supergirl executive producer Sarah Schechter revealed it will be played by Chris Wood, whose casting was announced earlier this week.

Schechter was joined for the show’s panel by series stars Melissa Benoist, who plays Kara/Supergirl, as well as Mehcad Brooks (James Olsen), Chyler Leigh (Kara’s sister Alex), Jeremy Jordan (Winn), David Harewood (Hank, a.k.a. Martian Manhunter) and series newcomer Tyler Hoechlin, who joins season 2 as Superman.

“Definitely incredibly surreal,” Hoechlin said of his new role. “I know the character represents so much to so many people.”

Though he has “not tried on the suit yet” — “That’ll be the moment for sure,” he said — Schechter promises tension between the two heroes. “Clark has a very different experience of what it means to have super powers on earth,” she says. “There’s some head-butting and philosophical approaches that are different. Well get into that.”

And now is the right time to explore that.

“In season 1, the show is about Kara and the show is about Supergirl. It would confuse matters to have Superman there,” Schechter said. “This show is about family, the family you make as an adult and the family you came from. It makes sense for Kara to reconnect with him now.”

Superman isn’t the only iconic name to enter the fold — original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter will portray the President of the United States. “Because big things are happening. Big things have to happen when Superman and Supergirl get together,” Schechter explains of why the role was necessary, before revealing, to huge applause, what kind of president Carter’s will be. “I think we should expect that a female president is going to lead well.”

Also part of the fabric of season 2 storylines will be the crossover of Supergirl with Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow. Schechter could offer no details, but says everyone is “super excited” about it. That, of course, is only possible because of the show’s jump from CBS to The CW, premiering Oct. 10. “We’re so grateful to CBS for launching the show and putting Melissa on buildings all over,” Schechter said, before citing the benefit of moving to The CW, home to those other superhero shows. “There’s a short hand. When you say ‘metahuman,’ they know what you’re talking about.”

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Donning the famous cape and costume, Benoist knows lots of eyes have been on her. “She lends herself to be a role model — who she is and what she stands for. In moments with young girls and when I see their faces light up, thinking how I would have felt if I was in their situation when I was girl, it would have meant to so much to me.”

But Benoist humbly says her stature pales in comparison to others. “We had some Girl Scouts [come to set], but they had just met Obama, so meeting me was like old hat,” she said.

Reflecting on season 1, Benoist, who’s leading her first series, was asked about the pressures and responsibilities of taking on this iconic role and headlining a franchise. “I am just happy to have made it out alive,” she told the crowd. “Last season, I honestly look back and don’t know how I did the things I did.”

She, of course, did a lot of flying — some of that next to David Harewood, whose Hank Henshaw turned out to be a pivotal character. “I had no idea I was going to be the Martian Manhunter when I shot the pilot,” Henshaw said. “It was great for me. It was so funny to look online and seeing videos of people jumping up and down excited that he was billed as Martian Manhunter.”

Brooks is excited for what’s to come for James and Kara. “We ended up in a lip lock [at the end of season 1].  I read episode 201 [the premiere] and it starts with our wedding. I thought it was a little fast!” Brooks joked, turning more serious to analyze their status. “It’s a workplace relationship. It’s a new relationship. There’s going to be up and down. She’s still figuring out who she is as a woman, and I’m still figuring out things about myself.”​

Prior to its Oct. 10 premiere, The CW will begin airing all 20 season 1 episodes beginning Aug. 1, with two episodes each Monday. Or audiences can catch up with the Blu-ray/DVD, which comes out Aug. 9.

Watch the video above of the Supergirl cast in EW’s Comic-Con studio.

Entertainment Weekly is on the scene at San Diego Comic-Con. Go inside with all our coverage, available here.