Supergirl boss on Alex's journey to coming out
Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Monday’s episode of Supergirl.
The CW superhero character who will be exploring her sexuality this season has been revealed.
During Monday’s episode of Supergirl, Alex (Chyler Leigh) started to question her sexuality, realizing that she may actually like women after Maggie (Floriana Lima) pressed her about it. How will Alex handle this new discovery? And what’s next for Alex and Maggie? EW turned to executive producer Andrew Kreisberg to find out:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What came with the decision to explore Alex’s sexuality?
ANDREW KREISBERG: We had discussed it a little bit last season. She just seemed like the character to do it with. We never really explored too much [of] her social life. In fact, it was nonexistent, because she had devoted so much of herself to the DEO and to her sister. So, the notion that rather than, “Oh, she was just a workaholic,” but that there was actually something psychological behind it was fascinating to us. Once we made the decision, you look back at last season and go, “Oh, it makes perfect sense.”
What was that conversation like with Chyler once you guys decided on this storyline?
She was great. We just sat down and we said, “Here’s what we’re planning for this season.” We had figured out a lot of it. We already knew we were adding Maggie to the cast, so we knew she would have a love interest. I think Chyler was excited at the prospect of Alex having her own storyline and her own life outside of Kara. In a way, life imitates art. As an actress, she was getting her own storyline just in the same way that Alex is getting her own storyline finally.
Why was it important to explore an LGBT relationship on Supergirl in particular, especially in a season where you’re exploring themes of hate?
I don’t think we made the conscious decision to, like, “Okay, great, we’re going to do this now on Supergirl,” I think it was specific to Alex. At the beginning of the season for every show, we sit down and say, “What’s the most interesting thing we can do for any of these characters?” For Alex, this just seemed like a natural fit given who she was. As I said, it was a way to explain who she was and how she came to be. It seemed like an exciting world that was opening up for us. The only thing that makes Supergirl probably the ideal show to do this on is there is a level of reality to the Supergirl world — maybe even more so than some of the other shows, because so much of it takes place in nonsuperhero places, like CatCo and the sisters’ world — that it felt like it wouldn’t be having to compete as hard with the more fantastical elements of the show.
Can you talk about how Alex will be handling this new development moving forward?
It’s all coming as a bit of a shock to her. If Maggie hadn’t come along, I don’t think she would’ve recognized this about herself, and probably wouldn’t have had the courage to come out the way she is. I think moving forward, it’s baby steps. There’s a big emotional breakthrough in episode 6, which we’re really excited about. From my research and talking to my gay friends, it seems like, at least anecdotally, when people come out later in life, they tend to come out because they’ve met someone and they have strong feelings for someone. That’s what happens with Alex, that she has these very strong feelings for this woman. Watching that relationship have its twists and turns makes up the Alex storyline for the foreseeable future.
How will Kara react to this?
She is obviously going to be extremely open to it. Kara’s reaction is interesting. She feels a little sad, but entirely because she feels like so much of the sisters’ lives have been about Kara, have been about protecting her, keeping her secret, making sure she’s safe, and last year, this journey for her in becoming Supergirl. She feels like she created an environment in which Alex never felt comfortable discussing this stuff, so she laments that. She also says to Alex, too, that she understands what it’s like to turn off a part of yourself to go along and get along. It only makes the sisters closer.
What does Alex’s relationship with Maggie look like? What milestones will we see for their dynamic?
I don’t want to get too much into that, because I think next week it takes a couple of twists that people might not be expecting. We love the work that Chyler and Floriana are doing. They are amazing together. We’ll see what happens as the show continues.
Considering Supergirl has always been a bright and shiny show, you’ve so far been focusing on the fun and happy side of this budding new relationship. Are you going to continue down that path?
There will be some stories that are fun, romantic stories, but there are also other more serious stories. One of the things that this show does really well is it has these really interesting relationships between women — and all sorts of women, whether it’s sisters, mentors/mentees, and now as potential romantic interests. It’s never all just one thing. This show is not suddenly going to be this dark, depressing meditation on life. It’s not built that way. For Alex, this isn’t a realization that is coming without challenges. Some of those challenges are external, and some of them are Alex’s own opinions of who she should be, and how she should be, that she needs to get over. It’s not always going to be easy. Sometimes it’s going to be heartbreaking, sometimes it’s going to be hilarious. Hopefully, it’ll be something that the audience is as proud of as we are.
Supergirl is a show where danger is ever-present. Following last spring, when the Bury Your Gays trope was thrust back into the spotlight, how nervous were you guys to tell this story? Is that something you talked about in the room?
No, I didn’t know that was a thing. I think we all are bringing our collective experience to the writing, and just trying to be as sensitive to the topic as possible. Obviously having Greg [Berlanti] as a leader and a guiding force has been invaluable.
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.