DC's Stargirl creator Geoff Johns dives deep on the arrival of Green Lantern's daughter Jade
DC's Stargirl is getting green with envy this season.
Ever since titular teen superhero Courtney (Brec Bassinger) stole the Green Lantern power battery in season 1, fans have been wondering when the payoff would come with an actual Green Lantern's arrival on the CW series. And thanks to the season 2 trailer, we now know that payoff is actually coming in the form of Green Lantern…'s daughter, Jade.
Ysa Penarejo joins the cast this season as Jennie-Lynn Hayden, daughter of the iconic Green Lantern Alan Scott. And DC's Stargirl creator Geoff Johns tells EW that it was always his plan to introduce Jade on the series, which is why that power battery has been chilling in Courtney's house all this time. "Since the beginning, I wanted to bring in Jennie-Lynn Hayden, who's one of my favorite characters from the comic books," Johns says. "She is the perfect foil for Courtney because she is literally everything Courtney thought she was in season 1 — she is the daughter of a huge superhero and she has this great power."
Throughout season 1, Courtney believed that since the Cosmic Staff chose her, it meant she was the biological daughter of Starman (Joel McHale), only to later find out her father is really Sam Kurtis (Geoff Stults), a regular old human (and absentee parent). So meeting the actual daughter of a superhero like Jade will feed into Courtney's identity crisis as she continues to carry on Starman's legacy as Stargirl, despite not being his daughter.
"Courtney sees Jennie as kind of the perfect hero, what Courtney thought she was, and it makes Courtney, as she says, feel less than," Johns says. "And she can't help it, it just happens. And it reveals that Courtney still struggles with her identity and her own self-confidence and self-image, despite having a hugely successful beginning of a career as Stargirl. She still struggles with the fact that her life isn't important, and the rejection of her father from last season we'll see still affects her in this season."
When it came time for Jade to debut in season 2, Johns says he was careful to do it the right way. "Last season we learned how to carefully introduce new characters, like if we introduce characters [we need] to really get to know them," he says. "So when we introduce Jennie, [we need] to really see her point of view. Or the Shade [Jonathan Cake], and to do our slow build to Eclipso [Nick Tarabay], our characters have to have presence."
It's a lesson that Johns kept front of mind when dealing with season 2's new big bad, Eclipso, a character from the comic books whom Johns is shocked has never been done in live action before. "As much as I love Eclipso and just want to see him show up, there's a way to bring him on stage and when it's the right time and how is the right time to do that," he says. "Those are all the things that worked in season 1, and we try to take them to the next level and do them differently."
The decision to make Eclipso the season 2 villain also inspired a shift down a darker path that may surprise fans, because Eclipso "is a being of immense power that preyed on the corrupt nature of humanity and the darkness within all of humanity," Johns says, which makes him yet another great foil for Courtney as a "beacon of light and hope."
"I really wanted to still make it feel like Stargirl but also not repeat what we did before and tonally take us down more of a horror angle this season," Johns continues. "Once Eclipso came to the forefront for season 2, it just felt like the kids were going up against something more akin to Freddy Krueger or Pennywise than the standard supervillain. And so the show just naturally leaned into it and was influenced by some of my favorite films growing up, like Lost Boys and Nightmare on Elm Street, It, Young Sherlock Holmes, which is I think a very underrated film. It also allows us to delve into our characters a little bit deeper, get into their insecurities and their regrets, their guilts, their flaws, their fears, and those all get exploited and unearthed by Eclipso."
Johns warns that his version of Eclipso is "real evil. He's this evil demonic force, this force of absolute darkness that feeds off humanity's darker side, like a parasite. He's hard to predict and he's definitely not to be trusted." And while he can't yet tease what Eclipso's goal is, his attacks will be "more and more personal and frightening" because "he isn't a typical supervillain, he's not human."
But while "tonally the season is not exactly like season 1," Johns promises the series "still has the same heart and the same warmth and the same universal compass that these characters love each other and want to help each other and that stays consistent."
Another way in DC's Stargirl feels different in season 2 is how not every week has some massive fight or villain takedown. "It's really more of a chapter-by-chapter story, so some episodes are going to be more dramatic, some are going to be more action-driven, but we like to surprise people so they never really know what the episode is going to look like until they watch it," Johns says. And that allows him to delve even deeper into the ensemble of teen superheroes' personal arcs this season, which he says is his favorite thing to explore in this genre.
"When I was writing the Teen Titans comic, I loved it because these heroes are still trying to figure it out," he says. "They can make mistakes, they can make choices, they're evolving and we watch them grow. And in season 2, you really see growth in these characters, you really see them go down paths — some are good, some are not — and change and evolve and become different kinds of people and heroes. That's my favorite thing about season 2, is that when all is said and done and you get to the last episode, 13, there's a real transformation and real growth and real change among our cast. It's exciting."
He laughs, then adds, "And the last episode is really crazy. We're just finishing up the VFX for it now. There's a lot of them."
DC's Stargirl airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the CW.