Naomi reveals DC superhero's geeky passion and winged mentor in new photos
It took nine years for Smallville's Clark Kent to receive anything remotely resembling a superhero costume because of the WB/CW drama's "no tights, no flights" policy. Fast forward a few years, and The CW was broadcasting an entire shared universe of superhero shows, including Arrow and The Flash, that threw their valiant protagonists into colorful leather outfits by the end of their pilots. But, as always, the pendulum eventually swings, as is the case with the network's newest offering, Naomi, a coming-of-age tale about a young woman destined to become a great hero — just maybe not a supersuited one... at least not yet.
"We're telling these grounded high school stories in the midst of this epic cosmic struggle," showrunner Jill Blankenship (Arrow), who executive produces alongside Ava DuVernay and counts Buffy: The Vampire Slayer as one of the show's touchstones, tells EW. "We're balancing equally these two parts of Naomi's life."
Based on the DC character created in 2019 by Brian Michael Bendis, David F. Walker, and Jamal Campbell, the series follows Naomi (Kaci Walfall), a cool, down-to-earth teenager who runs a popular fan site about Superman. "Naomi will be relatable to a lot of people," says Walfall, 17. "The big question of the show is, Who am I? And that's a question, especially crucially as a teenager, I asked myself."
Soon after we meet Naomi, her life is changed forever when a mysterious incident involving the Man of Steel rocks her small Pacific Northwest hometown. In the fallout, Naomi makes a shocking discovery that she has special abilities and may not be from Earth. Even though she'll have adventures with her friends — including bestie Annabelle (Mary-Charles Jones), comic book store clerk Lourdes (Camila Moreno), and ex-boyfriend Nathan (Daniel Puig) — don't expect her to immediately start fighting crime in the premiere. Naomi is interested in charting every step of her origin story.
"It's about Naomi's journey to fully become herself. She's not going to become the person she will eventually become right away. We'll get to be with her in these moments of struggle and triumph, and victory as she learns how to be a hero," says Blankenship. "She starts to realize that this affection and affinity she has for Superman is actually rooted in something much deeper than she thought. We get to watch as she discovers in real time [that] Superman [is] really part of her story and she's part of his."
Naomi's search for answers leads her to Dee (Alexander Wraith), a tattoo parlor owner who, as she learns, is actually a winged alien from the planet Thanagar. (In the pages of DC Comics, the superheroes Hawkman and Hawkgirl hail from Thanagar.)
"He's kind of like her Mr. Miyagi," says Walfall. "He really believes in her more than she can believe in herself. Although he doesn't have all the answers, he teaches her more and more about how to control herself."
But Dee is just one of the many other-worldly beings Naomi will encounter. "We are going deep. I'm confident DC fans will pleasantly surprised with our cosmic cameos," teases Blankenship. "Over the season, Naomi's world expands in such a huge way."
Up, up, and away she goes.
Naomi also stars Barry Watson, Mouzam Makkar, Cranston Johnson, Aidan Gemme, and Will Meyers. It premieres Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 9 p.m. on The CW.
A version of this story appears in Entertainment Weekly's January issue, on newsstands Dec. 17 and available to order here. Don't forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.
A comic-loving teenager sets off on a journey that will take her to the heights of the DC Comics multiverse.
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