The producers of ‘Supergirl’ knew they had to include her famous cousin Superman in some capacity on the first season, but they didn’t want to steal focus from their fledgling star, so Kal-El’s appearances were relegated to brief obscured glimpses and a dream sequence featuring a teenage version.
But now that Melissa Benoist’s Kara has established herself as a capable lead, they felt comfortable bringing the Man of Steel on for a larger role. Tyler Hoechlin embodied the hero on the first and second episodes of the second season (‘The Adventures of Supergirl’, “Last Children Of Krypton”) and his performance seems to have clicked for most viewers.
Superman has been depicted in live action numerous times, but exec producer Andrew Kreisberg explained that they wanted something different for ‘Supergirl’:
“The Superman that we designed was something that you really haven’t seen too much of. Usually, when you see Superman, whether it’s the Christopher Reeve movies, Man of Steel or Lois & Clark, he’s just starting out. We wanted to show a Superman who’s been doing this for a decade and has gotten really, really good at it.
“Usually, when somebody comes in, they have a massive character arc, and that wasn’t entirely the case here. He was coming in as a supporting character for Kara, and to be a friend, a cousin and a mentor. She’s always compared herself to him, but comes to realize, ‘I’ve got it all going on, too.’
“We simultaneously wanted to have a Superman that was relatable and fun and everything that you remember about Superman from your childhood while also demystifying him, a little bit.”
Hoechlin took a similar stance:
“The role of [Superman] coming into this, for me, from the very beginning, was to support her, which lends itself to being a supporting character. There was never an intention for this to be about him. It’s always about her. It’s called ‘Supergirl’, and Melissa has done such a great job. For him, it’s always about building her up and being there to impart wisdom when he can and support her when he can, but in no way try to make her feel like she’s not capable of doing anything that he could do.”
True, it IS called ‘Supergirl’. But what if there was a show called ‘Superman’? After all, there’s still one weekday night that The CW doesn’t have a DC Comics show airing on it. (Granted, it’s Friday the crappiest night for ratings.) Hoechlin’s Superman was charming and charismatic. Could he star in his own show?
Kreisberg says it’s not an impossibility, but don’t expect one anytime soon.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that there’s never going to be a world in which there is a Superman TV show and that Tyler’s going to star in it. I don’t know what the future holds. But right now, that’s not our focus. Right now, we’re working on Supergirl, which is the flagship, and working on a way for Tyler to reprise the role is really what our focus is on Supergirl right now.”
What did you think? Were you impressed by this take on Superman? Would you like to see him starring in his own series? Or do you think he should be limited to occasional guest appearances.