Supergirl at SDCC: Shared Experiences

The cast of Supergirl (Jesse Rath, Katie McGrath, Nicole Maines, Melissa Benoist, Andrea Brooks, Azie Tesfai and David Harewood) hugging an emotional Mehcad Brooks

Like last year, I was privileged enough to attend the Supergirl press room at SDCC this year. Unlike last year, I was also able to sneak into the panel later in the day to catch that news as well. Much like last year, the press room was a highly emotional event for me, this time because I’d be able to talk to the actress that allowed me to see myself as a superhero. The room was run much more efficiently this year than last, and our table did wind up speaking to all the cast and executive producers this time around.

This post will have some spoilers for season four, so if you’re not caught up, you may want to wait.

Ironically, the first pair of cast members we got this year, were the same two we talked to last year: Jesse Rath and David Harewood. This year to make things go quicker, they had the talent paired up, so we got them both at once. We learned from Harewood that this season is going to continue to see the Martian Manhunter come to grips with not being the last green Martian, stemming from finding his father in previous seasons and his brother in the upcoming season. Harewood also learned a lot from directing an episode last year, and is excited to get back in that chair this year.

As to what to expect from Brainiac 5, Jesse Rath told us that the beginning of the season has him figuring out his relationship with Nia and how to have a relationship while being 100% on at all times. He also told us that he would love to have more scenes with Chyler, as the two of them had an amazing relationship at the beginning of the season.

The next pair that we got at our table were Nicole Maines and Mehcad Brooks. After the moment I had shared with Mehcad last year, this felt serendipitous that he would be at the table for this. Nicole was asked about her experiences in her first season, and she said the most unexpected thing to come out of it was the amazing friendships she made. Then I got to tell her what she and the character of Dreamer meant to me, and how, despite being a lifelong comic fan, this is the first time I’ve been able to see myself as a superhero. As I choked up asking her how it feels to be an icon for so many, Mehcad  reached across the table and grabbed my hand. Her answer is something that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

“Thank you for, first of all, saying that. It feels really weird. And it’s, I think, you know, a lot of times folks are talking to me, you know about how happy they are to have the first trans superhero, and I feel like what I always want to say to people is like, I’m in the same boat as you guys. Like, this is the first transgender hero for me too. And I never thought that I was going to see someone like us as a superhero. And so being able to see that is so exciting and then being able to put on the suit, to be that superhero is something so completely surreal and unexpected, and it has so far been one of the greatest things I’ve gotten to do in my life.”

Mehcad was asked about his upcoming mid-season departure from the show, and talked to us about what the show has meant to him for the last five years. He said one of the most positive things to come out of his time on the show was that he’s helped others deal with real life racism and bullying. When asked if we might see Turtle Boy before he leaves, he said he didn’t think so, but he’d be willing to do it.

Next we got the Luthor and Tessmacher duo, Katie McGrath and Andrea Brooks. The first thing we talked about was Miss Tessmacher’s brilliant heel turn this season, and how hard that was for Andrea because she likes Katie so much. She really didn’t want to put a gun in Katie’s face. Where we left Eve last season, she’s still an enigma that will need further revealing in the upcoming season.

Katie talked about how much of her character arc in the beginning of the season is based on what happens to someone when everything they believed has been stripped away. Lena’s hurt, and her answer to that hurt is going to be to try to just fix humanity as a whole, because “Luthors don’t have small plans.” Katie also told us that even her own mother can’t get spoilers out of her, so don’t expect her to break for us.

After Katie and Andrea, we got Chyler Leigh and Azie Tesfai, the Olsen and Danvers pairing nobody expected 4 years ago. Chyler told us that we’re going to see Alex still trying to put everything back together both personally and professionally after the events of last season. Luckily, she has Kelly to try to help her rebuild, and we’re going to see that relationship develop further. Chyler also talked to us about how the show has a “one new cast member to director a year” policy, so with last year being David Harewood’s shot at it, and this year being Melissa Benoist’s, she’s excited because in season six, she gets to direct an episode.

The last cast member we got was Supergirl herself, Melissa Benoist, who was paired with executive producer Sarah Schechter. When asked about Supergirl’s motto (She stands for hope, help, and compassion for all), Melissa said that getting that motto out into the world is one of the most important aspects of the show. She also believes that the show is at its strongest when it leans into real world issues, as those are so ingrained in who Superman and Supergirl are. She’s also very excited to direct an episode this year, and said that the music videos she makes on set probably helped her audition for the job.

Sarah talked a bit about how hard it is to film the crossovers, because you have to film five episodes at the same time, while also making sure to get your own episodes filmed. It’s doubly hard this year, with the event being so massive.

Last, we got the other two executive producers, Robert Rovner and Jessica Queller. This is the second season of the show under their full control, and the plan for this season is to examine society’s reliance on technology. They told us that they’re introducing two new characters into the CatCo side of things. I also thanked Rovner and Queller for the representation they brought to the trans community with Nia, and Queller said it means a lot to hear that.

Supergirl in a pantsed costume walking through destruction
Supergirl’s new costume, complete with pants!

At the panel, later that afternoon, we were greeted with a surprise moderator: Mr. Lex Luthor himself, Jon Cryer. In addition to being the moderator, it was announced that Cryer is returning as Lex next season, apparently right after Mehcad Brooks’ last episode. He talked to Mehcad about leaving the show, and the rest of the cast gave Mehcad a group hug when he started to cry. Cryer also asked Nicole how it feels to be a superhero, and it was my turn to cry as she referenced our conversation from earlier in the day. The crowd went wild over Supergirl’s new costume, and we saw some of Lena’s upcoming journey in the teaser trailer.

My Supergirl experience has gotten better each year, and I look forward to whatever 2020 may hold.

Cori McCreery

Cori McCreery

Cori is a life long comic nerd residing in Northern California. A life long Supergirl and DC Comics fan, she is the DC Comics Beat Reporter for Women Write About Comics.

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