Rumors arose last week from high profile Hollywood rumor mills such as the Hollywood Reporter, Deadline and E! Online that development on a new TV show featuring what may be DC Comics’ third most well heroine was in development. Earlier this afternoon, Comic Book Resources posted an exclusive interview with Greg Berlanti, the producer/writer of hit DC Entertainment TV shows “Arrow” and (the upcoming) “The Flash”. In it, Berlanti confirms the rumor that had been circulating online for almost a week; Supergirl has a serious chance to star in her own TV show.
In terms of the status of a Supergirl show, Berlanti stated that it was very early days. “We’re just starting to work on it. We haven’t gone to the networks yet, so. I’ll be happy, very excited to talk about it once we know where its home will be and that kind of stuff,” he said. Currently, Berlanti’s shows have found a home on “The CW” (alongside “iZombie”, another DC related show), but Fox has proven to be quite receptive to DC Comics related shows. “Gotham” is set to debut on their network and “Human Target” aired for two seasons from 2010-2011. A more distant option is NBC, which is set to air “Constantine” (a TV version of “Hellblazer”) this season and could seek to compete against ABC’s upcoming “Agents of SHIELD” and “Agent Carter”.
Although DC Comics had experimented with characters such as “Superwoman” (Lois Lane with brief superpowers) or two versions of a “Super-Girl” which were one off characters in various Superman titles as early as 1943, it wasn’t until 1959 that the version most are familiar with arose. This would be Kara Zor-El, cousin to Kal-El and fellow survivor of Krypton who was created by Otto Binder (co-creator of Mary Marvel) and artist Al Plastino in “Action Comics #252”. She proved so popular that she wound up joining the “Legion of Super-Heroes” as well as co-starring in “Action Comics” as well as taking over the lead spot in “Adventure Comics” throughout the 1960’s. She gained her own title, “Supergirl”, in 1972 and has retained her own series off and on as a part of DC Comics’ annual list of ongoing series until the current date (despite some periods of rest). Supergirl was featured in her own film in 1984 which starred Helen Slater, which was a colossal bomb and remains the only film adaptation of a comic book heroine who was not an anti-heroine. She would go on to become a late supporting character in the 90’s “Superman: the Animated Series” as well as the last three seasons of “Smallvile” (as played by Laura Vandervoort). It is worth noting that an intention to pitch a pilot to a network does not mean a show is a done deal; the difficulty of returning Wonder Woman to the small screen (either in a David E. Kelly show for NBC or an “Amazon” show for The CW) should be proof of this.
Meanwhile, Latino Review (which is usually 50/50 in terms of rumor accuracy) is reporting that once again DC Entertainment seeks to lead from behind in terms of their superhero films. After watching “Guardians of the Galaxy” become the highest grossing film of 2014, DC Comics seeks to get their own space superhero franchise onto the big screen. This would be the “Legion of Super-Heroes”, one of the company’s oldest superhero team franchises which, like Supergirl, was also officially created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino in the late 1950’s (“Adventure Comics #247”, 1958 to be exact). The premise was that in the 31st century, the heroic example of Superman/Superboy in their past inspired forward thinking teenage superheroes of their era to form their own intergalactic team. Initial members were Cosmic Boy, Lightening Lad and Saturn Girl but the roster would soon expand to well over a hundred short and long term members. As a matter of fact, the only superhero team which pre-dates the Legion at either Marvel or DC Comics were the “Justice Society of America” from the 1940’s. After appearing in several “Adventure Comics” stories, the Legion shared the main “Superboy” comic by 1973 and eventually dropped him from their title entirely in a relaunch in 1984. Since then, the Legion of Super-Heroes (or LOSH) have been rebooted and relaunched to fit the current DC Universe many times, and have always earned the sort of rabid fan-base as adventure dramas featuring teenagers always tend to. Although nothing concrete has been announced, Warner Brothers have many free slots for upcoming films from 2016 to 2020, and have supposedly been offering LOSH comics to various film directors and producers hoping to spark interest.
This seems to fit with the very long term film strategy of DC Comics. With the exceptions of “Constantine”, “Swamp Thing”, and “Jonah Hex”, all films based on DC universe characters have either been Batman or Superman films, or spin off’s of either. The LOSH is no exception; the franchise began as attached to Superboy and their previous shot at the big time – a cartoon series which aired in the waning days of the Kid’s WB network from 2006 to 2008 – featured Superman so heavily that his logo was part of their show’s logo. High profile writers such as Grant Morrison and current chief creative officer Geoff Johns have been sure to link Superman to the LOSH after years of inactivity, so it does make a degree of sense to seek to include the Legion as an entire DC film universe seems to be springing from last summer’s “Man of Steel”. The biggest hurdle is for most of their history, the LOSH were neither grim or gritty, and that seems to be DC Entertainment’s stock in trade – call it “Infinite Midlife Crisis”. Could DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers produce a superhero film which has color, optimism, or won’t make confused children cry in the audience? Stay tuned!