MARCH 6, 2015 | 01:00PM PT
Elizabeth Wagmeister

“Supergirl” has finally arrived.

The first photos of Melissa Benoist as Supergirl were released Friday, just as production begins on the CBS pilot, which is based on characters from DC Comics.

The costume (pictured) was designed by three-time Oscar winner Colleen Atwood, who also designed the suits for two other DC Comics television properties, “The Flash” and “Arrow” of the CW.

Atwood, who’s been nominated for Academy Awards an additional eight times, was also the costume designer behind “Into the Woods,” “Snow White and the Huntsman,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Chicago,” among others.

“Supergirl,” in contention for the 2015-16 season, follows Kara Danvers/Kara Zor-El (Benoist, “Glee,” “Whiplash”), Superman’s cousin, at age 24, when she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be, after leaving Krypton and hiding her powers.

Other series regulars include Calista Flockhart (“Ally McBeal,” “Brothers & Sisters”), who will play Kara’s tough boss at CatCo, Cat Grant; Mehcad Brooks (“Desparate Housewives,” “True Blood”), who will co-star as Kara’s love interest, Jimmy Olsen; Chyler Leigh (“Grey’s Anatomy”), who’s been cast as Kara’s doctor sister, Alex Danvers; and David Harewood (“Homeland”), as supervillain Hank Henshaw, better known as Cyborg Superman in the DC Comics world.

Laura Benanti will appear in a major recurring arc, playing Kara’s birth mother, Alura Zor-El.

Helen Slater, who starred in the 1984 “Supergirl” feature, and Superman vet Dean Cain (“Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”) are set for secret roles.

The project hails from exec producers and writers Greg Berlanti (“The Flash,” “Arrow”), Ali Adler and Andrew Kreisberg. Sarah Schechter will also serve as an exec producer, and Glen Winter will direct the pilot. Berlanti Productions and Warner Bros. Television will produce.

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Don't give them ideas. We don't need to see her trying out all those costumes that turned up in Adventure Comics in the show.

Oh, I don't know. I for one would welcome the return of this dazzling outfit.

Mr. Silver Age said:

>>if they had named that fellow "Dick Malverne".
Great call, Commander! I don't know how well "Dick" would've worked these days, especially since it's old-fashioned. James was at least a reasonably popular name when he would've been born.

I resemble that remark. Is Richard no longer a popular name? I guess a lot of names are in use today that either didn't exist or hadn't been used much since the 19th century. Since using surnames as first names is popular, they could have named the character Malverne as a first name.

To be fair, he was accidentally turned into a giant turtle man by an alien device Lois accidentally turned on him while he was looking at a turtle.

Without looking up the dates of the two, was this inspired by the original movie The Fly? Mechanical sci-fi device affects man and animal at the same time, merging them.

>>I hope they give us a real reason why Kara was not using her powers until now.
It seems like she just wasn't sure of herself and didn't want the attention. Although she seems to know that Superman is her cousin, so why she wouldn't be using him as a model is baffling. Ideally, we'll get some kind of origin and explanation. I'm not usually big on origins, but this one needs some 'splaining.

My inclination is the Silver Age version. She's has been a secret weapon. Now she's old enough to participate in his Never Ending Battle.

>>Thankfully the nerdy awkward girl is revealed to have a great body just meant for skin-tight outfits!
Isn't that always the way? Those librarians with their hair up in a bun and big glasses are just waiting to be unleashed. Just ask Barbara Gordon.

It always bugs me when women in TV/movies/comics, just on a whim, take off their glasses and walk or run around. Nothing is ever said about contact lenses. Somehow no one notices how good looking they are until they take off their glasses. I also have trouble recognizing characters (and regular people) when the glasses are gone and the hair is changed (life-long problem).

Although, I will admit, the animated show (of course) did a good job of giving her an identity of her own without a cape, which I can see would be a good approach for a young woman not impressed by wearing a version of the Big Blue Boy Scout's suit. As usual, the animated show knew what it was doing.

I think the white T-shirt with super-symbol worked fine in the animated show. I think they used it on Smallville also when Kara showed up. They are hanging on to the Chris-Reeve-movie idea that the symbol is a family crest. Not crazy about that but it's ingrained in the mythos now.

I didn't mean that one! I believe that was the first time I ever saw Supergirl and annoyed that she didn't wear it in every appearance. Being six I didn't know why I liked it but I'd figure it out eventually.

On the other hand I found the Satan Girl outfit pretty dumb even then. No horns? No pitchfork? It wasn't even red!
Mr. Silver Age said:

Oh, I don't know. I for one would welcome the return of this dazzling outfit.

These I could do without.

It always bugs me when women in TV/movies/comics, just on a whim, take off their glasses and walk or run around.

They could be far-sighted and ruined their near-sightedness reading comics. I'm the opposite--I can read fine without glasses but a movie is a blur of colors.

I also have trouble recognizing characters (and regular people) when the glasses are gone and the hair is changed (life-long problem).

All of Earth-1 Metropolis has that problem, so you're in good company. I like seeing the actors on period shows like Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones, who look SO different in modern dress and hairstyles that I sometimes don't recognize who they are.

These I could do without.

There are very few in that ADVENTURE run that really look good. Is it possible that middle-aged male editors were picking the outfits with no other input? Results would indicate it was so. The red hot-pants version isn't too bad (and solves the problem of looking up a super-skirt when she's flying overhead) but her tinker-bell slippers don't work, even if boots and hot pants might not either.

I also disliked the low-cut blouse with the little emblem off on the shoulder that was used for a good long run. Pretty goofy to minimize the emblem so much (but not as goofy as her one-off Mer- Man costume--how did that even work?). I won't even bring up the headband.

The latest red-skirt version (which actually was her original outfit) is probably the best look, so they picked a good one. Maybe, I dunno, a female person was involved in that selection.

-- MSA

Like the new Jem and the Holograms movie that fans of the show have been complaining about. No super computer. No holograms. No Misfits. Just a singer hitting it big who gets talked by the music industry into making bad choices like dumping her friends to become a solo star. Greg Brady did that story over 40 years ago. Jem fans are calling it Josie and the Pussycats 2.

I think most of the Supergirl outfits above (and the headband) were take-offs of styles that were in favor in the 70s. Hopefully they were still in style when these comics were published but I wouldn't bet on it. I think they were intended to attract female readers.

Alexandra Kitty said:

Ron M. said:
"Note that there has never been a successful superheroine movie."

Note there hasn't ever been one written, produced, and directed by the gender who would be in the best position to know how to best portray one, either.

On the other hand, movies such as Lucy and Salt prove female action heroes can open and be big hits. The problem is, established companies have their bibles and formulas and won't take the right risks in the right way; so they make fatal errors as they go halfway then shrug their shoulders and think they made something to be construed as an effort.
Not even close.

My argument exactly. Catwoman and Elektra weren't failures because they had female leads -- they failed because they were bad movies. (Catwoman in particular was mind-bogglingly stupid from the get-go, because the screenwriters threw out decades of "focus group" testing by comics fans in finding what worked and didn't work for the character. Just go with the best-selling version, you know? But Hollywood decided it knew best, threw out decades of useful back story and storyboarding, and created a Catwoman from, um, scratch.)

Your reference to Lucy is one I've used before in arguing for a Black Widow movie. Looking at the Lucy numbers, Scarlett Johansson is clearly an A-lister who can "open" a movie, because she's already done so. And Black Widow is now so established that the opening weekend would be killer even if the movie was bad -- which, given Marvel's track record, it probably wouldn't be. And we'd be off to the races.

But you know why there won't be a Black Widow movie? Here's the reason, and hang on to your hat -- and your temper. This is a story from

Marvel's Perlmutter Down on Big Screen Female Superheroes
Posted by Tom Flinn on May 5, 2015 @ 7:18 pm CT

In spite of some recent high profile successes by female superheroes on the print side of the business, Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter does not appear to be bullish on movies starring female superheroes—and he has held that attitude at least as recently as August 7, 2014, when he sent an email to Sony Pictures’ Michael Lynton that was part of the infamous "Sony hack," and which has been posted online by Wikileaks.

Perlmutter ignored superhero film disasters with male leads (Green Lantern, Daredevil, Jonah Hex) as he cited three examples of cinematic bombs featuring distaff superheroes.


As we discussed on the phone, below are just a few examples.  There are more.


1.  Electra (Marvel) – Very bad idea and the end result was very, very bad.

2.  Catwoman (WB/DC) - Catwoman was one of the most important female character within the Batman franchise. This film was a disaster.

3.   Supergirl – (DC) Supergirl was one of the most important female super hero in Superman franchise. This Movie came out in 1984 and did $14 million total domestic with opening weekend of $5.5 million.  Again, another disaster.


The current Marvel movie slate as we know it (see "Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Inhumans Movies") does contain one film (Captain Marvel) that will feature a female superhero, so Perlmutter may not be either as powerful or as monolithically welded to his convictions as rumors suggest.  Females made up more than 41% of the opening weekend audience for Joss Whedon’s Avengers: The Age of Ultron (see "'Age of Ultron' Posts 2nd Best Opening of All Time"), and it is likely that the astute head of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige is well aware of the importance of attracting female moviegoers (see "The Missing Audience for Geek Films").

Can you believe it? Oh, wait -- yeah, I can believe it.

>>Females made up more than 41% of the opening weekend audience for Joss Whedon’s Avengers: The Age of Ultron

How do know THAT? When somebody bought tickets, were they punching in who he/she was standing with? Does Fandango ask for demographic data when you purchase online? Were they standing outside theaters with a clicker? I think that's good news, but I'm suspicious of these statistics that get used with no reference to source or collection method.

I realize that they often tell us what a movie's take will be for the weekend on Friday night and list the totals midway through Sunday, but that's extrapolation and estimates from a cell size (and often isn't very accurate). But demographics?

-- MSA

When you buy a movie ticket, it implants a chip in your hand that is scanned by a dedicated satellite. All the information is collated in a database that will be used to detect undesirables when they open the concentration camps. The only known method to block the signal is a tin-foil hat.

I wasn't able to determine the writing staff for the new show. It's coming from the same productions company as Arrow and Flash. Without looking at all the episodes on IMDB I see that Arrow has virtually all male writers, though I did find one (Wendy Mericle). There may be more.

From my perspective they seem to write the female characters well on Arrow. The Lucy and Salt films were both good. I don't know if it was the writing or if it was the strong personalities and industry "juice" of the leads. Both Scarlett Johansson and Angelina Jolie are able to push for some creative control. The actors set for the Supergirl series don't have that power. Hopefully the result will be good.

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