How hard was it for the CW's Supergirl showrunners to convince Warner Bros. to let them use Superman to kick off its second season on a new network? Not as hard as you think. Showrunner Andrew Kreisberg said that the small screen Man of Steel (played by Tyler Hoechlin) was an easy sell.
“I think people would love to hear that we had to promise our children and there was a blood right, and a goat was sacrificed, but the truth is we're all partners, and we all want what's best and so it really wasn't a tough sell. We had our plan, and we presented it to Warner Bros. and to DC and they were totally supportive of it," Kreisberg told IGN. "It was more once they actually said yes, it was like, ‘Oh crap, now we have to do Superman!’ We have to find the right actor, and we have to write the best scripts. We have to make the suit. That was the stuff that gave us [headaches]. Actually pulling it off."
While the live-action DC television shows and the DC films aren't interconnected like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Warner Bros. has generally avoided any major character overlap between TV and movies - leading some fans to believe than a full-scale Superman appearance in the small-screen would be impossible. But according to Kreisberg, that's not the case.
"But behind the scenes, everybody at Warner Bros. and DC and the CW, we're all growing in the same direction.”
Kreisberg went on to say that this Superman arc was planned well before the show jumped from CBS to the CW, but was held back to the second season to allow Melissa Benoist's character to get her footing.
“I think we've spent a year establishing her, and the year ended triumphantly with her saving the world, so there wasn't any sort of doubt that Supergirl couldn't do it on her own," Kreisberg continued. "It felt like you weren't bringing him in to save the day. It was bringing him in the same way that the crossovers with Flash and the Arrow... it becomes about a partnership. It becomes about deepening the characters’ relationships, not 'Well, Arrow couldn't do it alone!' or 'Flash couldn't do it alone!' So that's why it felt right."
Kreisberg said that this arc will dive headlong into the idea that Superman is a more known name than Supergirl, both for viewers and for people inside the continuity of the show.
“When Supergirl and Superman walk into the room, everyone gets really quiet about him. And her reaction is, 'Oh, please…' We sort of liken it to if your brother was a famous rock star, or a famous movie star, all you remember is a lifetime of growing up and fighting over who's sitting in the backseat, and sharing a bathroom, and he pulled my hair. And then you go to a restaurant, and people are sending him drinks, like, ‘Oh, right this way...’ and that's sort of Kara's interaction," said the showrunner. "People have asked us how do you make sure that Superman doesn't overwhelm the lead of your show? Rather than shy away from that, we're embracing it. It's kind of the idea like, yeah, he is more popular than she is. How does she deal with that? That's our take on that dynamic that’s between them.”
Currently, Hoechlin is scheduled to appear in just the first two episodes of Supergirl's second season, but Kreisberg said that there's the possibility for more.
"That's going to be up to Warner Bros., DC, and the audience, quite frankly. He so much a part of [this world], but the show is called Supergirl. It's about her," Kreisberg said. "If it turns out as well as we hope, and the audience responds, then we'll see what happens down the road.”
Supergirl returns for its second season beginning October 10 on the CW.