Superhero-centric streaming service DC Universe is adding another costumed crime fighter to its growing community by casting former Community star Joel McHale as Starman, in the upcoming Stargirl series. The upcoming live-action series will join the already airing Titans, in addition to the currently-in-production Swamp Thing, as the initial batch of original live-action content to land on the service.
McHale is the third actor to join the series, as it was announced in September that Brec Bassinger (The Goldbergs, 47 Meters Down: Uncaged) had landed the title role of Stargirl/Courtney Whitmore. Then, in early November, Anjelika Washington (Young Sheldon) joined the series in a “mystery role.” Given that both Bassinger and Washington are relative newcomers, the casting of McHale affords the series some star power (no pun intended), as he’s appeared in numerous films such as Spider-Man 2, Deliver Us From Evil, as well as this year’s Assassination Nation and The Happytime Murders. Of course, McHale is probably best known for his television roles on NBC’s Community as well as E!’s long-running The Soup, and the recently canceled Netflix series, The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale.
As reported by Variety, McHale will play Sylvester Pemberton, a member of the Justice Society of America, wielder of the Cosmic Staff, and wearer of one of the goofiest costumes in all of comic book-dom. Sylvester is also the mentor to sidekick Stripesy, who happens to be the stepfather of none other than Stargirl herself, Courtney Whitmore.
McHale’s casting raises some interesting questions about Stargirl and, specifically, its tone. Given that much of the series’ cast (so far) is younger-skewing, with an early casting breakdown mentioning Stargirl’s role in inspiring other young heroes, and that it just added an actor known primarily for his comedic roles, it’s beginning to sound as though the show may well offer an alternative to the gritty violence of DC Universe’s Titans. Such a move would certainly help broaden the appeal of the fledgling streaming service and demonstrate its capacity for attracting different audiences.
Time will tell what sort of approach Stargirl will take, and just how connected it will be to the aforementioned Titans and Swamp Thing. So far, the first three live-action series announced for WarnerMedia’s niche superhero service make for an interesting assortment of B and C-list characters. The real question now is whether or not they’ll inspire more subscribers to sign up.
Stargirl is expected on DC Universe sometime in 2019.