Hold your horses, Man of Steel fans; while we still aren't clear exactly how much of the comic book origin story of Superman and the doomed planet of Krypton is being adapted by director Zack Snyder, it seems at least one pivotal character in the mythology is in play. Whether for this film, or any potential sequel.
As revealed in the official Man of Steel tie-in comic, providing back-story about Krypton and the House of El prior to Krypton's end, Kara Zor-El is featured as a prominent character along with her parents. In the comics, Kara is one of Krypton's few survivors and also Superman's cousin - known to the world as Supergirl.
While we would warn that this is anything but a confirmation that Supergirl will be featured, alluded to, or given a brief cameo in Man of Steel, it does open the door for the future. At this point, the pages of the preview comic that have surfaced online imply that Kara Zor-El will be involved in the events that lead to Zod's forces escaping punishment. How she fits in isn't clear, but we'll let you be the judge:
[Images removed at the request of DC Entertainment]
The comic is written by David S. Goyer, so while there may be no public claims that the comic is canon for the film series, both stories are coming from the same man. That being said, Kara's fate at the end of the comic isn't known. And anyone familiar with the comics knows that it could be a while before Kara arrives on Earth, if Snyder is even interested in telling that story. So far, the core elements of the fiction seem faithful enough (even if we only have four pages to go on) - Kara's parents Zor-El and Allura are present, she is nearing adulthood, although the nature of her "assignment" will likely require the rest of the comic to grasp.
Whatever the case, she seems to be left out of whatever plot surrounds the rest of her ship's crew, which looks to be related to the deeds of Dev-Em - one of General Zod's henchmen. Since we doubt that anyone but General Zod (Michael Shannon) and his right-hand woman Faora (Antje Traue) will get much exposition on the 'villain' side of things, Dev-Em's presence in the comic leads us to believe this comic will be a true 'prequel' tie-in. And if that's the case, Kara's presence is almost certainly planting seeds for a story years down the line.
It's true that Warner Bros. expects Man of Steel to introduce a shared universe for DC's heroes, but which ones will be making the cut is completely undecided to this point. Batman may get a brief mention, and easter eggs have been planted for other heroes, but Supergirl is a much trickier endeavor. Possessing all of Superman's many powers, the actual strength and flight of Kara Zor-El isn't the hardest aspect of her character to sell.
How Kara's story plays out will be the issue, and depends largely on which comics Snyder may choose to follow. Kara's arrival on Earth my have her land smack in the middle of Gotham Harbor (the story told in DC Animation's Superman/Batman: Apocalypse); it may also see her ship crash in the wastes of Siberia (the new origin for DC's New 52). Either way, Kara Zor-El's introduction and first character arc hinges largely on Darkseid, the Bottle-City of Kandor, Brainiac, or a revelation that not all of Krypton has been destroyed.
In other words: if Snyder and Goyer do indeed have a plan for Kara, having her appear will either be the extent of the comic book source material, or they have got a LOT of work to do in making a story audiences will still believe could take place in our world. We're not saying they can't, just recommending that those interested try to enjoy as much of the comic's take on Kara as possible; it may be all we get for a while.
What do you think would be the best path to adding Supergirl to DC's movie universe? Would you be alright with rewriting Kara's story to embody themes of family for Kal-El, or should they stick to the comics? Sound off in the comments.
Man of Steel will be in theaters on June 14th, 2013.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.