Benanti had been a crucial element of Supergirl's early storylines, working double duty as both Alura, Kara's deceased mother that she would seek advice from via an interactive hologram, and as Astra, Kara's aunt who survived Krypton's destruction and served as the first season's chief antagonist.
But Benanti has been forced to move on. Per a report from Variety, the popular Broadway performer's obligations in New York meant she simply couldn't make time to work on Supergirl in Vancouver. Supergirl executive producer Andrew Kreisberg voiced his gratitude toward Benanti for her time on the show, as well as his excitement for Durance's impending re-entry into the televised adventures of DC Comics.
“Unfortunately Laura, who Greg [Berlanti] and I have worked with for years going back to ‘Eli Stone,’ was unable to continue in the role due to work commitments in New York...But we are so blessed that Erica has come aboard to offer her own interpretation of Kara’s mother. We had tremendous success with a former Lois Lane last season with Teri Hatcher. We know Erica will continue the proud tradition of legacy actors joining our shows and creating new and exciting takes on classic DC characters.”
Benanti offered her own statement about departing Supergirl on Twitter:
I loved working on this show and will miss it so much! Right now it's time for me to be supermom to my own little one in NYC. ?? https://t.co/RRC2kJm4Xt
— Laura Benanti (@LauraBenanti) July 8, 2017
While recasting such a prominent role is never ideal, and Benanti performed admirably as both Kara's beloved mother and her contentious aunt, Durance's return to the world of Superman is a nice compromise.
Introduced in the fourth season of the WB's Superman prequel teen drama that originally chronicled a high school aged Clark Kent, Durance was a breath of fresh air when she joined Smallville in 2004. While that show took some curious liberties with certain aspects of Superman's mythos, Durance's Lois Lane seemed ripped right off the page; beautiful, whip smart, and head strong, she was often one of the few bright spots in Smallville's later seasons when the show awkwardly attempted to transition from its teen drama roots to something closer to the modern superhero shows of today's television landscape.
Supergirl also recently announced the casting of Odette Annable as Reign, who will serve as the third season's primary villain. Luckily for Kara, she'll still be able to count on her mother's wisdom as she takes on that new threat, even if it's coming out of a different, but familiar, face.
Supergirl season 3 premieres Monday, Oct. 9 at 8pm on The CW.