Supergirl: How Kevin Smith Helped Actors Prepare for the Sanvers Shakeup

Relationships are hard, even fictional ones, as fans of Supergirl recently discovered when fan-favorite couple Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer – i.e., Sanvers – decided to end their romance on the most recent episode of the series, adding to the season 3 theme of heartache in the wake of Kara and Mon-El’s very different, but no-less emotional, separation. The end of Sanvers came with the fifth episode of the season, ‘Damage’, directed by Kevin Smith, whom Chyler Leigh (the Danvers half of the couple) says played a key role in preparing the actors for the emotionally trying work of bringing an important relationship to an end.

The breakup had been teased well in advance, which, coupled with the news of the changes to Floriana Lima’s availabiltiy, made the end of Sanvers a less of an immediate shock. But even for the actors involved, the news was hard to take, as Leigh mentioned during a recent Supergirl set visit attended by Screen Rant, saying, “honestly in a lot of ways it felt like a genuine breakup.”

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In an effort to make to keep the scenes between Leigh and Lima as emotionally effective as possible – without completely draining the two actors – Smith kept the two separate from the rest of the cast during the initial table reads of the script. He also worked it so all their scenes were shot the same day, in order to maintain a certain consistency and make it easier on both actors. Leigh described the process of bringing Sanvers to an end:

“[The] episode was heavy. The great thing was Kevin Smith kind of approached [Floriana] and I initially when we had the table read. We actually separated all of our stuff from the rest of the table read, so we didn’t sit in that one. Kevin [wanted to make sure] we do this really well. So he took Flo and I aside and we did the table read just with us and Andrew Kreisberg… and so it was like — we wanted to make sure that the words were right but that the intention was right and the heart behind it was right. Either way, any way you roll the dice [that] is not going to be easy and it’s something that everybody felt. Not only that, but Kevin also said he thought it would be great — and I totally agree — to do all the scenes in one day. So, it was a hell of day. It really was.”

Although Sanvers is no more, Leigh remains optimistic that, in this world, nothing is every truly dead and that perhaps one day Lima could bring Maggie Sawyer back to National City.

“I really feel like, we can only do our best with what we’re handed, and that goes with anything in life, and in this case, because it was so deep, and so heartfelt, the day was tough. But it’s not like an absolute closure, because no one ever knows exactly what’s going to happen and as of now what we know is that we’ve got these five amazing episodes and based on availability — I know that just sounds like words — but really it does come down to that. If [Floriana] can come back, I know we would all love to have that happen, so if she’s available that would be fantastic. I don’t know what that would look like; I don’t know how incorporate — that’s not my job; my job is to do the best with what’s handed to me. And I really feel like that was the best way to approach it was to have it all done in one heavy day. I will not lie, I had a lot of wine by the end of the day, and I had a driver pick me up and take me home, so it was a long one, but I think it was all worth it.”

So far, it’s been a season of heartache on Supergirl, which makes next week’s trip back home in ‘Midvale’ a chance for the Danvers sisters to try and put their relationship troubles (alien invasion-induced and otherwise) behind them. For fans, it means having to deal with the end of a relationship (unless you’re really a fan of Mon-El) many were emotionally invested in, which means moving on might be more difficult for those watching than for the actors who had to do the breaking up. With any luck, things will improve for the Danvers women on a personal level as the season progresses.

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Supergirl continues next Monday with ‘Midvale’ @8pm on The CW.