When it was first reported that Greg Berlanti - the producer behind The CW's (at the time) two DC Comics-based television series, Arrow and The Flash - was working on a new show following the adventures of Supergirl, there was some confusion about whether Kara Zor-El would join her fellow heroes in their TV universe. Supergirl, co-created by Berlanti and Ali Adler, ended up with a series commitment at CBS following reports that The CW had passed on the project.
Supergirl aired the first season of its show focused on Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) on CBS, debuting to record high ratings for the Fall 2015 season. But, while the season started off strong, the show's ratings declined steadily and, without confirmation of a renewal from CBS, it was unclear if Supergirl would continue defending National City for a second year.
However, after the success of a crossover with CW's The Flash - in which Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) traveled to Kara's National City by means of the multiverse in which both their worlds exist - many fans were hoping to see Supergirl share the TV screen more often with the Scarlet Speedster, the Green Arrow, and the time-traveling crew of the Waverider on Legends of Tomorrow. Then, after the conclusion of the Girl of Steel's first season, it was announced that Supergirl would be heading to The CW for season 2.
While the change in networks means Supergirl will be joining her fellow CW superheroes, it also indicates plenty of changes behind the scenes as well - some of which may be reflected when the show returns for its sophomore outing in October. So, considering what we know about the DC Comics series' shift in networks, here's how Supergirl season 2 may be affected by the CW move.
Prior to the official announcement that Supergirl would be heading to The CW, there were plenty of rumors and reports circulating that seemed to offer some insight into the reasoning behind CBS's lack of decision when it came to renewing or canceling the DC Comics series. According to one such report, CBS wanted to reduce the cost of the show, specifically the $3 million licensing fee the network paid per episode to air the series; another report that followed shortly after claimed the show would already be moving from Los Angeles to Vancouver where the CW superhero shows are produced.
Now, with Supergirl season 2 confirmed at The CW and the production of the show moved to Vancouver, that indicates certain changes behind the scenes. For instance, there may be a slightly different look and feel to National City itself, considering those scenes not shot on sets will be filmed in the Canadian city rather than the California hub of Hollywood. However, since Supergirl will be in such close proximity to its fellow CW DC shows, there will be more opportunity for crossovers (more on that later).
Additionally, CW series tend to have smaller budgets than shows on larger networks, like CBS. Although that doesn't necessarily mean Supergirl season 2 will look cheaper, the show may need to be more thrifty with Kara's heat vision or J'onn J'onzz' appearance as a whole. The Flash has certainly managed to portray Barry's speed, the Speed Force, and other aspects of his superheroism (as well as those he fights) in a manner that, for the most part, satisfies viewers. That said, eagle-eyed viewers may be able to pick up on a difference in the costly effects from season 1 to season 2.
However, the change resulting from Supergirl's move to Vancouver that may be most obvious to fans has to do with the cast - since they would have needed to head north along with the production. While it seems many of the stars have made the move to Vancouver, there was some confusion about whether one cast member in particular would leave Los Angeles.
Cat Grant's Uncertain Future
Ever since the rumors of Supergirl moving to The CW - and, as a result, Vancouver - began to circulate, speculation about whether Calista Flockhart would be willing to make the transition from her home in California to Canada, leaving the fate of her character, Kara's boss and mentor Cat Grant, uncertain.
So, when members of the press were able to speak to CW president Mark Pedowitz about the future of Supergirl, they asked specifically about Flockhart's involvement in the series going forward. At the time, Pedowitz was unable to confirm either way whether or not the actress would be continuing on as a star of the show since discussions were still ongoing, but he did say that Supergirl would be "happy to have her in whatever capacity is worked out.”
Currently, it's unknown how The CW's discussions with Flockhart were resolved and what capacity the actress will be involved in the second season. Certainly, fans would miss Cat Grant since she was a major part of mentoring both Kara and her alter-ego of Supergirl throughout the first season - and their dynamic was perhaps one of the best on the show. While the series could certainly continue on without Cat as a central character (for instance, if Flockhart becomes a series regular or guest star), it wouldn't be quite the same. Cat did name Supergirl, after all.
However, the recent casting of Ian Gomez as Snapper Carr, a new character who takes on the position of editor-in-chief of CatCo Magazine, may be an indication that Cat's role will be reduced in season 2. Although Kara's new job at CatCo after being promoted in the season 1 finale has yet to be revealed (Cat claimed it would be determined based on what Kara wanted to do), the casting announcement of Spencer Carr stating that he and his "no-holds barred approach" will push Kara in "unexpected ways" hints that he may be her new boss.
If Spencer is in fact Kara's new boss, she may be seeing less of Cat, which may offer a new co-working dynamic for Kara in season 2 of Supergirl - though that also may mean less meaningful discussions between Cat and Kara. However, a potential new boss isn't the only character Kara will need to contend with in season 2.
More DC Crossovers
Of course, the biggest change as a result of Supergirl's move from CBS to The CW is more cohesion with fellow DC Comics series Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow. In fact, Pedowitz seemed to confirm that Kara will be making an appearance during the network's annual crossover event that typically arrives in December, specifically saying this year's "[will] be the biggest one ever." While Supergirl may not be officially confirmed to appear in the mega-crossover, it seems incredibly likely considering the events tend to draw some of The CW's best ratings.
Additionally, it seems the star of the network's flagship superhero series, Arrow's Stephen Amell, is confident Supergirl will appear in the crossover event, speculating that it may take place over the course of four nights in one week. (The two previous crossovers were two-night events across Arrow and The Flash since Legends of Tomorrow hadn't premiered yet.)
Still, aside from the big crossover, Supergirl's production now being in Vancouver also opens the door to guest stars from the other DC Comics series. In the past, Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow have welcomed characters from their fellow shows for special episodes, and now Supergirl will be able to include smaller crossovers/guest roles more often than once a year. Director Kevin Smith, who helmed The Flash episode "The Runaway Dinosaur," recently had a suggestion for a smaller cameo of Barry running through National City in order to deliver some ice cream to Kara.
Plus, thanks to the deals that The CW has struck with John Barrowman (Arrow's Malcolm Merlyn) and Wentworth Miller (The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow's Leonard Snart a.k.a. Captain Cold) to become series regulars across all four shows, their characters have much more freedom to move between the DC Comics series. These deals may even be an indication that others could potentially be brokered, paving the way for plenty of characters having a much easier time of appearing in each series.
As of the end of season 1, Kara and the rest of Team Supergirl reside in an entirely different universe than her fellow CW heroes - though that may not be the case forever.
Speaking of universe-altering storylines, in the season 2 finale of The Flash, the show set into motion a story from the DC Comics titled Flashpoint - which has since been confirmed to be the inspiration of season 3 thanks to Gustin revealing the premiere title to be 'Flashpoint.' In the Flashpoint comic storyline, Barry Allen wakes up in an alternate universe where everything is different and he's aware that the timeline has been altered. But, what does The Flash adapting this particular storyline have to do with Supergirl season 2?
Well, at the end of Flashpoint when Barry is traveling back in time to realign the events and put his universe back in order, the speedster sees multiple timelines that are then merged to create a whole new universe - but one that looks exactly like the one he calls home. So, if The Flash is planning on following the Flashpoint storyline, it could potentially be used as a way to merge Supergirl's National City with the universe containing Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow.
However, it remains to be seen what impact - if any - The Flash's Flashpoint arc will have on Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, and/or Supergirl. Although the shows have come together in the past for the big annual crossovers (with the exception of Supergirl), they have largely operated by following their own respective storylines. Certainly, Amell's seeming confirmation of Flashpoint affecting Arrow, then his clarification that he actually has no idea whether The Flash's season 3 will have an impact on Star City, caused some confusion about the intertwining storylines.
One option, considering Amell did say that there will need to be some kind of explanation as to how Supergirl would show up, is to conclude the Flashpoint arc during the mega-crossover. Doing so would give fans a chance to see Flashpoint affect the other series in a sequence where Barry runs into the alternate universe versions of the other shows. But Flashpoint wouldn't need to affect each show entirely for their entire seasons. Plus, the event could be used to help usher Supergirl's National City into the same universe as her fellow superheroes.
Of course, with so many factors concerning the upcoming seasons of Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow, it remains to be seen if and how The CW chooses to bring the series together. But, Supergirl's new home at The CW may not only affect Kara and National City - it could also prove to impact the other DC Comics heroes.
One of the biggest changes to Supergirl between seasons 1 and 2 - though it may not necessarily be the result of the move to The CW - is the official addition of Kara's cousin Clark Kent a.k.a. Superman to the series, to be played by Tyler Hoechlin. In season 1, Superman was portrayed on screen as an indistinct, but still recognizable, figure in a cape, or through Kara's online messages with Clark. But in season 2, Superman will appear on screen, and will make his official debut in the premiere episode.
Adding Superman to the mix of well-known superheroes on Supergirl also means that character may be able to join in on The CW's crossover fun. Of course, that depends on how The CW explains the crossovers between shows going forward. If Supergirl's universe is merged with the universe inhabited by the other heroes, Superman would become a known superhero to that universe as well. Additionally, if that were the case, Supergirl's galactic element and known aliens would also become a part of the shared universe, expanding the world so that it more resembles the DC Comics' universe.
Certainly, between Superman, Supergirl, and all the heroes and vigilantes on the other CW series, the shows have the opportunity to create a massive superhero force. Plus, with the introduction of the Justice Society of America on Legends of Tomorrow, the writers are likely paving the way for a JSA that includes heroes from all four of the series. Although certain big-name heroes may be missing from the typical JSA lineup, the addition of Superman is a particularly big step toward anything Justice-related.
While Supergirl may not undergo any drastic changes due to the move from CBS to The CW, there will certainly be some notable alterations as a result of the network shift. Whether that includes the sets, the cast, and the amount of crossover with fellow network DC superheroes - and to what extent - remains to be seen.
Most importantly, Supergirl will almost certainly be welcomed into The CW's DC Comics universe not only in regards to its home network, but in terms of the show's setting as well, which may prove to be the best change for the show. Since Supergirl wasn't quite as successful as both fans and CBS were hoping, the shift in networks may be exactly what the series needs to offer compelling superhero television to the most interested audience. So, although there may be changes to come in Supergirl, it may ultimately serve to strengthen the Girl of Steel.
The Flash season 3 will premiere Tuesday October 4th at 8pm on The CW, Arrow season 5 will premiere in the same timeslot on Wednesday October 5th, Supergirl season 2 on Monday October 10th, and Legends of Tomorrow season 2 on Thursday October 13th.