It may reveal just how fickle comic book fans can be, but the fact remains: these days, a single superhero TV show just isn't enough. Fans want crossovers, and now that The Flash and Arrow have used one to great success you can bet the networks want them every bit as much. That means that before she even hits the air, fans everywhere are already trying to set Supergirl up with her CW colleagues.
With executive producer Greg Berlanti overseeing both CW shows and Supergirl for CBS, the talk of potential planned crossovers began immediately. Since CBS and Time Warner both having a stake in the The CW, the chances of seeing Kara Zor-El take a trip to Starling or Central City seems like more than just a pipe dream. But first, Supergirl needs to find its leading lady.
At the winter Television Critics Association event, the assembled press continued to press the network's executives on what crossover plans, if any, are being put into place. Proving that DC is nowhere near as secretive as its Marvel counterparts, the network has confirmed that Arrow/Flash crossovers are now an annual event, and an Atom spinoff is being discussed - but what about Supergirl?
When asked by IGN about the current state of casting the female fury, Berlanti explained that the secrecy should be lifted soon - and that fans shouldn't expect a grounded Arrow take over The Flash's fantasy:
"As with all these things, there’s only one person, right? That’s the thing. I can’t imagine someone other than a lot of our actors playing these roles so I feel like you’re always just looking for who’s that person... I hope you’re going to hear about casting soon or we’re not going to be able to make the pilot!
"I would say, tonally closer to Flash than Arrow. That’s probably the best way to say it."
Berlanti's description might seem a bit obvious, given the wealth of metahumans on The Flash as opposed to the darker Arrow. That's also a major reason why adding Supergirl to CW's shared universe has seemed such a risk to this point: overlapping the powers of Barry Allen and Kara Zor-El is feasible, but how could Oliver Queen's quiver measure up to a Superman-level powerhouse?
But his comparison to The Flash seems to be based on more than just a metahuman presence. As the Arrow/Flash crossover showed, producers Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns managed to add a lighter, more romanticized dimension to their DC Comics universe with little trouble. According to Berlanti, CBS' version of Kara will be following a similar path:
"The nature of the character is a bit [more romantic], and who we have in her life and who we’re surrounding her with. Also, tonally, I thought of those kind of characters as [strongly] DC Universe and I’m sure Geoff [Johns] would agree. And they both died in Crisis of Infinite Earths! So they’re similar."
Thankfully, the characters Kara will be surrounded with aren't as much of a mystery as the lead actress. The move to include famous "Superman" characters implied that Berlanti and producing partner Ali Adler were looking to adapt much of the Superman story, but placing Kara at its center. These new comments might imply a romance between Kara and Jimmy Olsen is in the cards, but that will depend on the audience CBS is hoping to court.
Of course, the question of crossovers must be asked at every opportunity. Without confirming or denying a plan in place, Berlanti promises that he would love to see the crossover happen as much as anyone:
"So much has to go right for us to be able to make a great show. Again, I think of myself as like, if I were watching them, I would want to see that. But we have to get so many things right to make a good show and so much of it is luck, unfortunately."
It would be wise for all to take Berlanti's warning to heart: if a Supergirl crossover is going to be worthwhile for The CW, it needs to stand firmly on its own network first. While thrilling for fans to imagine what could lie months, or even years down the line, those actually tasked with building a Supergirl show that's built to last, patience is a virtue. And a bit of luck, apparently.
Supergirl is expected to air on CBS in 2015.