Following a list of successful DC Entertainment TV shows, including Arrow, The Flash, and Gotham, it came as little surprise to hear that CBS was interested in developing their own superhero series. However, given that CBS has built their mega-successful network on sitcoms and police procedurals, fans were taken slightly aback when the network revealed their intention to center their DC series on Supergirl Kara Danvers (a.k.a. Kara Zor-El of Krypton) - a character that, given her Superman-like powers, would necessitate some costly visual effects work. Yet, as our own Andrew Dyce has argued on multiple occasions (including a recent Screen Rant Underground podcast episode), the network could take liberties with the character - adjusting her super powers to work within a weekly (super-powered) case of the week series.
Still, recent rumors have suggested that Superman could be a known entity, or at the very least exist, in the Supergirl TV universe - meaning that the show won't entirely eschew Kara Zor-El's familial connections, and subsequently, her Kryptonian powers. Nevertheless, a significant appearance by the Man of Steel could distract from (or outright undercut) the intended focus - the dual life of Kara Danvers - as well as create crippling suspension of disbelief (e.g., why isn't Superman zooming in to help his cousin?). Now, a new casting report adds a bit more clarity on how the iconic hero might appear on the series - without causing too many logistical problems for the showrunners.
According to a post at Project Casting, CBS is looking for a DC Comic Superhero "body double" - requesting actors to submit applications under the subject line: "Superman."
Check out the full report below - including a more complete description of the role's requisite body type and responsibilities:
‘Supergirl’ Casting CallPhoto Double Casting Call
We are looking for BODY DOUBLE for a DC Comic Superhero –You must be available for an interview this Thursday and if selected will work several day during March.This is for a CBS pilot. You can be SAG or Non-Union.You should be 5’11 or taller and be Square Jawedand have a ripped physique.You must send a bodyshot, shirtless, sizes, current contact info and your first five – in the subject line write SUPERMAN.
It's worth noting that the casting agency is also looking for a pair of twin girls and twin boys for the pilot episode. Though, before anyone gets too excited about the prospect of a Wonder Twins appearance down the line, at this point, it's unclear if the network is simply looking for two pairs of identical child actors to fill two roles (like the Olsen Twins on Full House) or four entirely separate parts.
Check out the second casting call below:
Twins Casting Call
We are looking for Caucasian, 6-9 month old Identical Twins Boys and Identical Twin Girls for a new CBS TV Pilot. They must have a current entertainment work permit. This will work during the March. Send photos, age, contact info, and a copy of permit – in the subject line write TWIN BOYS OR TWIN GIRLS depending on who’s being submitted.
Given the extremely young age of each set of twins, it's probable that CBS intends to depict at least one flashback to Krypton, showing baby versions of Kal and Kara, via the combined performance of identical siblings (two boys and two girls) to portray the cousins in a scene pre-Krypton collapse. As indicated, it's a relatively common practice for casting directors to seek twin actors for young roles - since the studio/network can double-up potential reactions (one child might be more active or smiley), mitigate any potential hurdles (crying or fussiness), while also working within the strict limitations that are placed on how much child actors can be on set.
Still, while it's unlikely that the twins will appear on the series past the pilot, this pair of casting reports adds further evidence that Superman will be a bigger presence (even if he's rarely seen onscreen) than some initially believed. Understandably, the showrunners want to place their focus on Kara, so it will be interesting to see how they manage to both insert Superman into the heart of Supergirl's mythology - while also preventing the Man of Steel from making regular guest appearances.
Could it be that Kara steps out of the shadows and becomes Supergirl after Superman is critically injured - or decides to leave Earth in search of other Kryptonians in the galaxy? As indicated, based on prior rumors, Superman is reportedly a known hero in Supergirl's world and, as such, it's also possible that Kal-El will show up in the pilot. Perhaps after Kara has stepped into the public eye, with a brief word of advice before flying back to his Fortress of Solitude - never to be seen onscreen again.
In either case, assuming the casting report's "Superman" subject line is accurate, CBS does not appear ready to cast an actual Superman or Clark Kent actor - since the post indicates the network is looking for a body double and not a recurring onscreen role (albeit one that would match Superman's description: 5’11 or taller, square jawed, and with a ripped physique).
As a result, when Superman appears as an adult, in a scene with Supergirl lead Melissa Benoist, it sounds as if he'll be viewed from a distance - with the option to find a permanent/higher profile replacement in the future (should the writers decide to include the Man of Steel down the line).
Time will tell if Supergirl can sustain her own series, and if CBS is willing to shell out the coin necessary to make the god-like heroine's flying and super strength look good onscreen, but it's nice to see that the network isn't entirely side-stepping the character's history either. While it may be hard for some viewers to suspend disbelief that Superman exists in the world but not the show, fans can definitely take some comfort in knowing that the showrunners aren't erasing Kara's well-known cousin from the picture, simply for the sake of simplicity.
After all, the existence, and a brief (even blurry) appearance by the DC hero could also help provide a point of comparison and juxtaposition for Supergirl to establish her own approach to superheroing. If something catastrophic happened to Kal-El (or someone he loved), it could help explain why Kara has been hiding - and why she's reluctant to become a public hero.
Supergirl is expected to air on CBS in 2015.