With the next addition to DC Comics’s TV universe now officially entering production (for the pilot, at least), the minds behind CBS’ Supergirl have delivered a surprise. Though previous shows kept fans anticipating any and all details on the heroes’ updated duds for what felt like an eternity, the first official images of star Melissa Benoist in full costume have now been revealed.
Previously leaked details confirmed that Kara Zor-El’s crime-fighting uniform would keep the classic cape and skirt, and the finished product looks to straddle the line between classic nostalgia and modern update perfectly.
We’ll discuss some of the finer points of the costume in a moment, but for now, take a look at the first official images of Benoist in character, as well as the costume itself:
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The suit is the product of Academy Award winning costume designer Colleen Atwood, who previously concocted the costumes for both The CW’s Arrow and The Flash, tackling a grim, vigilante archer and physics-defying speedster, respectively. For Supergirl, Atwood describes her goals as twofold:
“In designing Supergirl, I wanted to embrace the past, but more importantly, thrust her into the street-style action hero of today.”
There’s little doubt that this official reveal will prove less divisive among fans than the DC Comics heroes she’s following – for good and bad. The suit is less jarring and unsettling than Barry Allen’s suit proved to be, since it keeps to the comic book source material to a surprising degree. Fans were eventually won over by star Grant Gustin, so it’s possible the same could prove true for the world-famous Superman’s first cousin.
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In the end, it makes sense to see CBS and showrunners Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler playing it safe. Or, from another perspective, choosing not to fix what isn’t broken. It’s also hard to believe that anyone not already interested in seeing Kara Zor-El/Danvers on the small screen would really be converted into a supporter based on a costume alone (not one that wouldn’t be just as likely to turn off droves, anyway).
A quick online search of ‘Supergirl cosplay’ will yield plenty of results similar to this creation; but given how some recent superhero redesigns have gone, faithful isn’t a bad direction. The less vibrant tones tones of red and blue bring Supergirl a step closer to the Man of Steel update, but the classic design shows nostalgia is still completely intact (evidenced by a role in the pilot for original Supergirl Helen Slater).
It’s also unsurprising to see CBS’ vision becoming one aimed at both of its presumed targets: younger and female audiences looking to see a heroine highlighted as part of the comic book TV onslaught, and an older crowd hoping to see the character they’re already familiar with. And with word that a Superman stand-in is likely to appear in the pilot, picking an overall design that implies a larger link to the Man of Steel – without making it explicit – is a subtle, but wise move.
It’s also worth pointing out that the ties between The CW’s superhero universe and Supergirl – behind the scenes – are only growing stronger. The shared DNA between Kara and Barry Allen’s outfits is clear from a technical standpoint, but with Flash showrunner Andrew Kreisberg joining the team, and Arrow and Flash director Glen Winter handling pilot duties, the overall inspiration and hope is obvious.
We’ll keep our own hopes up that DC and WB are planning some more TV crossovers in the future, but for now, what do you think of the costume? Was this what you expected, or did you have a different look in mind? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments.
Supergirl is expected to air on CBS in 2015.
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