One of the first hurdles Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler’s Supergirl television series needed to tackle was establishing why Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) was just as compelling a central character as her equally super cousin Clark Kent a.k.a. Superman - not only within the world of the show where Superman was already an established hero, but within the current climate of superhero television and film. Though the first season of Supergirl, which aired on CBS, had its detractors, the Girl of Steel also inspired a dedicated host of fans. As such, though Supergirl's ratings weren't quite up to CBS' standards, the network moved the series to The CW - which CBS co-owns with Warner Bros. Television.
Now gearing up for season 2, Supergirl will officially introduce the show's Superman for the first time, to be played by Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf). In season 1, Superman was largely portrayed either from a distance with his face obscured or through online chats with Kara. However, now Hoechlin is tasked with playing the iconic Kryptonian superhero on Supergirl, which he discusses in a new interview.
While speaking to Collider about the home video release of Everybody Wants Some!!, Hoechlin also commented on the "humbling and flattering" opportunity to play Superman as well as the balancing act of portraying a version of the character that fits within Supergirl's tone and honors the history of the DC Comics hero:
"I know it’s such an iconic character that means so much to a lot of people. The interesting thing to me is meeting people who are much older than me and saying, “Oh Superman has always been my hero” and shaking my hand. It’s such a weird position to be in because you’re not just assuming that this is a character for a younger generation, it’s for anyone who’s a fan of the character. It’s really exciting, I’m really looking forward to be putting our own spin on it, seeing where this character fits into this storyline, and this version of Superman. Like I said, I take it with great respect for the character and what it means to people so I’m excited to get to work on it and see what comes out of it."
When Hoechlin suits up for Supergirl season 2, he is joining a long history of the Superman character, who first appeared in the comics over 80 years ago and has since been adapted to live-action on multiple occasions, played by actors like Christopher Reeve, Tom Welling, and, more recently, Henry Cavill. In fact, with Supergirl officially joining its fellow DC Comics television series on The CW - including Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow - Hoechlin will be part of a universe that includes previous Superman portrayers Dean Cain (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) and Brandon Routh (Superman Returns).
But, as Hoechlin acknowledges, though The CW may aim toward a younger-skewing audience (which may be part of the reason CBS moved the series from its older-skewing network), many generations of fans have grown up with the character of Superman. As such, Hoechlin is under plenty of pressure for his portrayal, which will be a new spin on the character thanks to his own acting abilities and the writing on Supergirl. Still, Hoechlin seems up to the task and his respect for the superhero's history and meaning to fans may put many at ease.
Of course, it will still be some time before audiences see Hoechlin in action as the Man of Steel. Though the show's Clark Kent is set to make his debut in the season premiere, an episode titled "The Adventures of Supergirl," Supergirl won't return for season 2 until October. Until then, a fan rendering of Hoechlin as Superman and his comments are largely all viewers have to go on. But, with Supergirl set to make an appearance alongside fellow WB TV series at Comic-Con International in San Diego, we may soon learn more about this particular iteration of Superman and how Hoechlin sets himself apart from previous Clark Kents.
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.