Melissa Benoist should star in the Supergirl movie

In our latest Superhero Nonsense column, the news of Warner Bros. and DC's planned Supergirl feature film has our fantasy casting wheels turning


So, they’re making a Supergirl movie.

Deadline reported yesterday that Warner Bros. and DC are developing a feature film project for Superman’s cousin Kara Zor-El, to be written by Oren Uziel (Shimmer Lake, The Cloverfield Paradox).

Given that Supergirl known for her upbeat, hopeful stance on crime-fighting, this is either a sign that DC is embracing a brighter, more appealing direction after the crushingly grim Man Of Steel – Justice League cycle… or that there’s no direction at all, and they’re just trying to greenlight every property that seems viable. (This is, like, two weeks after the news that Joaquin Phoenix is starring in a Joker origin movie, after all.)

I’m going to assume the Supergirl movie will be made with the best of intentions and the happiest of perspectives, but I have a much more pressing question: who’s going to play Kara? Because Melissa Benoist has been note-perfect as the character on the Supergirl TV show for three years now, and anyone who takes on the part will be sorely challenged to come up with an interpretation that equals hers.

Not that this is impossible: Ezra Miller, who plays DC’s big-screen version of The Flash in Justice League and a solo feature shooting next year, has found a take on Barry Allen that’s markedly different from what Grant Gustin is doing on the CW show, which occasionally crosses paths with Benoist’s Supergirl in odd and exciting ways. It’s not inconceivable that another actor could figure out her own way into Kara.

But honestly: Benoist is so good, you guys! Her buoyant, optimistic interpretation of Kara – defender of Earth, fighter for justice, lover of ice cream – gives the Supergirl series an identity and warmth that sets it apart from the more clenched Arrow. Executive producer Greg Berlanti’s concept for the show was clearly influenced by Richard Donner’s watershed Superman movies, but Benoist’s performance makes that choice feel less like a winking homage and more like a continuation of its spirit.

Benoist has also been the reason to keep watching the show as it’s lost its way over the last couple of years Supergirl’s move from ABC to the CW after the first season resulted in the series remoulding itself to the CW’s formula of endless love triangles amongst superhero buddies, as perfected in (and exhausted by) Arrow and The Flash. But a Supergirl movie could goose the Supergirl show into reclaiming its own identity.

The other opportunity a Supergirl movie affords DC and Warner is a chance to let Henry Cavill be the Superman he seems to want to be, rather than the teeth-grindingly serious demigod Zack Snyder’s movies force him to be. Cavill snuck glimpses of Clark Kent’s warmth and bemusement into Man Of Steel and Justice League wherever he could, but Snyder kept clamping down on the character’s humanity. If Supergirl takes place in the same continuity, with teenage Kara landing on earth sometime after Superman’s resurrection in Justice League, their supportive familial relationship opens a door to a brighter, happier Superman as well. And that could make the Supergirl movie worthwhile, even if Benoist doesn’t get to bring the character to the big screen.

Ah, who am I kidding? It’ll be Emma Stone, and we all know it.

normw@nowtoronto.com | @normwilner

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