If you’ve been to the movies in the past few years, chances are you’ve seen Henry Cavill in the current cinematic incarnation of Superman. He’s not the cheeriest guy around and lives in a permanently dark and gritty world. It’s a portrayal of the Man of Steel that has been met with less than favorable reviews in the last two films.
With the world’s most famous comic book character now coming to the small screen though — with an appearance on Supergirl, played by Tyler Hoechlin — there’s a chance to right the ship. Completely separate from the movie universe, The CW’s comic book world is very different from what you’ll see in Suicide Squad or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, so patterning their Superman after the big screen would make very little sense.
Instead, executive producer Andrew Kreisberg tells Zap2it, “Our Superman definitely fits within the world we’ve created.”
To craft him, though, Kreisberg and the show’s creative team looked at the superhero’s long history.
“With any of these characters, they’re an amalgamation of cherry-picking the best bits from different eras then throwing it into our own feelings,” he says. “We’ve borrowed bits of everything. There’s a little bit of Christopher Reeve in there, there’s a little bit of the animated series. There’s a moment that’s very George Reeves. There’s a little Superfriends and there’s even a little Lois and Clark.”
That’s right, even Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman helped to inspire this new version of the character.
Perhaps what’s most important though isn’t which former Supermen inspired him, but rather how he’ll inspire Kara (Melissa Benoist) in her life as Supergirl.
“This is a Superman that’s been doing it for 12 years,” Kreisberg says. “Generally speaking, it’s always been the early — whether it’s Chris Reeve starting out — it’s always been this sort of birth of Superman and how he’s just finding his way. But this is a guy who’s been a reporter for 12 years, who’s been Superman for 12 years. So he really knows what he’s doing.”
“That presents an interesting challenge for Kara, who feels like she’s still trying to figure things out,” he continues. “One of the things she learns, as do many of us do, is that the people who are seemingly making it look easy are having just as hard a time as everyone else. They just learned to fake it a little bit better.”
Life isn’t perfect, even for Superman, and that may be a hard lesson for Kara to learn, but it’s one that will be better for her in the long run.
Supergirl returns Monday, Oct. 10, on CW33.