After early screenings at both Comic Con International: San Diego and New York Comic Con -- plus a leaked copy of the pilot showing up online -- Supergirl finally flies into living rooms around the country tonight on a wave of excitement and high expectations.
The series, from executive producers Andrew Kreisberg and Greg Berlanti of Arrow and The Flash fame, brings together Glee veteran Melissa Benoist with Grey's Anatomy veteran Chyler Leigh, Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart and a talented ensemble cast who have the responsibility of adapting one of the most recognizable female characters in comics -- and doing so in a way that differentiates itself from Superman, the character's even-more-famous cousin.
During Comic Con International, ComicBook.com sat down for a roundtable conversation with Leigh, who plays Supergirl's sister Alexis. Many comic book fans smelled something rotten in Denmark with that name, given a certain bald-headed villain's prevalence in the Superman mythology...but Leigh -- whose character is rescued from a crashing airplane during Supergirl's first public appearance -- played Dr. Lexie Gray on Gray's Anatomy for several years...a character who died in a plane crash. So there are plenty of parallels to be drawn...!
So how has it been so far with everybody assuming that the name "Lex" means very bad things?
Ha-ha. Well, it's kind of funny becuase there is a plane crash -- well, an almost plane crash -- in the pilot and just from a personal standpoint, a lot of people were very upset when they found out I was in a plane again. But I lived, so that's great! But yeah, it's very funny for me, it's very ironic that my character's name is Alexandra again, and she's kind of a doctor-scientist and a sister. But you know what? I'm really excited that this is Supergirl.
Well, if it helps you at all, I didn't have that thought. I was thinking Lex Luthor.
Yeah. I thought of that once I started talking. I was like "That's not what he meant!" But I decided to just go ahead with it. But I'm Alex, so maybe that helps.
It's very female-centric in the pilot, and I imagine that continues through the series. Can you talk a little bit about that experience?
Absolutely. It was a very big part of why I was so excited to be a part of this. I have daughters; I have an eight-year-old and a six-year-old daughter, and there's not a lot to look up to from the industry standpoint; there's not a whole lot.
And so for them to see a character like this, a girl that is as herself and not necessarily in the Supergirl part but as Kara -- she's flawed, you know? And she's working and she's trying to figure out who she is and she's still growing up and she's got all these things that are seemingly against her but she's figuring it out. And that it's okay to put yourself out like that and to be comfortable as who you are, it gives my girls a lot to look up to and I appreciate that tremendously. And we're having a blast with it.
How has the response to Supergirl been?
The fans are incredible; they know what they know and they love what they love and it's so cool to be a part of something like this. I literally pinched myself I can't even tell you how many times just being on set, going, "Okay, it's a superhero show."
And the first time seeing Melissa come out in her costume, the hair on my arms stood on end. It was just this really cool moment. She just walked out with her shoulders back and she just owned it and it was so cool. It was so great; she's doing amazing.