While the first four episodes of DC's Stargirl have largely been Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl's story, there's been another important character whose story has started to play out on The CW/DC Universe series as well: Beth Chapel, the young woman set to become the new Doctor Mid-Nite. This week, however, Beth's story begins to truly come into focus when she finds those special goggles in "Hourman and Dr. Mid-Nite" with Beth taking her first real steps on a heroic journey that may just transform her non-heroic life as well.
Played by Anjelika Washington, Beth promises not only to bring the "brains" to Courtney's new Justice Society of America -- complete with those goggles and an impressive super suit -- but also is set to offer something important for audiences as well by giving television another young Black female superhero in a space so frequently dominated by white male heroes. ComicBook.com had a chance to chat with Washington all about Stargirl's Beth Chapel, the responsibility of playing a black female superhero, what's next for Beth and the rest of the JSA, and the active skill of friendship.
Read on for our conversation with Washington below!
ComicBook.com: How familiar were you with the comics in genera and with the character specifically from comics before Stargirl?
Anjelika Washington: I actually wasn't very familiar with Dr. Mid-Nite at all. My brothers are really big into comics, so I had heard of the original Dr. Mid-Nite through the JSA, but I didn't realize that there was a different generation and there was a woman and she was a super amazing, powerful hero. So I didn't really know much. And, I actually didn't even know I was playing a superhero until the day before I tested. So the whole thing was a shock and also really exciting, all at the same time.
This week's episode really introduces us to your character, both just as Beth and then as she picks up those goggles, Dr. Mid-Nite. As we've seen, Beth is just so positive and so enthusiastic but it doesn't feel like everyone around her really appreciates that and they kind of just dismiss her. What can you tell us about Beth?
Everything you said is spot on and she is definitely super outgoing and really positive and really energetic. And, I think that, that can just sometimes be very overwhelming for other people. But, really she overall, she's just a girl who loves people and loves everyone and wants to be a part of this world. And, she's going to be just trying to figure out where she fits in, in her life right now.prevnext
Something we've kind of noticed on the show is, that the show is taking these beautiful layered, nuanced characters, both the original and the legacy characters and kind of giving them fresh takes, new stories that are true to who they are but also true to this new version of it. What's it been like taking a character from the comics that some people are going to really recognize and putting this fresh take on it? What kind of responsibility and challenges has that provided for you?
Well, as a whole, I find a lot of responsibility, just as a black woman. I think representation for young black and brown girls is so important. I didn't have anyone who looked like me playing a superhero when I was a kid. So for generations that are coming up and I love bringing this new, fresh take to her because we're all... All of our characters are a lot younger, we're more naive, we're not super informed and educated on the JSA or even just superheroes in general, in Blue Valley.
So I think it's an exciting new generation of these superheroes. I was in my head, I feel like we're like the Breakfast Club for superheroes because we're all of these kinds of outcasts, who don't really have a place to fit in. But, we ended up coming together and really creating this force to be reckoned with.
That must be such an amazing feeling, to get to be the person who puts out there what you didn't have on television growing up.
Very much a blessing. I don't take it for granted at all. I'm very grateful.prevnext
One of the things we kind of see as a tease in this week's episode is, how Dr. Mid-Nite and Beth will play off of Rick and Hourman. I recently spoke with Geoff Johns about the characters and he described Beth and Rick, as a sort of yin and yang. He talked about how they came into comics together at the same time, how they kind of present this balance. What can you tell us about their dynamic?
Rick and Beth, we grow to become... Man, that's hard to say. Rick and Beth will grow to be real to me. It's a part of JSA, which is going to be really fun for people to see. I know in the comics, they are really, really close. And so, hopefully we get to do more of that. My fingers are crossed that we get a season two and a season three and we get to see even more because right now it's a lot of the group as a whole.
But, I agree with Geoff, it is very yin and yang. I would say that Rick and Beth are very balancing, they balance each other very well. And so, that's really exciting because Rick is completely opposite of Beth and Beth is completely opposite of Rick. And so, it gets to be really fun and I love, love working with Cam, obviously, because he's working on Beth. I worked with Cam more than I worked with anyone else on the show. And, like I was saying, I talked to him this morning, we're really close. And, he's a really great friend.prevnext
You can kind of actually see some of that kind of coming through, even though we're just meeting the characters. One of the things that really leaps up off the screen is a genuine love, both for the material, but also just between the cast.
I would... I definitely agree. I can tell a lot of times when you're watching shows, especially things that are in comics or superhero things because we really are playing make believe, so you can really tell if we're really taking it seriously. And, if we really are believing in what we're seeing.
And, I think that's what we really try to do, is really believe every word and everything that's happening and live in this world. And, I'm so grateful that people are able to see that because it is hard work. But, I'm glad that the work, that we really try to make this world of Blue Valley and Stargirl come to life is, people being able to see it.prevnext
One of the other things that commonly comes up when I'm talking about the show is, the concept that it's all about family. We see elements of the family dynamic and everything, including in Beth's story. Here's this bundle of love and light and compassion and knowledge. And, who's so close to her parents but they've kind of put up this wall. What can you tell us a bit about the parent dynamic for Beth and her family?
For Beth, her parents are truly just her best friends and she's 15 and almost in a naive sense that she doesn't even think she meets friends. She's like, "Why do I need other friends, I have you?" Which is actually very similar to myself in a way because I'm also like, my mom's my best friend.
They are totally your best friends and [for Beth] her parents are really just encouraging her to go out and make other friends. They're like, "You need to live your life." And so, it's going to be really, really fun to see Beth explore friendships because it's not really anything she's ever had. So that's going to be really fun to see how she meshes well with other people and also how she learns to be a friend to other people.prevnext
I think that's really important too because friendship is an active thing. It's not just something that you say like, "Okay, now we're buddies." It's an active skill.
Right. Yes, absolutely. And, she doesn't really have that skill. So she's going to really develop that through season one and I'm excited for everyone to see how. Sometimes when people are socially awkward, they don't have friends and she's been there the whole time. Courtney is new but Beth grew up in Blue Valley and she still doesn't really have a friend group. So it's going to be really interesting for folks to see.prevnext
Now, we don't get to see Beth fully suit up as Doctor Mid-Nite this week. We do see her with the goggles and those are cool. In photos for the season and the show, though, we've seen her in the full super heroic glory. What was it like suiting up as such an iconic hero?
It was honestly so incredible suiting up into a super suit, in general. I think the idea of it is very unreal. It's very like, "Wow, I can't believe this is really happening."1comments
So the first day I got to be in my super suit was so, so, so special. And, I never take it for granted. Yeah. I remember it, I recorded it, I have photos of it. I'm fangirling for myself just because I got to be in a super suit. So it was really, really cool.
Stargirl airs Tuesdays at 8/7 on The CW. New episodes debut Mondays on DC Universe.prev