DC's superhero television series are frequently chock full of Easter Eggs. Most episodes of any given show will have plenty of little nods to the comics they take their inspiration from as well as movies, television shows and even broader pop culture tucked into things for fans to discover. The latest entry into the world of superhero television, DC's Stargirl, is no exception. The series' network television debut on Tuesday night was full of clever gems but among them was one Easter Egg that is far more poignant and deeply personal for series creator Geoff Johns: a tribute to his late sister and Stargirl inspiration, Courtney Johns.
Minor spoilers for the series premiere of DC's Stargirl below.
The Easter Egg came early in the series' first episode and was a blink-and-you-might-miss-it moment. After Courtney Whitmore's (Brec Bassinger) mom married Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson), the new family packed up to move from California to Nebraska. While Courtney is packing, viewers get a glimpse of her life in California thanks to her gymnastics trophies and photos she has pinned on her bulletin board. Among those photos was a very special one: a photograph of the late Courtney Johns with Bassinger's Courtney Whitmore added in. Bassinger herself took to Twitter during the show's broadcast to share a better look at the touching tribute, calling it "the best, most important Easter egg in this entire first season."
For those who are unaware, Courtney Johns was the younger sister of Stargirl creator Geoff Johns. The young woman was among the 230 people who lost their lives in the TWA Flight 800 crash on July 17, 1996. She was 18 at the time of her death. Johns created the Courtney Whitmore character in his late sister's memory, but the character shares more than just a name with Johns' late sister. He gave the character elements of her spirit as well.
"It is her spirit and optimistic energy that I wanted to put back in the world with Stargirl," Johns said (via Yahoo!). "It is her spirit and optimistic energy that I wanted to put back in the world with Stargirl. It is celebratory, forward-looking and positive."
"I've written a lot of superhero stories in my career, but this is by far the most personal on every level," he continued.
Given the deeply personal ties the character has to Johns, including an actual representation of the real Courtney is a beautiful touch, just another layer to a project that Johns says means so much to him and his family.
"It was the first comic book I ever wrote, it was inspired by family, and it's the first show that I've ever showrun," Johns said in an interview with Collider. "I wanted to showrun it. I wanted to be there, every day...Really, it's a dream come true. I would love to showrun this show for years. It's my favorite experience that I've ever had, in my life, and it means a lot. My parents are thrilled. My family is excited to watch the show."