With the end of Supergirl coming in 2021, The CW's shared DC Universe of shows has a new conflict they have not yet had to face: what do you do when a show ends, but the character is (almost certainly) not going to die? The "shared universe" aspect of the stories complicates what would ordinarily be a fairly straightforward ending to a series. While Smallville could end with Clark simply opening his shirt and flying away, and Cheers could end with Sam realizing something important about his place in the universe before continuing his life as normal, Supergirl kind of can't do those things.
They didn't have this problem when Arrow ended last season; Oliver Queen was a dark, brooding character and even before the story happened, it seemed virtually a given that he would die in the series finale.
With Superman and Lois coming to The CW, Kara's famous cousin is set to take on a more prominent role on TV than he has in years. And Kara was christened a member of the Arrowverse's Justice League in the closing scenes of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" last year.
So what are the most likely scenarios for ending Supergirl and writing Kara Zor-El out of the Arrowverse?
We've put together a little list. Please hit us up in the comments or tweet at @russburlingame if you think fo any we didn't!
Up in the sky
Maybe the most likely scenario is the one that most comic book characters get when their solo books are cancelled: Kara will just be off-camera but still active, and then when they want her (and can get Benoist to come back for a week), she can make an appearance in somebody else's show.
In this case, National City would become just another place on the map that the audience doesn't regularly see, and Supergirl would be what Vixen was when she was first introduced on Arrow -- an existing vigilante with her own history, but not one we see onscreen.prevnext
The Death of Supergirl
The obvious choice, in a way, would be to kill off Kara and let her die a hero. Whether it's on the big screen (The Dark Knight Rises, Avengers: Endgame) or small ("Crisis on Infinite Earths"), that's a fairly well-established trajectory for a hero to take when their time is up, but the story of the larger universe is still going strong.
It feels unlikely for Kara, though. There are a few reasons, but the biggest one is that it simply would not fit with the tone of the show, which has always been about hope and empowerment. It could be made to work, but it would be an awkward fit.
Besides, the canonical death of Supergirl in the comics -- seen above from the Crisis on Infinite Earths maxi-series -- is an opportunity that they made a conscious effort not to engage with when Crisis was adapted last season.prevnext
Return to Earth-38
Following the events of "Crisis on Infinite Earths," the worlds in which Supergirl and Black Lightning existed on were seemingly merged with Earth-1 into Earth-Prime, it seems plausible (though unlikely) that the end of the series could see Kara rediscovering Earth-38 and returning to her home.
After all, while its existence was hidden from the heroes of Earth-Prime, the multiverse was re-established in the final moments of the Crisis, opening the door for more or less anything to happen down the line.
With Superman and Lois continuing on past this season (ratings permitting), it's not impossible that the revelation that Earth-38 still exists and is currently unprotected, could send Kara there, leaving Clark and his family behind because each of the two knows that an entire universe would be safe in the hands of the other.prevnext
With another Lex Luthor having been cast for Superman and Lois and Supergirl on her way out of the Arrowverse for the time being, it's not impossible that Kara and Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer) could be called to action as Paragons. Taken elsewhere in the multiverse to fulfill a grand destiny, they would also have the opportunity to go out as heroes without having to, y'know..go OUT.
The seven Paragons from Crisis were The Flash, Supergirl, White Canary, Batwoman (Kate Kane), Martian Manhunter, Ryan Choi and Lex Luthor. While Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Sara Lance (Caity Lotz) are both headlining their own Arrowverse shows, that could theoretically be worked around with a few lines of dialogue, and the remaining Paragons aren't doing anything without a Supergirl show.prevnext
Into the Phantom Zone
It's hard to think of a justification for it, but it's plausible that you could end the show by sending Kara into the Phantom Zone for some reason or another. It would give a sense of symmetry, given that it was a trip through the Phantom Zone that slowed down her progress on the mission to follow and protect Superman.prevnext
Whatever Happened to the Girl of Tomorrow?
Another classic comic -- and one that might be slightly more likely to serve as the ending than Kara's death -- is a riff on "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?"
In that story, an older Lois Lane is at home with her husband and toddler, being interviewed by a reporter about the final days of Superman, who had died years earlier protecting the Earth.
In the end, it's revealed that Lois's husband is Clark in disguise, their toddler has super powers, and that following the events of the story, Superman was stripped of his powers and lived out the rest of his life as a regular person with the love of his life.prevnext
Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes
Speaking of the love of her life...
There's certainly a version of this show that ends with Supergirl in the 31st Century, working with the Legion of Super-Heroes for an undisclosed period of time and getting her happily-ever-after with Mon-El.7comments
Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes was a comic that ran for a while, and both Supergirl and Superboy have long histories (no pun intended) with the teens from the future. Add to that the fact that Brainiac-5 has been with Kara for several seasons, and could theoretically be "called back" at any moment to handle a crisis, and you have the perfect reason to send Kara off that way.
Narratively, this could be pretty attractive not just because it would give closure on the Mon-El issue and tie into stories from the comics...but because fans might otherwise think her death or departure is sad for her loved ones and the supporting cast on the show. With the Legion, she could theoretically do what she's there for and show back up anytime she wants, or travel back to key moments in her loved ones' lives, or any number of other things that some of these other endings wouldn't provide.prev