|Adaptations of Supergirl in other media|
|Created by||Otto Binder
|Original source||Comics published by DC Comics|
|First appearance||Action Comics #252 (May 1959)|
|Films and television|
|Superman: The Animated Series (1996)
Justice League Unlimited (2004)
The fictional superheroine Supergirl has been adapted into pop culture several times since 1984. This includes a feature film and several animated and live-action television programs.
A feature film adaptation Supergirl was released in 1984, starring Helen Slater in her first motion picture role. Supergirl was a spin-off from the popular 1978 film Superman, and Marc McClure reprises his role of Jimmy Olsen. The movie performed poorly at the box office and failed to impress critics or audiences; Peter O'Toole received a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actor for his performance, while Faye Dunaway received a Worst Actress nomination for hers. Prior to its release, Supergirl was expected to be the first film of a series, and Helen Slater had a contract for three films, but Supergirl's failure at the box office cancelled plans for a Supergirl II.
Supergirl was originally planned for Superman III, in a treatment written by Ilya Salkind. In a bizarre twist from the comics, Supergirl was to be the surrogate daughter of Brainiac (who later is possessively in love with her) who falls in love with Superman, who in the film was to be portrayed as her lover instead of cousin, contrary to all previous depictions.
Although not appearing in the show, she did appear in some of the related comics with the show.
Supergirl first appears, voiced by Nicholle Tom, in the two-part Superman: The Animated Series episode "Little Girl Lost" as Kara In-Ze from Krypton's "sister world" of Argos. The character is depicted as a headstrong and independent teenage girl who was placed in suspended animation before the conditions on Argos became inhospitable.
Season Two of Superman: The Animated Series was extended an extra two episodes solely to accommodate a story with Supergirl; producer Bruce Timm said, "We actually had to steal two episodes from 'Batman'. They had a Supergirl toy coming from Kenner, so they allowed us to do those [episodes]." Bruce Timm and Paul Dini intended to use the original Supergirl, Kara Zor-El, but were denied by DC Comics, due to DC's then-present edict that Superman was to remain the only surviving Kryptonian.
The daughter of planetary chief physician Kala In-Ze (In-Ze was the last name of Kara Zor-El's mother Allura), Kara was the only survivor of her planet, the rest having died when their suspended animation units suffered damage over time. While on a space exploration trip, Superman discovers Argos and consequently Kara. Clark arranges for the Kents to take Kara in while she adjusts to life on Earth, and upon visiting Clark in Metropolis, she wears glasses and a brunette wig with a ponytail to pose as Clark's cousin Kara Kent. This Supergirl shares Superman's vulnerability to kryptonite; she also suffers from cheimatophobia (fear of cold), due to her experiences prior to her time in suspended animation. Kara is written as eager to take up a position at the right hand of Superman, but Superman thinks she is too young and unready, despite the fact that she and Jimmy Olsen, who struck up a friendship at once, were critical in ferreting out an early connection between Intergang and Granny Goodness. Kara becomes friends with Batgirl in The New Batman Adventures episode "Girls' Nite Out", though their meeting is played for laughs and the girls depicted as somewhat inept. However, this friendship was again referenced in the Justice League season 2 episode 'Comfort and Joy', in which Superman (Clark) asks his parents "Where's Kara?" and they reply "Skiing with Barbara."
The costume worn by the animated Supergirl is used by Linda Danvers in the 1996 Supergirl comic book series. She continues to use that same costume in her first appearance in the first episode of Justice League Unlimited, where Nicholle Tom reprises her voice-acting role. In the third season of JLU, Supergirl appears in a new outfit, (the more traditional blue top with red miniskirt) that resembles Kara Zor-El's post-Crisis costume. Plus, She becomes an excellent hand-to-hand combatant, having trained in various forms of unarmed fighting such as Taekwondo, Kickboxing, Karate, etc. In the episode "Far From Home", the explanation is that the costume was altered to look more like Superman's mentioned in a discussion between Green Arrow and Superman.
Supergirl appears in Justice League as a mourner at Superman's funeral when he was presumed dead but wasn't; she does not wear her Kara Kent disguise. Rather, she has her blonde hair exposed and is attired in sombre black, a discrepancy that was never addressed considering that throughout the rest of her civilian appearances, she is in her disguise.
It is revealed that scientists from Project Cadmus create Galatea, an evil clone of the program's Supergirl (Kara) for nefarious purposes. The clone is a more mature version of Kara, and in appearance and costume is a homage to Power Girl. Kara, accompanied by Green Arrow and Question travel to S.T.A.R. Labs to investigate. From this episode on, Green Arrow becomes a sort of father figure to Kara and frequently discusses her with Superman. In the episode "Far From Home", Green Arrow tells Superman that he and Black Canary planned on bringing Supergirl out to celebrate her twenty-first birthday. With the re-introduction of Kara Zor-El to regular DC continuity, she is also referred to once again as Superman's cousin, but as an adoptive one.
During a mission with Green Lantern, S.T.R.I.P.E. and Star Girl, Supergirl is revealed to have changed her costume to resemble her cousin's.
In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Far From Home", Supergirl, along with Green Lantern and Green Arrow, encounter Legion of Super-Heroes members Brainiac 5 and Bouncing Boy. They have brought the three modern heroes to the 31st century to aid them in defeating the Fatal Five, who have implanted mind control in all Legionnaires. However, Brainiac 5 tells Green Lantern and Green Arrow that 30th century history says that Supergirl never returned to her own time; Brainiac 5 and Bouncing Boy assume this indicates that she will die while on this mission. As Kara experiences the technology and society of the 30th century, which is similar to that of her lost homeworld, she becomes more and more conflicted about returning to the past, where she has never felt that she fits in. Finally, she and Brainiac 5 develop romantic feelings for each other, and when Green Lantern and Green Arrow prepare to return to the past, she tells them that 30th century history will be fulfilled since she is staying in the future as a member of the Legion. DC Comics introduced Kara into their Legion of Superheroes monthly comic soon after renaming it 'Supergirl and the Legion of Superheroes.' Kara had also been a member of the Legion prior to her first comic incarnation's death in 'Crisis on Infinite Earths.' She also had a relationship with Brainiac 5 during this time.
Kara and the Chronicles of Krypton will be the fourth set of videos of the Smallville Legends web series. In these animated shorts, we see Kara during the Kryptonian Civil War which led eventually to her planet's destruction. She is the daughter of Zor-El and lives in the city of Kandor in contrast to previous versions of the character that lived in Argo. Zor-El is a prominent figure in the war and so Kara is in the middle of the chaos. The webisodes are featured on the Smallville Complete Season 7 DVD set as a bonus feature.
Supergirl also appears in a brief background cameo appearance in the Direct-to-DVD animated film Justice League: The New Frontier. She is seen during the famous speech made by John F. Kennedy along with many other characters just before the closing credits.
Kara Zor-El appears in Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, based on the second storyline from the Superman/Batman comic series, "The Supergirl from Krypton". The film depicts her arrival on Earth and adjustment to life on the new planet. She is voiced by actress Summer Glau.
Supergirl appears alongside Batgirl and Wonder Girl in Super Best Friends Forever, a series of shorts developed by Lauren Faust for the DC Nation block on Cartoon Network. She is voiced by Nicole Sullivan.
Supergirl appears in the web series DC Super Hero Girls where she is a student at Super Hero High. She is voiced by Anais Fairweather.
Supergirl appears as a new member of the Justice League in the animated movie Lego DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League: Cosmic Clash, voiced by Jessica DiCicco.
A girl calling herself Kara (played by Adrianne Palicki) appears in the Smallville television series episode "Covenant", claiming to be from Krypton, although she does not call herself Supergirl or Kara Zor-El or even claim to be Kal-El's cousin. When Lana Lang asked who she was, Clark Kent claimed she was a visiting cousin. She was revealed at episode's end to be Lindsey Harrison, a human empowered and controlled by Kryptonian technology as part of Jor-El's plan to influence Clark.
The actual Supergirl character appears in the program's seventh season, beginning with the season premiere. She is played by actress Laura Vandervoort. Kara was sent from Krypton at the same time as was Kal-El to look after him, but was trapped under a dam during the first meteor shower and was in suspended animation for the past 18 years. After the dam is broken, Kara Zor-El is freed. As the daughter of Zor-El, she is Clark's Kryptonian cousin, and hence possesses the same powers. Though she has also mastered flight, she, like her comic book counterpart, lacks the control Clark has developed over his years of dealing with humans. For example, she is unaware of the more subtle super-hearing until taught to use it by Clark. Though chronologically older than Clark (she was sixteen years old at the time of Clark's birth), her time in suspended animation leaves her with the appearance of a girl in her mid-to-late teens.
Kara explains that Clark was not made aware of her existence because their respective fathers were not on good terms, exemplified by Jor-El's distrust when informed of her arrival by Clark. The Martian Manhunter AKA John Jones is similarly distrustful of her, as Kara is of him, claiming that Zor-El attempted to have Jor-El assassinated. In the episode "Lara", it is revealed the Martian Manhunter was correct about her father. Zor-El had tried to kill his brother out of the love he had for Jor-El's wife, Lara. Kara witnessed an incident where Zor-El attempted to force Lara to leave Jor-El and love him. Zor-El had erased her memories, causing her to believe he was a good man until now. Realizing she was wrong about her father, she puts her memories of him aside and remains with Clark on the farm. At the end of the episode "Blue", when a double of Zor-El is defeated, Kara is involuntarily teleported to Detroit with a case of amnesia.
After being taken in by a waitress, she works at a diner for several weeks, and eventually takes on the name of "Linda." Her memories and powers remain mysteriously gone, as Clark brings her back to Smallville. However, he decides to hide her Kryptonian identity from her, hiding her Kryptonian bracelet. Because of this, by the episode "Hero" she becomes drawn to Lex, moving in with him, because of Clark and Lana's secrecy.
In the episode "Traveler", Kara's memory and powers are restored by Jor-El making her able to save Clark, who was imprisoned in a Kryptonite cell. In the following episode, entitled "Veritas", Kara attempts to teach Clark how to fly so as to further his chances of surviving a confrontation with the newly restored Brainiac. When Kara resists Brainiac's offer of help in restoring Krypton, Lana falls victim to Brainiac's brain-probe. This, in turn, prompts Kara to voluntarily travel into space with Brainiac, and she is last seen entering hyperspace high above Earth. In the seventeenth episode titled "Sleeper", Kara is discovered to be on Krypton, in the year 1986. In the episode 18, "Apocalypse", we see Kara on an alternative universe where Kal-El never made it to Earth. Kara was found and raised by Lex and Lionel Luthor, and took on the name Linda Danvers, being head of DDS (Department of Domestic Security). There, when she finds Clark from the original Smallville universe, she reveals that was sent to Earth to kill him. Back in the year 1986, Kara is fighting Brainiac, when she is helped by Clark, destroys Brainiac, and make it to Earth again.
It is finally discovered in the season finale "Arctic", that the real Kara never made it back to Earth and is trapped in the Phantom Zone, and that Brainiac had been impersonating her. In episode 8 of season 8, "Bloodline", Clark and Lois are transported into the Phantom Zone where they are mistakenly attacked by Kara. She later reveals a portal that can allow one to exit the Phantom Zone but she has not done so, fearing the escape of other prisoners. She activates the portal to allow Clark and Lois back but both she and Clark are defeated by Faora, General Zod's wife. With Chloe's help, they make it back to Smallville where Kara helps Clark defeat Faora by using the Martian Manhunter's crystal to separate Faora from Lois Lane's body. In the end, she leaves Smallville, flying into space, where she has gone to look for Kandor after hearing rumors of its survival of the destruction of Krypton.
She appears again in the season 10 episode entitled "Supergirl" where she disguises herself as a hero. Later in the episode, she helps Clark by repelling Darkseid and later puts on glasses and a wig to protect her identity. In Episode 20 of that season Jor-El tells Kara she must disappear from this time period, since it must be Kal-El's time only. Reluctantly Kara puts on a Legion ring and goes to the 31st century, never really saying good bye to Clark.
By September 2014, Warner Bros. Television was looking to create a television series centered around Supergirl. Executive producers for the series include Greg Berlanti (also a creator/producer for Arrow and The Flash), Ali Adler, who are both writing the script, and Berlanti Productions' Sarah Schechter. DC Comics’ Geoff Johns is also expected to be part of the project. Titles under consideration for the series included Super and Girl. Berlanti confirmed the show shortly after, and stated it was in development and had yet to be pitched to networks. On September 19, it was announced that CBS had landed the series Supergirl with a series commitment. The series will see a 24-year-old Kara Zor-El embracing her powers, after previously hiding them. The series follows Kara Zor-El, who is taken in by the Danvers family when she was 12, after being sent away from Krypton. The Danvers teach her to be careful with her powers, until she has to reveal them during an unexpected disaster, setting her on her journey of heroism. In November 2014, Berlanti stated that the series could also exist in the same universe as Arrow and The Flash. In January 2015, it was announced that Melissa Benoist was cast as Supergirl.
In the series, Kara was sent to Earth to protect her cousin, Kal-El. However, her ship was knocked off course when Krypton exploded, and sent into the Phantom Zone. She slept there for almost two decades until found by Kal-El—who had by then gone on to fame as Superman. She was then taken in by the Danvers family at Superman's suggestion. Although well aware she was as powerful as her cousin, she decided Earth didn't need another hero, and tried to live a normal life. However, she was forced to reveal herself in order to save an airplane from crashing into the river. Soon afterward, she was recruited by the Department of Extra-Normal Operations, a secret agency where her adopted sister, Alex, is employed. She helps them chase down a number of alien criminals who were inadvertently released and dragged to Earth when her ship was knocked off course decades earlier.
Benoist appears in season 3 of The Flash, season 5 of Arrow and season 2 of Legends of Tomorrow. When the Arrowverse Earth is attacked by the alien Dominators, Barry Allen travels to Kara's Earth- identified as Earth-38 in the DC CW multiverse- to recruit her assistance in opposing the invasion. After the battle concludes, Kara is given a device by Cisco Ramon that will allow her to travel back and forth to Earth-1, as well as call the other heroes for assistance if required.
Supergirl first appeared in the PSP version of Justice League Heroes as an unlockable character, voiced by Tara Strong. Judging by the appearance and powers, this is the Linda Danvers version of Supergirl.
Supergirl makes a cameo appearance in the IOS version of Injustice: Gods Among Us as a support card.