Supergirl debuted one year ago as one of a few superhero series headlined by women. Given the character's connection to the Man of Steel though, the question of when Supergirl's more famous Kryptonian cousin would appear plagued the series from the start.
On one hand, it was a cruel metaphor for the sexism women experience in their day-to-day lives. What does it say that even Supergirl, a fiercely competent woman with the same abilities as Superman, still lives in the shadow of a powerful man on a series bearing her own name? It's unfortunate and upsetting. But on the other hand, you can't ignore the fact that Superman is one of the most popular superheroes of all time, with several films and TV series under his belt. His appearance on the show was almost certainly inevitable.
"I think a couple people have heard of that character before," executive producer Ali Adler jokes to TVGuide.com.
Indeed, Superman's popularity within popular culture and within the show's narrative meant Supergirl couldn't ignore the character entirely. The idea that he wouldn't aid Kara when the world is in danger was absurd. It's why during Supergirl's first season the character "appeared" to speak with Kara (Melissa Benoist) over instant message and quick glimpses of his silhouette popped up toward the latter half of the season. But eventually show's ability to explain away his absence in certain situations became too much. Thankfully, the character will make his first on-screen, present-day appearance in the show's Season 2 premiere (Monday, Oct. 10, The CW).
But why was now the right time to bring Superman on board? Kara already proved she didn't need his help to save the world from Non (Chris Vance) and Indigo (Laura Vandervoort) in the Season 1 finale. According to Adler, that's precisely why Supergirl can now finally play the Superman card.
"Last year was the year where we very much proved that she took the mantle of Supergirl and she became so powerful that she ended up saving the world. I think it was a natural time to tell the story of her very famous cousin. If we hadn't told that story, it would have been the elephant in the room - the very powerful, flying elephant," Adler tells TVGuide.com.
In the premiere, Clark Kent (Tyler Hoechlin, Teen Wolf) will arrive in National City to assist Kara in saving the day. When there's an attack on Lena Luthor (Season 2 newcomer Katie McGrath) his extra set of hands comes in, well, handy.
But lest you worry the Man of Steel will outshine or overwhelm the show's heroine on her own series, according to Adler, it's very clear that Clark isn't the person calling the shots during his two-episode arc.
"It's [Supergirl's] show, her point of view, and it'll be very evident in those first couple episodes," says Adler. "It's funny that people are obsessed with this [idea that Superman will overwhelm the show]. On any show about a man, if you brought a woman in you wouldn't say, 'Does that woman overshadow the man?' It's a question of how it's handled."
"He's very much a peer as we bring him in," she continues. "Yes, he has a little bit more experience with superhero-ing, but she has much more experience of being on Krypton. She has that information that he needs, that he craves. I think they're very much equals as not just Kryptonians on Earth but as super-people."
Supergirl premieres Monday, Oct. 10 at 8/7c on The CW.