‘Supergirl’: First look images of Melissa Benoist in costume revealed

March 06, 2015 | 1:42 p.m.

The first images of CBS’ upcoming “Supergirl” series have revealed the Kryptonian heroine’s new costume. And many can breathe a sigh of relief, because unlike some recent versions of her comic book counterpart, the TV Supergirl won’t have to wear a midriff costume.

The two images show series star Melissa Benoist in the traditional “super” combo of red, blue and gold. And in keeping with other DC Comics properties on screen, the lighting seems to emphasize a darker take on the character. But she is smiling in one of the photos, which promises she won’t be quite as brooding as some of her comic book colleagues.

Melissa Benoist plays Kara Zor-El with a smile in this early shot from "Supergirl." (Bonnie Osborne / Warner Bros. Entertainment)

Melissa Benoist plays Kara Zor-El with a smile in this early shot from “Supergirl.” (Bonnie Osborne / Warner Bros. Entertainment)

The costume was designed by Oscar-winner Colleen Atwood, who also designed the costumes for DC’s “The Flash” and “Arrow” on the CW.

In a statement, Atwood said, “In designing Supergirl, I wanted to embrace the past, but more importantly, thrust her into the street-style action hero of today.”

Benoist, whose previous screen credits include “Glee” and “Whiplash,” plays Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El (a.k.a. Kara Danvers). Like Kal-El, Kara escaped Krypton before it was destroyed and arrived on Earth after her cousin, with whom she shares an array of superhuman abilities.

The show will focus on a 24-year-old Kara who is ready to stop hiding her powers and become a hero.

Other members of the cast include “Homeland” star David Harewood as Department of Extra-Normal Operations head Hank Henshaw, “Grey’s Anatomy” actress Chyler Leigh as Supergirl’s foster sister, “True Blood” star Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy Olsen, Calista Flockhart (“Ally McBeal,” “Brothers & Sisters”) as media magnate Cat Grant and Laura Benanti (“Nashville,” “Nurse Jackie”) as Kara’s mother, Alura Zor-El.

“Super” alumni Dean Cain, who played Superman in the 1990s ABC series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” and Helen Slater, who played “Supergirl” in the 1984 feature film, have also joined the cast in as-yet-unnamed roles.

“Supergirl” will be written and executive produced by “No Ordinary Family” team Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash”), Ali Adler (“Chuck,” “Glee”) and Andrew Kreisberg (“Arrow,” “The Flash”), with Sarah Schechter (“Pan”) also executive producing.

Production on the pilot episode began this week. It has already received a series commitment from CBS, though no premiere date has been announced.

The full costume can be viewed below.

Melissa Benoist plays Superman's cousin, who shares his Kryptonian powers in "Supergirl." (Bonnie Osborne / Warner Bros. Entertainment)

Melissa Benoist plays Superman’s cousin, who shares his Kryptonian powers in “Supergirl.” (Bonnie Osborne / Warner Bros. Entertainment)

— Patrick Kevin Day and Noelene Clark | @LATHeroComplex


Actress Melissa Benoist is photographed at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)Melissa Benoist to star in ‘Supergirl’

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14 Responses to ‘Supergirl’: First look images of Melissa Benoist in costume revealed

  1. John says:

    I don't know whether I'm being sexist or this show is, but why do producers always require their powerful male super heroes to bulk up before getting in front of a camera (see Cavill, Affleck, Evans, Renner, etc.), but for their super strong female super heroes they don't even bother requiring them to look even passably athletic?

  2. samer says:

    just true

  3. Fred S says:

    I am not impressed. First and foremost, why isn't Supergirl blonde? In the same way that the character of Superman has black hair, Supergirl has blonde hair. Don't mess with tradition…

    And the new costume leaves a lot to be desired. What's with those moronic tights under the skirt? Take a look at the Helen Slater version of Supergirl – they got it right.

  4. John says:

    Can one of you site moderatos please explain to me why my previous comment was not posted here? As far as I can tell, there was absolutely nothing profane or even objectionable about it, so let me try this again. I am simply wondering why the producers of all these superhero programs (on TV and in movies) go to such lengths to insure that their male leading actors (Cavill, Downey, Evans, Affleck, even the KickAss actor, etc.) build heroic-looking physiques, yet make no similar effort to see that their female hero counterparts transform into something even passably athletic (Benoist here and the actress cast to play Wonder Woman). It seems sort of sexist to me.

    Was this too objectionable a thing to ask here at the Hero Complex?

    • Dexter Wong says:

      None of the TV or movie superheroines I've seen have been muscular. Linda Carter did not have big muscles when she played Wonder Woman, Scarlett Johassen was not muscle-bound when she played Black Widow in the Avengers, so I don't see why this is an issue. Anyway, Supergirl is supposed to be an average-zaftig girl who can juggle cars and bounce a hail of bullets off her body. She doesn't need to look like a body-builder on TV or film.

      • John says:

        Okay, I appreciate your response, Dexter. But to use your observation, that none (or at least few) of the previous actresses who have played superheroes in the past ever have ever shown any real athleticism (or the bodies that go with an athlete) is exactly why I bring this up. And why is Supergirl "supposed" to look average when she has the same kind of powers–and certainly the same planetary origins–as Superman? I'm sure the character of Superman doesn't lift weights to look like he does, so why wouldn't Supergirl's body reflect the same over-muscled phenomenon that goes with all that strength? Hey, I'm not one to scream out on behalf of feminism ideals, but this just seems disingenuous to me, I mean totally, glaringly sexist. Why does Superman "need" to look like a body builder, yet she doesn't? Makes no sense, physiologically anyway. It really is simple, I'm sure. These characters were all created in a completely different, less aware time.

    • Laer Carroll says:

      You just expected your post to appear more quickly than it did. It shows up as the very first post in this thread.

      • John says:

        You're right. I wrote that first post two days before it was posted–and it wasn't a weekend, so I assumed (at my paranoid worst) that it wasn't being allowed for some objectionable content reason. I was wrong.

  5. keith says:

    Remember John their superpowers for superman and superwoman are not based on muscles but on the density of the body and yellow sun rays.

    • John says:

      I got it, Keith, but why then is Superman so muscled, like an human body builder? Why doesn't Supergirl's physique reflect the same kind of hyper-musculature? There really is no reasonable explanation in the cannon, right? Like I said in another response above, why make the male actors work so hard to get so big, yet ignore the women. Sort of rhetorical because it's all about the producers' idea of the ideal man and woman. Visually, he's big and muscled, while she's small and petite. An extremely dated construct if you ask me.

      • robseasy2005 says:

        Are you saying that Supergirl should have/needs a washboard stomach to prove her super strength?

      • John says:

        Sure. Especially when her male counterpart does. You want a metrosexual Superman? Neither do I.

  6. Jimmy says:

    Supergirl definitely needs to be blonde. This may not seem like a big deal to non comic book fans, but truly, Supergirl's hair color is almost as important to her character as her costume. Her blonde locks essentially identify her as Kara Zor el and without it you don't have the Supergirl we know. You have some other kryptonian super person.
    CBS needs to stop messing with/changing comic book lore and DC needs to take a stand. If CBS has a problem with KEEPING Supergirl blonde then they should change the name of the series and create their own female – brunette or whatever superheroine.

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