By Jeffrey Misener
Sunday’s Television Critics Press Tour revealed that there are currently no plans for any appearances of Superman on The CW Network’s shared universe of DC Comics based shows. Actor Tyler Hoechlin debuted in the role this fall on “Supergirl” to wide spread approval. Many had hoped he would get his own series or become a recurring character across the shows, similar to the contract deal the network made with actor Wentworth Miller to play Captain Cold across their various shows. So why sit on a hot commodity? Perhaps they feel his presence and popularity would negatively impact their other Superman based properties. Would he make them redundant?
Kara Danvers and her cousin Clark Kent feel very much from the same family. Both characters are bespectacled adorkable journalists moonlighting in capes. So would that mean that adding Superman is redundant? No. While they are similar, it’s the difference in what’s expected of the gender norms which makes them unique. Both characters are mighty and resilient. Compassionate and gentle. For Supergirl it is her strength that makes the character a rebellion against outdated norms that linger on. Women are expected to be inherently nurturing and sweet, so her physical power and fighter’s spirit is what is highlighted in her character. By showcasing her strength the series reinforces the aspects of women that are sometimes neglected. Supergirl stands then as a role model to women, and a reminder to men of gender equality. So why do we need Superman if Supergirl is his equal?
In the same way Supergirl demonstrates less credited virtues, Superman shows a man of great power who promotes compassion. Men are expected to be strong, but under less encouragement to be gentle. In fact gentility would almost be considered to be an insulting word to some men who would perceive it as “weakness”. In a logical world, one who has power would also be secure enough to not need to lord it over others. Sadly that is not our world. We live in a world where even men who’ve achieved earning billions of dollars feel the need to treat women horribly as a display of power. They enjoy the feeling that their position enables them to “get away with it”. Ma Kent’s son doesn’t play by those rules. He treats everyone with respect and even affection. Superman is a much needed symbol of what men should strive to be in this day and age. Supergirl and Superman; cut from the same cloth, but each unique in what they impart to their audience. Tyler Hoechlin joining The CW on a regular basis wouldn’t diminish Supergirl… but would it step on Henry Cavill’s red boots?
Soaring across the multiplex as the Man of Steel since 2013 is actor Henry Cavill. After a solo debut film and last year’s slugfest “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, he will appear next this summer in DC’s mega crossover film “Justice League”. Amid the line up of DC’s hopeful attempt to replicate Disney’s success with Marvel’s “The Avengers” is The Flash played by Ezra Miller. A solo film starring Miller’s Flash is scheduled to follow on March 16th 2018. His casting was done after the celebrated debut performance of the character on TV by actor Grant Gustin. WB apparently does not think that launching a new Flash franchise while separately continuing an acclaimed television franchise would harm either property. So why would it be any different for Superman? At this moment there is no release date set for a solo Superman film. A renewed interest in the character generated by a possible television revival may even help the odds of a future solo movie.
The skies are big, and there is plenty of space for multiple heroes. We need them… especially now.