We have ourselves a Girl of Steel.
Entertainment Weekly reports that the upcoming CBS series Supergirl has cast Melissa Benoist in the lead role of DC Comics' Supergirl/Kara Zor-El/Kara Danvers. The character is officially described as "Born on the planet Krypton, Kara Zor-El escaped amid its destruction years ago. Since arriving on Earth, she’s been hiding the powers she shares with her famous cousin. But now at age 24, she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be."
The 26-year-old Benoist is best known as Marley Rose on the FOX series Glee, but has also appeared on episodes of Homeland, The Good Wife, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Blue Bloods. She will also appear in the upcoming 2015 Danny Collins.
At the TCA press tour earlier this month, CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler informed critics that Supergirl will be a crime procedural. "The beauty of it is now with shows like Good Wife and Madam Secretary, you can have serialized story elements woven into a case of the week," she said. "She’s a crime solver, so she’s going to have to solve a crime. She’s going to get a bad guy."
Tassler also described the CBS version of Supergirl as "a very strong, independent young woman. She’s coming into her own. She’s dealing with family issues. She’s dealing with work issues. It’s a female empowerment story. If you look at the strong female characters we have on the air, it really is resonant of that…We’re big feminists. It’s her intellect, it’s her skill, it’s her smarts. It’s all of those elements. It’s not just her strength, which she does have."
Created in 1959 by Otto Binder, Al Plastino and Curt Swan, Supergirl first appeared in Action Comics (vol.1) #252 as Kara Zor-El, the daughter of Jor-El's brother Zor-El and cousin to Superman. She was the last survivor of Argo City, which had survived the destruction of the planet Krypton until meteorites of Green Kryptonite penetrated Argo City's protective barrier. Sent to Earth by Zor-El to be raised by her cousin, Kara acquired powers similar to Superman and adopted the secret identity of Linda Lee, a young girl at Midvale Orphanage.
In the current New 52 continuity, Kara's ship lands as part of a meteor shower in Smallville, Kansas, but burrows through the Earth and emerges in Siberia. Kara has no memory of the destruction of Krypton and believes herself to be dreaming. The military tracks her arrival, and a group of American soldiers in mechanized suits immediately attack her. Her powers start emerging as the fight goes on and terrify the surprised Kara. Superman arrives after she defeats the soldiers and tries to convince Kara that he is her cousin, but Kara, still believing that only three days have passed since she last saw baby Kal, accuses him of being an imposter and attacks him. Eventually, Kara accepts that Krypton has been destroyed and that Superman is indeed her grown-up cousin.
This will be the second time Supergirl has been depicted in live-action television, after Laura Vandervoort on the WB/CW series Smallville. Previously, Helen Slater portrayed the character in the 1984 film Supergirl that was a spinoff from the Superman films starring Christopher Reeve. The character has also appeared a number of times in animation, including Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited (voiced by Nicholle Tom), and the Super Best Friends Forever DC Nation animated shorts (voiced by Nicole Sullivan).
Presumably, Supergirl will debut on CBS sometime in September or October.