SPOILER ALERT: The following column contains spoilers for The Flash.
It feels a bit like blasphemy to say it here in Super Here For… of all places, but I really didn’t miss Superman while watching The Flash.
I was there to see a Flash movie, after all, and I’ve never been the biggest fan of turning solo movies into big continuity-furthering crossovers. Admittedly, The Flash comes a bit close to that and that's part of the issue. The movie already has a heroic Kryptonian in it—Supergirl. Kal-El’s free to sit this one out.
I’ve been writing this column for a few years now, so I guess it’s time to come clean about my dirty little secret: I like Supergirl just as much as Superman. And in some ways, I like her even more.
Much like the Man of Steel or any classic superhero, really, it feels like everyone has their own opinions when it comes to Kara Zor-El, so my thoughts on her may be different than yours. However, I’ve never felt that Supergirl should be written as a female version of Superman. Yes, they share similar ideals—they come from the same Kryptonian family, after all. But Kara is a much different person. She’s younger and still figuring out her path as a hero. That means that she’s going to make mistakes and do things that she later regrets. Like most teenagers or young adults, she’s more idealistic than her older cousin, but she also tends to be a lot angrier. She was a Red Lantern, after all.
Sasha Calle embodies all of these things in The Flash. Her Supergirl is often unpredictable and driven by a fury over the harm that’s been done to her and that (we discover) has been done to Kal-El. However, she’s also idealistic—taking the time to explain the meaning of the symbol she wears in a scene that hearkens back to Clark’s similar explanation in Man of Steel. Kara seems to bond with and have a slightly stronger relationship with the younger version of Barry in The Flash, and I think this may be why. They both share a youthful optimism and determination that things can be better, and an unwillingness to accept otherwise.
Unfortunately, that outlook gets them both in trouble.
I don’t want to get too heavy into spoilers, but it’s impossible to make my point without spoiling a key part of Kara’s story in The Flash, so if you haven’t yet seen the film, consider yourself warned.
In the movie’s climactic battle against Zod and his invading Kryptonian army, Kara learns that Zod intercepted Kal-El’s pod prior to it reaching Earth, thinking the baby Kryptonian held the key to powering up the world engine and its terraforming capabilities. In this alternate Earth, that wasn’t the case—Kara is the actual key. However, the process of discovering this cost Kal-El his life.
Kara is enraged when she learns this and relentlessly attacks Zod, and to be fair, it’s pretty effective at first. After powerfully hammering him into the side of one of his ships, she turns her back on Zod, who appears subdued, only to get stabbed by him through the heart with the collection device. Kara dies quickly after that, leaving the two Flashes to wonder what went wrong.
In response, they travel back a few minutes in time, trying to prevent her death at Zod’s hands. Younger Barry does this several times, in fact, and each time he’s unsuccessful, until his older counterpart tells him that this is an inevitable point in the timeline. It’s destined to happen, and nothing they can do can change it.
If you’ve seen the film, you know how younger Barry responds to that, but I want to talk about what it means for Supergirl. Is this version of Kara Zor-El truly dead? Did our heroes save her from a Russian black site, risking their lives in the process and likely causing an international incident, just for her to die at the hands of Zod? We’d just gotten to know Sasha Calle’s captivating take on the Girl of Steel. Are you telling us this one movie is all we get?
Unfortunately, I can’t answer that question. All I can do is speculate and share my personal thoughts as a fan. That said, it’s worth mentioning that during this year’s DC Studios press event where James Gunn and Peter Safran announced the upcoming Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow movie, they explicitly said that they might not be recasting Supergirl for it. They left the door open for Sasha Calle to return.
Of course, that’s not a guarantee. They didn’t promise that she’d be back and the creative process behind these shared universe superhero franchises is a complicated one. If at some point they decide it makes more creative and business sense to recast the role, then that’s what they’re going to do. At this point, no one knows. If anyone says they do, they’re lying or they’re traveling through time and putting all of reality at risk. Either way, it’s best to avoid them.
But if that’s a discouraging thought to you, I suggest we look to the Flash movie for comfort. After all, if it says anything about DC and its films, it’s that even the ones that seem to be completely unconnected are all part of the same multiverse. And we know that at one point, there were endings to The Flash that featured Calle’s Supergirl making an appearance at the courthouse where Henry Allen is having his appeal hearing. None of these are the ending that’s in theaters now, but we know they were shot.
To me, that means those realities exist. They’re somewhere out in the DC Multiverse. I really do hope that we get to see Calle’s Supergirl again. I thought she was excellent in the role and I’d love to see her return to it. Maybe it’ll be in a future film, but even if it’s not, we know that there are worlds out there in which Kara Zor-El flies again. She’s fighting for hope alongside her Flashy new friend, Barry Allen, in the multiverse which, on another world, she sacrificed herself to save.
Tim Beedle covers movies, TV and comics for DC.com, writes our monthly Superman column, "Super Here For...", and is a regular contributor to the Couch Club, our recurring television column. Follow him on Twitter at @Tim_Beedle.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Tim Beedle and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros., nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.