Stargirl: Geoff Johns Talks Tone; Difference Between CW, DCU Premieres

With The CW and DC Universe's upcoming live-action Stargirl now only days away from taking flight, series showrunner and character creator Geoff Johns looks forward to presenting a different perspective on becoming a superhero than they're used to in other Arrowverse shows (if you're surprised by that, you might want to check out the network's mega-crossover event "Crisis on Infinite Earths"). Brec Bassinger's Courtney Whitmore isn't coming from some "personal tragic background" that finds her "patrolling the city streets, delivering justice". Courtney's a teenager who has her hands full being a teenager, with new stepdad Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson) not exactly making life smoother. Also, this isn't Gotham, Metropolis, or Star City: it's Blue Valley, Nebraska, where leaping tall buildings in a single bound isn't quite the feat.

Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore and Luke Wilson as Pat Dungan in Stargirl, courtesy of The CW.
Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore and Luke Wilson as Pat Dungan in Stargirl, courtesy of The CW.

It's those very reasons that Johns believe differentiates the series from other superhero shows currently on the air, telling EW: "I love that they're kids because kids' paths are uncertain. We see them make mistakes and we see them succeed, and we see them figure out who they are and who they want to be. By playing with this younger generation taking on legacies of the older generation and having someone like Pat Dugan be their chaperone and mentor in a way, it has a very different feel, because it both ties into the original superheroes who started it all and then looks forward by having this generation embrace their legacies and improve upon them in some ways, but also find their own ways of doing things, just like generations do in real life."

While the series won't go light on the action and drama, Johns wants the series to have that all-ages-allowed vibe much like another Arrowverse series: "Because the show is about family, it should for families, much like The Flash is. It's important for the character, too, because it's true to who Stargirl is. She's a fun, colorful character through the JSA stories, [which] are inspirational and aspirational but still have real stakes. People get hurt and it's dangerous, and this isn't just a game, and the villains are villainous, but at the same time you still want to embody the tone of who the character is [and ensure that it] translates from the comics to the TV show."

Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore in Stargirl, courtesy of The CW.
Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore in Stargirl, courtesy of The CW.

If you've noticed a different, more cinematic look to the series from the teasers and trailer, there's a reason. The series is utilizing previsualization, a technique for handling special effects-heavy scenes that have primarily been used for big-budget blockbuster films in the past. But the effects will also be effectively practical, with the S.T.R.I.P.E. armor developed by Legacy Effects (creator of Tony Stark's Iron Man armor from the films) and Courtney's staff fighting coordinated by Walter Garcia, who previously worked on Captain Marvel. "Utilizing all these tools that we used on Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Shazam [allowed us to] not only have these great emotional, heartwarming, fun stories but also these visuals that you haven't seen in superhero shows before," Johns says. "I can't wait for people to see the opening scene. I don't think people really expect Stargirl to be visually as big as it is."

As for the series airing on both The CW and DC Universe, Johns wants it clear that there will be a difference between the cuts of the first and second episodes. To accommodate commercials, 10 minutes out of each episode had to be cut (DC Universe will air the complete episode): "We had to lift some scenes out of 1 and 2. It was painful to do, but I was thrilled it was going to be on broadcast as well as streaming. The more people see the show, the more people get to meet Stargirl and the Justice Society. I really hope the characters connect with people that don't even know them."

Here's A Look At Who Else Is Helping or Hindering Stargirl

Joining Courtney and Pat's new Justice Society of America are Anjelika Washington's Beth Chapel aka Doctor Mid-Nite, Yvette Monreal's Yolanda Montez aka Wildcat, and Cameron Gellman's Rick Tyler aka Hourman. Looking to end their "do-gooding" for good is the Injustice Society's Henry King aka Brainwave (Christopher James Baker); Paula Brooks aka Tigress (Joy Osmanski); Lawrence "Crusher" Crock aka Sportsmaster (Neil Hopkins); Dr. Ito aka Dragon King (Nelson Lee); and Jordan Mahkent aka Icicle (Neil Jackson).

The live-action series also stars Amy Smart (Barbara Whitmore), Joel McHale (Sylvester Pemberton aka Starman), Lou Ferrigno Jr. (Rex Tyler aka Hourman), Brian Stapf (Ted Grant aka Wildcat). Joining them this season are Henry Thomas (Dr. Charles McNider aka Dr. Mid-Nite), Meg DeLacy (Cindy aka Dragon King's daughter), and Trae Romano (Courtney's step-brother). Jake Austin Walker (Rectify), Hina Khan (Hit The Floor), and newcomer Hunter Sansone are also on board. Geoff Johns (Arrow, Batwoman, The Flash, Titans) executive produces with Melissa Carter (Queen Sugar), who serves as co-showrunner, as well as Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter. Based on the characters from DC created by Johns, Stargirl is produced by Berlanti Productions and Mad Ghost Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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