If you checked out the series premiere of Stargirl this week on either DC Universe or on The CW (or both since there was extra content on the streaming service), you may have caught it. But if you didn't, or haven't watched it yet but don't mind a minor spoiler, there was what lead Brec Bassinger referred to in a tweet following the broadcast as "the best, most important Easter egg in this entire first season." The moment comes as Bassinger's Courtney is packing up her life in California for the move with her new family to Nebraska. The camera sweeps over her trophies and photographs to give viewers a sense of the life she was leaving, and in one of the photos, we see our future Stargirl posing with the late Courtney Johns, younger sister of Stargirl creator and series showrunner Geoff Johns (Arrow, Batwoman, The Flash, Titans).
Johns' 18-year-old sister Courtney was one of the 230 people who lost their lives in the TWA Flight 800 crash back in July 1996. Johns would go on to create Courtney Whitmore aka Stargirl to honor his late sister's memory, and now her presence is officially a part of the larger DCU/Arrowverse. "My sister was a ball of energy and so optimistic and unafraid," Johns explained. "I wanted to try to capture some of that in a character that would be around forever." But for Johns, it's not just that personal connection to the character that makes Courtney Whitmore fun to write but also her hopeful determination: "I find Courtney to be one of the easiest characters to write because she's always going to try; to me, that is a really inspiring trait. She sees the potential in this old sidekick Pat Dugan where others haven't. She sees potential in the high school kids who have been overlooked that she recruits into the Justice Society. She finds value in people that others have dismissed."
— Brec Bassinger (@Brecbassinger) May 20, 2020
As much as Johns understands that things would've been different back during the early days of his career, he appreciates Stargirl getting the series treatment now so that he could serve as showrunner: "I don't know. It never crossed my mind. If a Stargirl show would have been made back then, yeah, someone else would have had to do it. There's great people I would have partnered with. But it would have been really hard. I don't think about it a lot because it's already happening, but I'm grateful I'm in there because it would be really tough to watch someone else do it." Johns is honest and unapologetic when he discusses how protective he is of how Courtney Whitmore is portrayed: "I'll be honest, I get incredibly particular with the way she appears. There's been things she's in that I love and things I haven't. I know I get blinders on with her. That's why I wanted to showrun, because I'm very obsessive about her tone and what I saw the show being. I want it to be celebratory of where she came from in spirit."
Welcome to The World of Stargirl Season One
Joining Courtney's new Justice Society of America are her stepdad Pat Dugan (Luke Wilson) aka Stipesy aka S.T.R.I.P.E., 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. Johns 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.