For casual consumers of superhero movies and TV shows, the introduction of a new DC character might not trigger the same excitement that true comics aficionados feel. Popular characters such as Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Superman have been popular with the masses for many years and therefore do well as remakes featuring popular actors and the latest in CGI. The challenge for tv and film producers is to continue producing content in the superhero genre that is fresh and new and appeals to causal viewers and comics fans alike. For executive producer Geoff Johns, this is actually his sweet spot. He thrives on the challenge of taking obscure DC characters and giving them the spotlight.
Stargirl, aka Courtney Whitmore, is a high school sophomore who begrudgingly moves to small-town Nebraska from Los Angeles when her mother remarries. Struggling with the dynamics of a blended family and fitting into a new school, Courtney makes more enemies than friends at first, which is how she ends up spending a Friday night snooping through her stepdad’s garage. Soon, she makes a shocking discovery—her seemingly lame stepdad used to be a superhero! She also discovers some powerful weapons that it turns out she can wield. Courtney begins to question her own origins and her future which will lead her toward some forgotten heroes with the help of her stepdad.
The exciting part of developing an obscure character is that there is some license one can take when fleshing out the character’s personality and motivations. When writing Stargirl, Johns used his own sister, also named Courtney, as inspiration for the character. Courtney died tragically in the summer of 1996 in the TWA 800 crash. Johns wanted to honor Courtney’s spark for life. She stood up for the underdog, always trying to do what was right even if she didn’t always go about it in quite the right way. She was confident, perhaps overly so, which occasionally got her into trouble when her passion interfered with good judgment. These characteristics all play out in Courtney Whitmore during the first episode of Stargirl’s Season 1.
Stargirl’s first season streamed on DC Universe and on the CW beginning in May of 2020. Positive feedback lead to the series securing a second season set to be released sometime in 2021, though no official date has been published. The second season will appear exclusively on the CW. The show is emotional as well as action-packed and makes for family-friendly entertainment.
Stargirl has grabbed the DC spotlight, launching her into the ranks of other well-loved superheroes onscreen.