In the hopes that fans aren't feeling too superheroed out just yet, DC Comics is adding yet another costumed crusader to its TV universe. With episodes that premiere both on streaming and on broadcast TV, Stargirl may or may not be an official part of the CW's Arrowverse franchise. While you'd think questions like that ought to be sorted out by now, the answers are perhaps less clear than viewers might hope. We'll do our best to get to the bottom of the issue.
First off, know that this Stargirl has no relation to the TV movie of the same name that premiered on Disney+ back in March of this year. Although also centered on a teenage girl, the Disney version was a musical romantic drama and, to the best of our knowledge, its main character had no super powers other than a quirky personality and a talent for singing.
The Stargirl in question is based on a DC Comics heroine who first appeared in four-color print in the late 1990s. Like many comic book heroines of the time, the character was sexed-up with large breasts, rock-hard abs, and a penchant for wearing midriff-bearing crop tops and spandex bike shorts to accentuate her figure, because that's what male comic artists believed was some sort of platonic ideal of womanhood.
Needless to say, some of those attributes haven't aged well. The TV adaptation may struggle with staying true to its source material while also courting a modern audience that probably expects something a little more enlightened.
The new Stargirl series follows the adventures of Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger), a high school sophomore who discovers that her stepfather Pat (Luke Wilson) used to be the sidekick to powerful superhero Starman (Joel McHale), a member of the disbanded Justice Society of America super team. After inheriting Starman's cosmic staff, Courtney is granted powers including flight, enhanced strength, and energy manipulation. Using these, she takes on the persona of Stargirl and eventually leads an all new JSA with the help of Pat and a hulking robot super-suit he created, called S.T.R.I.P.E.
At the very least, the character's young age in this version could help to explain her questionable fashion sense.
Stargirl was developed for the DC Universe subscription streaming service and premieres there today, with new episodes released weekly on Mondays. However, in a first for the platform, episodes will also air on traditional broadcast TV on the CW network the next day, followed later by availability on the CW's free streaming service. Benefits to subscribing to DC Universe include 4K Ultra HD quality streaming without ads, whereas the same episodes on the CW will be lower resolution with commercials.
Much like Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and all the rest of the DC Comics shows that air on the CW network, Stargirl was produced by Greg Berlanti. Furthermore, the character made her first on-screen appearance this year with a walk-on cameo at the end of the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event. This would all seem to suggest that the show is meant to be a new official spinoff of the Arrowverse franchise.
Unfortunately, nothing in the Arrowverse or DC Comics worlds can ever be quite so simple. The Infinite Earths crossover also incorporated numerous cameos from other DC properties that are decidedly not part of the Arrowverse, including Smallville, Superman Returns, Lucifer, the campy 1966 Batman, and even Batman: The Animated Series. The conceit at work was that all of these characters exist in separate universes within a greater connected multiverse. However, the event concluded with the multiverse being destroyed and all of the Arrowverse shows being consolidated into a single surviving Earth.
Confusingly, almost immediately after being told that it was destroyed, we learned that a new multiverse exists, comprised of alternate universes where Swamp Thing, Titans, and the upcoming Green Lantern series reside, among others. It was during this sequence that Stargirl was introduced, with a caption specifically stating that she lives on Earth-2. Whether these new universes are meant to be part of the Arrowverse is unclear. (Is Stargirl's Earth-2 the same world where Harry Wells and Jesse Quick live, or a new one with the same name?) Following Infinite Earths, all of the characters officially within the Arrowverse have been under the impression that the multiverse is gone for good and they can no longer cross over to other universes. If that holds true, Stargirl may never get to interact with the Flash, Supergirl, or Batwoman.
Muddying the waters even more is the fact that a different, older version of Stargirl played by actress Sarah Grey had a brief run in Season 2 of Legends of Tomorrow. Is she meant to be the Arrowverse's official Stargirl, or was her existence wiped out during Crisis? No answers are available at present.
Series creator Geoff Johns has hinted that Stargirl might eventually cross over with the Arrowverse, but definitely not this season. And if that doesn't work out, maybe she'll cross over with the DC Extended Universe feature film characters instead. It sounds like the show's status is up in the air at the moment and nothing firm has been decided.
If this lack of concrete answers feels a bit frustrating, remember that Black Lightning went two-and-a-half seasons before being officially integrated into the Arrowverse. It's entirely possible that Stargirl could follow a similar path before being allowed to meet Barry Allen, Kara Danvers, or Kate Kane.
The premiere episode of Stargirl is now streaming on DC Universe. It airs on The CW Tuesday night at 8:00 PM ET.
People are talking about Stargirl in our forums. Join the conversation.
Josh Zyber has written about TV, movies, and home theater for the past two decades. Most recently, he spent more than nine years managing a daily blog at High-Def Digest.