A war is coming to Supergirl in season 4!
On one aspect, we now have Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), a beacon of hope and tolerance for all; and on the opposite aspect, we’ve people like Mercy Graves (Rhona Mitra) and Sam Witwer’s Agent Liberty, who characterize worry and search to divide the nation and switch it towards aliens. As you’ll be able to see within the unique new season 4 promo, Kara could have work her reduce out for her as a result of rising anti-alien sentiment has led to hate crimes and the aforementioned fear-mongers are ready to go to war.
“We see the big thematic question of the season: What is stronger, hope or fear?” showrunner Robert Rovner tells EW.
If it wasn’t clear from the promo — which you’ll be able to watch above — the season’s foremost battle between hope and worry of aliens is meant to be an allegory for the real-world immigration debate and racial divisiveness within the states. Not solely that, however the showrunners additionally needed to make use of this season’s arc to additionally make a case for the way you don’t want a cape to be a superhero, too.
“Robert and I really wanted to tell stories this year that were more grounded and reflecting the real world issues,” says EP Jessica Queller. “Part of what interested us was really reflecting reporters and journalists as heroes.”
Under, EW chats with Rovner and Queller concerning the difficulties in tackling these topical points, how Kara handles an issue she merely can’t punch away, and what makes Agent Liberty such a daunting villain.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It’s clear from this promo that this season is utilizing anti-alien sentiment to discover our real-world points. Why did you need to go on this course this season?
JESSICA QUELLER: One of many issues that we love about Supergirl is the power to mirror real-life points which might be happening on the earth and discover them, and our present is all about inclusion and illustration. There’s a lot division in our world. I feel that the majority of us who learn the newspapers are grappling with these points daily. Robert and I, at first of the season, thought that it will be very empowering for us to type of take a look at the problems we’re all coping with by means of the lens of Supergirl, who’s such a hopeful character and represents compassion and assist and hope for all.
ROBERT ROVNER: And the way she will attempt to use her powers and voice for good to attempt to unite a divided nation. We’re excited to have the ability to discover all these points and the way Supergirl and the remainder of our characters converse to that.
QUELLER: And perhaps if, in some small approach, we will transfer the needle of individuals being variety in the direction of each other and tolerant of each other, then we’re doing our half.
Superhero comics have an extended historical past of tackling real-world points, and that’s been extra profitable in some instances and fewer in others. What challenges have you ever encountered to date?
ROVNER: I feel we need to maintain the present topical but entertaining and sort of nonetheless have the hallmarks of “heart, humor, and spectacle.” So we don’t need to —
QUELLER: — get didactic.
ROVNER: So it’s arising with conditions [in which] we will talk about these points, however type of veiled inside the context of our tales. Additionally, we actually need to maintain the present balanced. So, we actually need to make certain we’re representing all sides of the problems that we’re discussing in order that it doesn’t turn out to be one-sided, as a result of on the finish of the day, Supergirl helps and rescues individuals whatever the political aspect that they’re on.
QUELLER: These are robust points. I used to be going to reply your query: The toughest factor is fixing world peace [laughs]. How do you get individuals to be type to at least one one other and pay attention to at least one one other? One of many challenges for Supergirl this yr is that there’s anti-alien sentiment. How does Supergirl fight worry when she is the factor they’re afraid of? I feel these are troublesome points in real-life simply as they’re in dramatic portrayals, and we’re simply all simply sort of soul-searching within the writers room—
ROVNER: —and discussing easy methods to deal with these points —
QUELLER: —and find out how to bridge the divide —
ROVNER: — and the way the characters would do it.
What do you imply by displaying each side?
QUELLER: As an example, we’re working onerous to elucidate in later episodes why our villain Agent Liberty turned a villain and what his historical past, roots and backstory is, which doesn’t excuse his actions, however when you sort of go deeper and take a look at the complete portrait of a human being and perceive why they behave the best way they do, then perhaps that’s a approach to bridge the divide. You possibly can’t attain somebody in the event you don’t perceive why they’re the best way are.
ROVNER: To that finish, for the characters, it’s each about us listening to one another and us listening to what each side should say.
QUELLER: Everybody has ache, and once they act badly, it’s often from a spot of ache.
Talking of Agent Liberty, what makes him such a brand new and formidable opponent for Kara?
ROVNER: I feel as a result of he preys on individuals’s worry — worry of what they don’t perceive — and I feel the motion that he’s creating isn’t one thing she will win in a battle. It’s not about punching him, as a result of he’s only a human man. It’s about discovering a method to fight what he’s doing — creating this division in our nation and this worry amongst a very good a part of the inhabitants of what the aliens are doing to this nation.
QUELLER: One other factor that makes him harmful is that he’s a really highly effective orator and he actually is persuasive. Simply as Supergirl can attain hearts and minds, he has the power to succeed in an enormous viewers, and he’s sensible sufficient to make a compelling argument, which is harmful.
ROVNER: I feel what the viewers will discover very compelling and scary about him is that we spend most of an episode doing his origin story. So we perceive him on a deeper degree than we’ve understood our villains earlier than and we really feel the circumstances that turned him into such a strong villain.
J’onn (David Harewood), who selected to reside as a black man, has been on Earth for years and has seen and skilled all of it. How does J’onn react to this swell of anti-alien sentiment?
ROVNER: For J’onn, he’s one of many first to acknowledge that it’s occurring. As a result of he’s left the DEO and he’s type of dwelling among the many individuals, and he’s dwelling the on the road proximate to different aliens, and he’s type of the one on the entrance strains of understanding what’s occurring earlier than Supergirl is. He’s making an attempt to make an impression on the people who he’s coping with and making an attempt to guard their rights, but in addition making an attempt to determine his path ahead now that he’s given up violence and needs to be far more like his father he was. For him, [it’s a question of] how does he slot in and fight this worry in his personal distinctive method that’s totally different from what Supergirl is doing?
Are you able to tease how Kara tries to struggle this worry as Supergirl and as a reporter?
QUELLER: There’s one scene that’s actually necessary to us this yr, and it’s displaying that being a journalist and freedom of the press are simply as heroic as being a superhero. Kara turns into a hero as Kara Danvers the journalist in a really, very highly effective means utilizing her voice and talking the reality —
ROVNER: — and shining a light-weight on the problems and what’s behind a few of the hate actions that’s taking up the town.
Final season, Kara struggled to stability her human and Kryptonian aspect. The place is Kara’s head at when the season begins?
ROVNER: On the very starting of the season, she’s feeling nice. She seems like she has conquered her demons from seasons previous and type of is aware of who she is as a hero and a reporter, and she or he’s sort of all full steam forward. I feel she’s very constructive about issues, and I feel she doesn’t need issues to vary as a result of she feels she’s on a really constructive path. She turns into disillusioned when she realizes that issues aren’t as constructive as she had hoped that they have been on the earth.
She’s making an attempt to be this beacon of hope, however she represents what individuals hate. How is that weighing on her?
ROVNER: Over the course of the season, sentiment is evolving because it pertains to aliens, and I feel it’s one thing she struggles with to nonetheless give hope and steerage and save individuals once they’re much less constructive concerning the individuals she represents.
QUELLER: It’s undoubtedly one thing she hasn’t confronted earlier than on this degree. That’s her problem for the yr: Tips on how to persevere and be a hero when it’s actually difficult.
ROVNER: We see the large thematic query of the season: What’s stronger, hope or worry?
How is Alex (Chyler Leigh) faring because the DEO’s new director?
ROVNER: She’s badass and superior. She’s taken on so much, and we get to see her newly shaped relationship with Brainy [Jesse Rath] within the first episodes, as a result of we haven’t seen them collectively within the DEO actually. And, you recognize, I feel she’s scuffling with being a pacesetter, particularly in a really evolving state of affairs. The circumstances of the season opener actually set the stage for the entire season. She’s reacting to plenty of fallout and making an attempt to be a pacesetter beneath difficult circumstances —
QUELLER: —And a divided nation and numerous confusion surrounding that and totally different alliances, and methods to handle and be a pacesetter in these occasions.
You point out Brainiac. How is Brainiac becoming into the DEO?
ROVNER: It’s a studying curve.
QUELLER: He has some rising pains at first, they usually’re very charming and humorous. It takes [Brainy and Alex] some time to get into their groove, they usually’re not used to one another.
What’s in retailer for James (Mehcad Brooks) this season?
ROVNER: His position as CatCo editor-in-chief turns into essential because the press turns into essential to our storytelling, and in addition what he represents as Guardian turns into essential, too, and the way Agent Liberty needs to carry James up in a really excessive standing.
Do they view Guardian as somebody who represents their trigger as a result of he’s a human?
ROVNER: Human exceptionalism. They applicable him as a task mannequin to his chagrin.
Does admitting he’s Guardian put his job in jeopardy in any respect?
ROVNER: That’s one thing that’s handled within the first episode. I don’t need to tease that an excessive amount of.
QUELLER: However it’s undoubtedly addressed and resolved in a method or one other.
Supergirl premieres Oct. 14 at eight p.m. on The CW.
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