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Kevin Smith officially made his Supergirl directorial debut with the midseason premiere. The episode was appropriately called "Supergirl Lves" in reference to Smith's infamous Superman Lives film script that never got off the ground. As it turns out, Supergirl snuck in another nod to Superman Lives in "Supergirl Lives," and it was one that not all viewers may have caught. Kevin Smith revealed the subtle "Supergirl Lives" shout-out to Superman Lives, saying this:
At one point you will hear someone say 'Thanagarian snare beast.' It's not used in any sort of 'Look out! Here comes one!' way, but it's dropped very casually. And not in a way that interrupts the episode, if you're like 'Hey, man, I hate inside jokes.' It's a nice little Easter egg placement if you know that old story. And if you don't, it's just a reference to Thanagar. So even if you don't know shit about Kevin Smith, it's still 'I heard him say Thanagarian! That's cool!'
Kevin Smith was first attached to a Superman project back in 1997 when he was hired by Warner Bros. to rewrite the Superman Lives script for a movie that would be directed by Tim Burton and star Nicolas Cage as Superman. Writing the script sounds like one of the crazier experiences in Smith's live as he had to write to a curious set of demands from the film's producer. One of the demands involved Superman battling a giant spider, which Smith called a "Thanagarian snare beast." The project was obviously never made, but Supergirl paid homage to the intended movie monster in the midseason premiere.
For those who had never even heard of Superman Lives, the reference to a Thanagarian snare beast could have easily been a one-off joke. Mon-El casually mentioned the critters to Kara when they were watching the alien Jo cook a pot of some kind of mystery meat, and it felt much more like a joke about a creature that most of us wouldn't want to eat than a reference to a script. For casual fans, the comment was a gag to add some levity to a serious situation. For Kevin Smith fans, the mention of Thanagar was a fun shout-out to the homeworld of the hawk-people known as Thanagarians. The sneaky snare beast was a win-win-win.
The mention of the Thanagarian snare beast was nearly one of two nods to Superman Lives, and the second came when the reluctant Winn faced the prospect of going to Slaver's Moon. Kevin Smith had this to say in his chat with IGN about a second reference that almost made it into the episode:
At one point in this episode he's forced to leave the planet. He doesn't want to go on the journey and he's listing the things that could be on the other side of the stargate. 'They're could be anything over there!' He lists two things and then the third one was 'A giant spider!' We didn't wind up shooting it. We cut the scene because it was just kinda long, so that went away. But Eric [Carrasco], one of the writers of the episode, was able to find another place.
As much as I can relate to Winn's perfectly reasonable fear of encountering a giant spider, I have to say that the passing reference to the Thanagarian snare beast may have been a better Easter egg than Winn freaking out. The snare beast comment was totally in passing and didn't jump out as a joke that casual viewers were missing out on and needed to research; the giant spider mention might have felt like an Easter egg that stuck out of the script. Folks who hate inside jokes may not have enjoyed the mention of the giant spider, but few might be able to complain about the Thanagarian snare beast.