A ton of comic book TV news was flying around this weekend, with San Diego Comic-Con bringing together some of the fan-friendliest shows and casts in the business. Like the rest of The CW's Arrow-verse dramas, Supergirl celebrated a lot of big positives going into its new season. Of course, the unfortunate lowlight was the news that star Mehcad Brooks will be leaving the show during Season 5.
Speaking to audiences during Supergirl's Comic-Con panel, Mehcad Brooks obviously spent some time addressing his impending exit, which was something he chose to do himself. It turns out saying it would happen was easier than having to actually go through with it for the actor. Here's his emotional response:
I’ve been here since Day 1. I can honestly say that I’ve never done a series before where so many people get along this well for this long. It’s really a lot tougher than I thought it would be because I loved these people [Tears up.] I loved them, I truly, truly loved them. They’re my family.
As stated, Mehcad Brooks' James Olsen has been a core element of Supergirl since Season 1 on CBS, and the character only developed further as each CW season went by. Given the comic character's universal ties to Superman and Supergirl, it was something of a surprise to hear the news, but fans can be sure that showrunners Robert Rovner and Jessica Queller will send Brooks off in a way that both respects his past work and allows for future returns when possible.
Even though the road will likely be paved for Pulitzer Prize-winner James Olsen to return, Mehcad Brooks is still in the midst of coping with the fact that he'll be saying goodbye. During the panel, he gave an impassioned explanation for why Supergirl is the most important job that he's had in his career to this day.
I’m just really proud of what we were able to accomplish the last five years. I didn’t grow up able to see a superhero look like me at all. The fact that these guys took a chance on somebody who does not look like Jimmy Olsen and made me him, and then made me a superhero and then we actually dealt with racism and put it in the context of bullying. I get people who come up to me today with their kids and say, ‘That episode changed how we dealt with people bullying my son.’ This is the most important job of my life so far.
Before Supergirl, Mehcad Brooks was familiar to TV viewers for a handful of different roles, including those on USA's Necessary Roughness, ABC's Desperate Housewives and HBO's True Blood. But for all that those roles did for him as an actor, they almost definitely didn't make him a role model to as many people as his Superman gig has. Though it might be his own choice to leave, Brooks still appeared as if leaving (mostly) for good will be a heartbreaking endeavor.
For those curious, Mehcad Brooks isn't interested in leaving the entertainment world behind. Not the in the slightest. Rather, he reportedly aims to take his career in other directions, both with a cable series he's developing and with a bigger focus on feature films. He's penning a book as well, so Supergirl fans might be hearing from and seeing a lot more of the actor than ever in the near future.
As far as James' actual exit goes, no details have been revealed just yet, although no one should expect him to be attempting to run CatCo from a remote location. The news broke over the weekend that Veronica Mars' Julie Gonzalo was cast as Supergirl's Andrea Rojas, better known to comic fans as Acrata. Andrea, a Mexican business woman with grand ideals, will be taking over as the new head of CatCo in Season 5. She sounds like even more of a renegade than Cat herself, though, so watch out.
While one familiar face will be leaving, another will be returning to Supergirl. Kara's best buddy Winn Schott will be around for a few episodes in Season 5, with Jeremy Jordan reportedly returning. He won't be around until the second half of the season, after the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover has done its damage to the multiverse.
Speaking of that crossover, it will see Legends of Tomorrow's Brandon Routh finally reprising his titular Superman Returns role along with his usual characters, with the Arrow-verse's standard Superman, played by Tyler Hoechlin, also taking part. It's all about different time frames, as it usually goes with the Arrow-verse.