Stargirl Actor Reflects on 'Honor' Of Playing Character Based On Geoff Johns' Sister, Who Died At A Young Age

Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore on Stargirl (2020)

Playing a superhero in the live-action medium is rarely easy when you consider how much time and effort goes into filming and training. But it’s also an honor, as actors are given the chance to bring beloved characters to life and bring joy to audiences across the globe. This same thing applies to Stargirl’s Brec Bassigner, but she has the added layer of playing a character based on the late sister of Geoff Johns, the show’s creator. While such a prospect would seem nerve-racking to some, Bassinger seems to be taking it in stride.

DC Comics veteran Geoff Johns, who has written many of DC's younger heroes, created the character of Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl in the late ‘90s. He based the young heroine on his sister, Courtney, who died at the age of 18 in the TWA 800 flight explosion in 1996.

While Brec Basssinger was prepping for Stargirl, she and Geoff Johns discussed his sister and just how important it was for him to continue her legacy. The young actress has definitely taken that to heart, and she says Johns has been encouraging as she develops the role:

He told me about [Courtney], he told me about her essence…I remember him saying he wanted, because she wasn't able to continually put her light, he wanted to make this legacy so her light could shine on. And it's truly just an honor that he trusts me to do that. And he's been so complimentary, so any pressures I feel towards that, he eases them—truly.

Aside from Bassinger’s portrayal, the Stargirl crew has also found another way to honor John’s sister. The production crew crafted a photo that features Courtney Johns and Brec Bassinger together. The image only appeared briefly on the show, but Bassinger preserved it on social media and got emotional while discussing it with E!:

I posted on my Instagram, and as I wrote the caption, I got so emotional, just like—[Pauses.] Of course, every single day I went to set, it was a reminder of why we were there. Geoff being there and feeling his passion, it was a constant reminder, but I get so emotional even thinking about it. Sorry. OK, I'm done. But like, yeah.

Even if you didn’t know about Courtney Johns, it’s always been clear that Geoff Johns holds a soft spot for Courtney Whitmore. The plucky youngster has always served as a beacon of hope in the DC Universe, and her upbeat attitude has undoubtedly served as an inspiration to recent generations of comic book readers.

With this, it can definitely be said that both Brec Bassinger and Geoff Johns are firmly carrying the torch for Courtney and are certainly doing her legacy justice.

New episodes of Stargirl premiere every Monday on the DC Universe streaming service before airing on The CW on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.