Stargirl Creator Explains The 'Grander Universe' With John Wesley Shipp's Jay Garrick And Joel McHale's Starman

the flash jay garrick stargirl starman
(Image credit: The CW)

The CW is the place to be on broadcast TV when it comes to DC Comics superhero action, and Stargirl (starring Brec Bassinger as the titular superhero) will return for Season 2 in August. The show will officially get one step closer to the larger Arrowverse with even more heroes at the forefront, with appearances from John Wesley Shipp's speedster Jay Garrick and Joel McHale's Starman on the way. Stargirl creator and showrunner Geoff Johns previewed the "grander universe" of Season 2, with these two stars and heroes in the mix.

News broke back in February that John Wesley Shipp would make an appearance in Stargirl Season 2, which was a big deal right off the bat even before there were many details about what is in store. Although Shipp's time playing a speedster technically started in 1990 as star of CBS' short-lived The Flash series, the version of Jay Garrick he'll bring to Stargirl is one he debuted in the Arrowverse's Flash. Geoff Johns explained what Shipp will bring to Stargirl at a press event via EW, saying:

I grew up watching The Flash TV show, he was my favorite superhero when I was a kid and I was blown away by John Wesley Shipp when he played The Flash and then lucky enough to work with him on The Flash. And when he started playing Jay Garrick and we introduce our version of the Justice Society and we're on Earth-2 like the comics, we're on our own Earth, separate from the rest of these shows, but to have John play Jay Garrick, The Flash, in Stargirl, it connects our universe directly with the other shows and also shows that we're part of a grander universe.

John Wesley Shipp will reprise his role as Jay Garrick in the ninth episode of Stargirl Season 2 as the Golden Age Flash, part of the previous incarnation of Earth-2 Justice Society of America. Stargirl had previously established that there have been some of the same heroes on Earth-2 as Earth-1 (and later Earth Prime), but with different people wearing the mask. At the same time, Season 2 cast a former Arrow villain actor to play an entirely different Stargirl villain, so Stargirl connecting to the Arrowverse courtesy of Jay Garrick is certainly going to be interesting.

And Geoff Johns is already thinking about what a direct connection between Stargirl and the Arrowverse could mean for Courtney Whitmore and her friends' adventures moving forward. The creator shared the potential impact of John Wesley Shipp's Jay Garrick on Stargirl, saying that it:

opens up the door to opportunities for us to, eventually, interact with those characters. And that was important. Just like the comics. And when we eventually do it, we'll do it in a hopefully very special Stargirl way.

None of this is to say that another "Crisis" is on the way to bring Stargirl to Earth Prime to join The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and the rest, even though the upcoming end of Supergirl does mean that a vacancy is on the way when it comes to a superhero show centered on an optimistic young female hero. Still, Stargirl is nine episodes away from getting much closer to the Arrowverse than the likes of Titans, for example, even though characters from both shows cameoed in the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover event.

But what about the hero who briefly appeared at the end of Stargirl Season 1, who hasn't had an Arrowverse doppelganger turn up already? Joel McHale's appearance as Sylvester Pemberton in the first season finale came as a surprise, but Starman seemingly isn't returning to the action to try and rejoin the JSA, but rather reunite with former sidekick Pat, played by Luke Wilson. Geoff Johns previewed Joel McHale in Season 2, saying:

In the best comic books I always love the long-brewing subplots and the return of Starman, Sylvester Pemberton, is one of those. You will see him come in to play in season 2, both in flashbacks — we have a really cool episode 209, it's got a Justice Society flashback with the original members with Luke and Joel and the other JSA founders — and then you'll see Joel McHale into the later half of the season.

A promotional photo for Season 2 confirms that Joel McHale will appear as Sylvester Pemberton in the premiere, but only time will tell on subsequent appearances between Episode 1 and Episode 9. It does sound like McHale will share the screen with John Wesley Shipp, since Shipp's appearance is slated to be in Episode 9. Plus, Luke Wilson (whose brother joined a Marvel universe over the summer) will appear as Pat, so fans clearly have a lot to look forward to.

Stargirl returns for Season 2 on Tuesday, August 10 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW, a year after the Season 1 finale in 2020. DC Comics heroes have a strong presence on superhero TV thanks to The CW, and more are returning to the network in the fall.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).