Melissa Benoist is currently starring in Supergirl on CBS, but this isn’t Kara Zor-El’s first appearance on live-action television. Back when Smallville was still on the air, the Girl of Steel was played by Laura Vandervoort, although this version never donned the red cape. And while the show was still going strong on The CW eight years ago, there were actually talks of spinning off Kara into her own show.
Vandervoort admitted the rumors of her possibly starring in her own Supergirl series were true during an interview with TV Line, though the programming at the time didn’t really allow for it go go very far. She said:
When we were working on Smallville, it wasn’t officially discussed, but I had heard rumblings as well about a series being done. The timing wasn’t right. There were the 90210s and Melrose Place-type shows. And I’m just glad that now we’re seeing the ability to have a female superhero leading the way.
Aside from Smallville, superhero television wasn’t nearly as popular then as it is nowadays, though there were comic book-inspired shows like Heroes. In DC’s case, it was after Arrow’s second season that they really kicked things into high gear with not just The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow also on The CW, but Supergirl on CBS and Gotham on Fox, not to mention the Vertigo properties being adapted. So it’s probably for the best that the Girl of Steel’s TV spotlight was delayed, especially since Supergirl is growing more popular.
Like Supergirl’s Kara, Vandervoort’s character landed on Earth much later than her cousin Kal-El. Much of her first season has seen her getting accustomed to life on Earth while also dealing with unusual challenges, whether it's losing her memory or being targeted by Brainiac. After being a series regular during Smallville Season 7, Vandevoort’s Kara returned for one episode in Season 8 and two episodes in Season 10, and her adventures were later expanded on in the Smallville: Season 11 digital comic series. So she could have used more screentime, but we're not altogether upset that it didn't happen.
While her time as Kara Zor-El is done, Vandervoort isn’t done contributing to DC television. She will appear in tonight’s Supergirl episode “Solitude” as Indigo, a living alien supercomputer who was sentenced to Fort Rozz after turning against the people of Krypton. After escaping imprisonment, she’ll head to National City to cause chaos by playing havoc with the city’s computers. In order to defeat Indigo, Kara and Jimmy Olsen will have to travel to the Fortress of Solitude to obtain the necessary knowledge. Since this role is recurring, fans can look forward to Vandevoort’s character returning for more trouble at a later date.
You can catch Vandervoort on Supergirl tonight at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.