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In the comics, the reason Supergirl is named Supergirl is because she was only a teenager when she met and trained with Superman to hone her special powers given to her by Earth’s yellow sun. Basically, her title is meant to be an indication of her young age (and, of course, to differentiate her from any characters named “Superwoman”).
This makes us wonder why the Supergirl that will be featured in the upcoming CBS series has that name, given that she will be aged up to be 24 when she first hones her powers.
This under-the-radar bit of info comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter’s story from a few days ago, when it was officially revealed that Supergirl has gotten a series commitment from CBS. In that write-up, the trade included a brief breakdown of the show’s plot, and in doing so revealed that there will be a slight but interesting change made to the titular character’s origin:
The hourlong drama… centers on Kara Zor-El, Superman's cousin, who was born on the planet Krypton and escaped amid its destruction years ago. Since arriving on Earth, she has been hiding the powers she shares with her famous cousin. But now at age 24, she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be.
For comparison, going back to the original Supergirl’s debut in 1959, the character was introduced as one of the only survivor of Argo City, part of Krypton that managed to stay intact after the planet’s explosion and drifted through space as a result. When the inhabitants begin to die due to exposure to Green Kryptonite, the young Kara Zor-El is sent to Earth by her father, Zor-El, to be brought up by Superman. Living at an orphanage and adopting the name Linda Lee, she begins training with her mentor and by the time she starts attending high school she is allowed to start openly be a superhero.
So why exactly is this happening? Sure, making Supergirl 24-years-old puts her in the same range as Stephen Amell’s Arrow and Grant Gustin’s Flash, but wouldn’t some more age diversity be kind of a nice thing? And it can’t be a casting thing, because Hollywood has had actors in their 20s (and even 30s) playing teens for decades. The only reasonable explanation I can come up with is that the studio and showrunners Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler want to avoid comparisons to Smallville, but would that really be that hard to do on the creative end?
It will be interesting to see how this whole situation shakes out, but it may be a while before we get any answers, as we still don’t really know the full details of the timetable for the Supergirl series. Stay tuned for more details as they emerge.