Stargirl (TV series)

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Stargirl
Stargirl TV series.jpeg
Genre
Created byGeoff Johns
Based on
Courtney Whitmore
by
  • Geoff Johns
  • Lee Moder
Starring
Music byPinar Toprak
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Production
Executive producers
Producers
Cinematography
  • Christopher Manley
  • Scott Peck
  • Michael Karasick
Editors
  • Andi Armaganian
  • Daniel Downer III
  • Mats Abbott
  • Avi Youabian
  • Natalie A. Boschan
  • Joshua Carrillo
  • Matthew Wingard
Running time42–53 minutes
Production companies
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original networkDC Universe (season 1)
Picture format
Original releaseMay 18, 2020 (2020-05-18) –
present (present)
External links
Official website

DC's Stargirl, or simply Stargirl, is an American superhero television series created by Geoff Johns that premiered on streaming service DC Universe. It is based on the DC Comics superhero Courtney Whitmore created by Johns and Lee Moder. The series follows high school student Courtney Whitmore, portrayed by Brec Bassinger, who discovers the cosmic staff and becomes the inspiration for a new generation of superheroes who become the Justice Society of America.

DC Universe ordered the series in July 2018. Bassinger was cast that September, with additional castings for her family members, the Justice Society of America, and the Injustice Society of America through February 2019. Filming for the series began in March 2019 in the Atlanta metropolitan area in Georgia.

Stargirl premiered its first season on May 18, 2020, which consists of 13 episodes. The series also aired the following day on the broadcast network The CW and was made available on The CW's digital platforms. Ahead of the series premiere, characters from the series were featured in the Arrowverse crossover "Crisis on Infinite Earths", establishing Stargirl as existing on a parallel Earth to the Arrowverse series. In July 2020, the series was renewed for a second season by The CW, resulting in Stargirl moving to the network as a CW original series. It is scheduled to air in 2021. The show has received positive reviews from critics.

Premise[edit]

One decade after nearly all of the Justice Society of America (JSA) were killed in a battle against the Injustice Society of America (ISA) during the Christmas season, high school student Courtney Whitmore discovers the Cosmic Staff of Starman and, upon learning that her stepfather Pat Dugan used to be Starman's sidekick, becomes the inspiration for a whole new generation of superheroes.[1]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Brec Bassinger as Courtney Whitmore / Stargirl:
    A high school student from Los Angeles who finds a powerful weapon, the Cosmic Staff, and becomes the superheroine Stargirl.[1] As Stargirl, she also becomes the leader of the second incarnation of the Justice Society of America (JSA).[2] In preparation for the role, Bassinger did not look at the character's previous portrayals by Britt Irvin on Smallville and Sarah Grey on Legends of Tomorrow because they were depicted as "older, more mature version[s]" of Stargirl. Bassinger added that the series follows the comic Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. more "in that she's young, high school, naive, which I wanted to bring that into this version of Stargirl."[2] Maizie Smith portrays a 5-year-old Courtney.
  • Yvette Monreal as Yolanda Montez / Wildcat II:
    A once popular kid at Blue Valley High until a scandal made her an outcast and a disgrace to her Catholic parents. A skilled boxer, she becomes one of Courtney's friends and a member of the new JSA as the new Wildcat.[3]
  • Anjelika Washington as Beth Chapel / Doctor Mid-Nite II: A social reject and nerd who becomes one of Courtney's friends and a member of the new JSA as the new Doctor Mid-Nite.[3]
  • Cameron Gellman as Rick Tyler / Hourman II:
    A high school delinquent with anger issues and the son of the original Hourman, Rex Tyler, whose parents were killed in a staged car accident when he was seven. He becomes one of Courtney's friends and a member of the new JSA as the new Hourman.[3] Boston Pierce portrays a 7-year-old Rick.
  • Trae Romano as Mike Dugan: Pat Dugan's son and Courtney's step-brother.[4]
  • Jake Austin Walker as Henry King Jr. (season 1):
    A student at Blue Valley High as well as its star football player.[5][6] He later develops psionic powers after experiencing emotional distress following his father becoming comatose. His deceased mother was Merry, Sylvester Pemberton's sister.
  • Meg DeLacy as Cindy Burman:
    The daughter of the Dragon King, girlfriend of Henry King Jr., and the most popular student at Blue Valley High with enhanced abilities and wields wrist blades from her skin. While she is the school's cheerleading captain, she is determined to follow in her father's footsteps. In pursuit of this, she acquired a powerful suit of armor and a flame-throwing staff.[5]
  • Neil Jackson as Jordan Mahkent / Icicle (season 1):
    The leader of the Injustice Society of America (ISA), an "astute" businessman with the power of cryokinesis, and founder of The American Dream, a firm responsible for the revitalization of Blue Valley.[4][2][3] Jackson initially thought "Icicle" was "a silly name" and made the character sound "like a My Little Pony", but Johns' pitch helped make the character credible for Jackson.[7]
  • Christopher James Baker as Henry King Sr. / Brainwave (season 1):
    A member of the ISA with psionic abilities, the father of Henry King Jr., and a successful neurosurgeon at Blue Valley Medical Center.[8] Baker stated that Henry King Sr. was the "mask" of Brainwave, as opposed to the other way around, believing Brainwave "is the true being."[8]
  • Amy Smart as Barbara Whitmore: Courtney's mother and Pat Dugan's wife who strives to balance her work and home life.[4]
  • Luke Wilson as Pat Dugan / S.T.R.I.P.E.:
    Courtney's stepfather, the former sidekick to Starman, and a mechanic who owns a repair garage where he stores a 15-foot robotic vehicle of his own creation made from spare car parts.[9] Pat serves as a reluctant mentor and father figure to Courtney and her JSA teammates. Despite his superheroics, Pat wants to provide a normal life for his family.[2]
  • Hunter Sansone as Cameron Mahkent: A student at Blue Valley High, aspiring artist, and the son of Jordan Mahkent who takes a liking to Courtney.[4][10] Roger Dale Floyd portrays a younger Cameron.
  • Nick Tarabay as Eclipso (season 2; guest season 1[a])[11]

Recurring[edit]

Additionally, Solomon Grundy, a towering zombie and member of the ISA, appears through CGI.[19]

Guest[edit]

  • Joel McHale as Sylvester Pemberton / Starman: A member of the original JSA who used an anti-gravity Cosmic Staff invented by scientist Ted Knight that Courtney later finds.[20]
    • McHale also portrays a man who appears at the end of "Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two" claiming to be Pemberton.[21]
  • Joe Knezevich as William Zarick / Wizard: A member of the ISA who uses magic.[22] He is a councilman in Blue Valley.
  • Lou Ferrigno Jr. as Rex Tyler / Hourman: A member of the original JSA and the father of Rick Tyler who was "a master chemist and adrenaline junkie" with the ability to acquire super-strength for one hour a day using a substance of his own invention in his hourglass amulet.[23]
  • Brian Stapf as Ted Grant / Wildcat: A member of the original JSA who was a former heavyweight boxer and skilled street fighter that wore an exosuit that artificially enhanced his natural athletic prowess.[24]
  • Cynthia Evans as Denise Zarick: The wife of William Zarick and the mother of Joey Zarick.
  • Adam Aalderks as Matt Harris: The brother of Rex Tyler's wife Wendi and Rick Tyler's maternal uncle. He assumes guardianship of Rick after Rex and Wendi are killed by the ISA, and developed an abusive relationship with him.
  • Geoff Stults as Sam Kurtis: Courtney's father and Barbara's ex-boyfriend who attempts to reconnect with Courtney a decade after his disappearance.[25]
  • Jim Gaffigan as the voice of Thunderbolt: A 5th Dimension Genie that resides in a pink pen.[26]
  • John Wesley Shipp as Jay Garrick / The Flash: A member of the Justice Society of America with super-speed. Shipp reprises his role from The Flash.

Co-stars[edit]

  • Stella Smith as Artemis Crock: The daughter of "Crusher" Crock and Paula Brooks and a star athlete at Blue Valley High School.[3]
  • Ashley Winfrey as Jenny Williams: A student at Blue Valley High School, the best friend of Cindy Burman, and the co-captain of the school's cheerleading squad.
  • Wil Deusner as Joey Zarick: The son of William Zarick and an aspiring magician.
  • Max Frantz as Isaac Bowin: A student at Blue Valley High School and the son of Anaya Bowin and the Fiddler who is a savant musician.
  • Jasun Jabbar as Brian Tanner Balloid: A jock at Blue Valley High School and one of Henry Jr.'s friends.
  • Sam Brooks as Travis Thomas: A friend of Henry King Jr.
  • Christian Adam as Joshua Hamman: A geek at Blue Valley High and frequent target of bullies.
  • Kron Moore as Bridget Chapel: The mother of Beth Chapel who works as a doctor at the Blue Valley Medical Center.
  • Gilbert Glenn Brown as James Chapel: The father of Beth Chapel and the husband of Bridget Chapel who works as a businessman at The American Dream.
  • Lesa Wilson as Bobbie Burman: The latest wife of Dragon King and the stepmother of Cindy.
  • Jim France as Sofus Mahkent: The father of Jordan and grandfather of Cameron who supports Jordan's campaign.
  • Kay Galvin as Lily Mahkent: The mother of Jordan and grandmother of Cameron who supports Jordan's campaign.
  • Jonathan Blanco as Alex Montez: Yolanda's younger brother who does not consider her a disgrace.
  • Kikey Castillo as Maria Montez: Yolanda's Catholic mother.
  • Wilmer Calderon as Juan Montez: Yolanda's father.

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date [27][c]Prod.
code
1"Pilot"Glen WinterGeoff JohnsMay 18, 2020 (2020-05-18)T56.10101
During the holiday season, the Justice Society of America's (JSA) headquarters is attacked by the Injustice Society of America (ISA), who wipe out their JSA counterparts. Pat Dugan, sidekick to the hero Starman, arrives to find his friend dying and helps him escape. Starman tells Pat to keep his Cosmic Staff safe until he can find a worthy successor to rebuild the Justice Society. Meanwhile, a young Courtney Whitmore learns that her father Sam Kurtis could not make it home for Christmas. Ten years later, her mother, Barbara, is married to Pat as he moves his step-family to Blue Valley. After a bad first day at Blue Valley High School, Courtney accidentally stumbles upon a crate containing the Cosmic Staff in her basement. It takes her to the local drive-in theater, where Courtney disguises herself and accidentally destroys jock Henry King Jr.'s father's car with an energy blast while pranking him. Returning home, Courtney is confronted by Pat, who admits his involvement with the JSA. Henry Jr. informs his dad, Henry King Sr., about the incident, leading to him donning his old Brainwave uniform. While training with the Cosmic Staff, Courtney is attacked by Brainwave before Pat saves her with a suit of armor.
2"S.T.R.I.P.E."Greg BeemanGeoff JohnsMay 25, 2020 (2020-05-25)T56.10102
Pat tells Courtney that JSA member Hourman survived the attack and had been secretly searching for the ISA across the country. To help, Pat created the armor. When Hourman reached Blue Valley, he and his wife were killed in a car crash. Pat came to Blue Valley two years ago to pick up the trail, during which he met Barbara. Pat advises Courtney against seeking out Brainwave, but she ignores him and creates a costume for herself from Starman's old uniform. Meanwhile, Brainwave finds Courtney's damaged school ID card at the site of their battle. While attending Blue Valley High's open house, Henry Sr. confronts Courtney and threatens to kill Barbara unless she brings him the Staff. Pat goes to confront Brainwave, but is easily defeated. Now calling herself Stargirl, Courtney fights Brainwave and, with Pat's help, short-circuits his powers, leaving him in a coma. Courtney asks Pat to become her partner, changing his codename from Stripesy to S.T.R.I.P.E. Meanwhile, Jordan Mahkent meets with associate Steven Sharpe at the ISA's headquarters under The American Dream's office and learns about Starman's successor.
3"Icicle"Michael NankinColleen McGuinnessJune 1, 2020 (2020-06-01)T56.10103
Eight years ago, Jordan swears to his dying wife that he will ensure their son's safety and to continue "Project: New America". Courtney decides that she and Pat need to hunt down the ISA's remaining members, starting with their leader Icicle. Pat, however, insists that being a hero is far more dangerous than she understands. At school, Courtney meets aspiring magician Joey Zarick and art student Cameron Mahkent, Jordan's son. She also tries to stand up for classmate Yolanda Montez, who rebuffs her help. Meanwhile, Jordan visits fellow ISA member William Zarick and sets up a trap for Courtney, correctly guessing that she will leap at any opportunity to catch him. A school bus gets caught up in their fight, and though Pat is able to save it from plunging into the water, he and Courtney are unable to save Joey from being hit by a truck. Enraged, William confronts Jordan, who freezes him and covers up his death to the public. Guilt-stricken by Joey's death, Pat takes Courtney to the old JSA headquarters and tells her to give up her identity until he says otherwise. Refusing to listen, Courtney steals the deceased JSA members' memorabilia so she can find their successors.
4"Wildcat"Rob HardyJames Dale RobinsonJune 8, 2020 (2020-06-08)T56.10104
Three months ago, Yolanda becomes an outcast after her rival, Cindy Burman, leaks a risqué photo she sent to Henry Jr. to the whole school. As a result, her relationship with her Catholic parents becomes sour. Using their mutual contempt for Henry Jr. to gain her trust, Courtney reveals her identity as Stargirl to Yolanda and recruits her as the new Wildcat. The two sneak into the hospital to spy on Henry Sr., hoping to find the ISA's members through the visitor sheet. However, they leave after witnessing their principal, Anaya Bowin, playing the violin for him and later discover her name was not on the visitor sheet. Their classmate, Beth Chapel, spots and recognizes them as they exit. Yolanda turns down Courtney's offer in favor of regaining her old life. When her mother still considers her a disgrace, she changes her mind. Meanwhile, Icicle meets with Dragon King, who agrees to join the ISA to participate in "Project: New America". Elsewhere, William's widow Denise tells Pat that she is leaving, warning him not to trust Blue Valley's officials. Later, while visiting his friend Zeek's junkyard for spare parts, Pat finds Denise's cat, which leads him to her car's smashed remains.
5"Hourman and Dr. Mid-Nite"David StraitonMelissa CarterJune 15, 2020 (2020-06-15)T56.10105
Nine years ago, Rex Tyler mails his coded journal to Pat before he and his wife Wendi leave their son Rick in the care of Wendi's brother Matt Harris shortly before they are murdered in an orchestrated car crash. While stalking Courtney and Yolanda, Beth discovers a pair of goggles at the former's home that once belonged to fallen JSA member Doctor Mid-Nite along with its creator's A.I. facsimile "Chuck", who reveals that Rick is Hourman's son. Courtney takes Yolanda and Beth to a Halloween party to find Rick and give him his father's hourglass, which enables him to gain super-strength for one hour per day. Not interested in becoming Hourman, Rick chooses to use his father's device for personal gain, including destroying his abusive uncle's truck and the tree where his parents were killed to vent his rage. Before a fight breaks out, Beth discovers that the ISA had Solomon Grundy kill Rick's parents. Rick agrees to join Courtney's JSA, but makes it clear he only wants revenge on the ISA. Meanwhile, Bowin and Sharpe intercept and kill delivery drivers to steal a satellite dish for "Project: New America". Pat checks Courtney's room and discovers the JSA memorabilia in her closet.
6"The Justice Society"Christopher ManleyTaylor StreitzJune 22, 2020 (2020-06-22)T56.10106
After killing another of their daughter, Artemis's, football coaches, Lawrence "Crusher" Crock and Paula Brooks are summoned by Icicle to aid Sharpe as their ISA identities Sportsmaster and Tigress, respectively. Pat confronts Courtney, ordering her to take back the JSA equipment she gave to her friends. Fearing for her teammates' lives, Courtney asks them to surrender their gear, but they all refuse and pressure her into letting them go after Sharpe when he attempts to hack a communications company for satellite codes. However, they are intercepted by Sportsmaster and Tigress, who easily overpower and nearly kill the teens before S.T.R.I.P.E. intervenes. Afterward, Pat talks to Courtney and clarifies that while her team is not ready to face the ISA, he agrees that a new JSA is needed and offers to help train them. Meanwhile, Barbara and Pat's son Mike bond when she makes a surprise visit to his science fair presentation, Cameron's cryokinetic powers start to develop, and Icicle brings the ISA together to figure out who the JSA's successors are and to wake Brainwave to complete "Project: New America".
7–8"Shiv"Lea ThompsonEvan BallJune 29, 2020 (2020-06-29)T56.10107
Geary McLeodPaula SevenbergenJuly 6, 2020 (2020-07-06)T56.10108
Part 1 : Pat makes an effort to train the new JSA, but Courtney's impatience leads her to sabotage the exercise by showing off, upsetting the team. Cindy visits her father, Dragon King, revealing her enhanced abilities and demanding to join the ISA. However, he refuses, insisting that she continue to monitor Henry Jr., who is slowly beginning to realize he can read minds. Cindy feels increasingly isolated from her friends and peers, but when Courtney partners up with her in science class, they become friends. Jordan offers Barbara the chance to handle an important business deal for The American Dream. At a Blue Valley High football game, Mike expresses jealousy over Courtney spending more time with his dad than him. Cameron asks Courtney to Homecoming, and she chooses to leave Cindy behind. Angered by this, Cindy steals an experimental suit of power armor and a flame-throwing staff from her father and goes to confront Stargirl, managing to stab her with her wrist blades. After the school janitor Justin defeats her with an enchanted sword, Cindy escapes while the Staff leads Pat to an unconscious Courtney.
Part 2 : Pat fakes a car accident to explain away Courtney's injuries, although he tells her that they need to reveal the truth about the JSA to Barbara. Cindy goes to her father, who reprimands her for disobeying him, before paying a visit to Courtney to reveal she knows her identity and threatens to kill her and her friends. Jordan confronts an executive of the chemical company he blames for his wife's death and kills him. Beth and Pat pose as family members to infiltrate Cindy's house and investigate her family. They find a picture of Dragon King, who Chuck identifies as deceased war criminal Dr. Shiro Ito. The team is forced to make a hasty exit when Cindy unexpectedly returns home, unaware that Courtney thinks they are in danger. Henry discovers his telekinetic power and stumbles across his father's Brainwave costume and files, learning that Cindy has monitored him. He finds her fighting with Stargirl and fires a psychic wave that knocks them both down. Confused and scared, Henry telepathically discovers Courtney's identity before running away. Noting that his prediction was correct, Dragon King orders drones to remove Cindy.
9"Brainwave"Tamra DavisColleen McGuinnessJuly 13, 2020 (2020-07-13)T56.10109
Decades prior, a young Henry Sr. killed a mugger in self-defense with his burgeoning abilities. Courtney informs the JSA that she plans to recruit Henry Jr., but Yolanda and Rick disagree. With Cindy locked up, Dragon King meets with the ISA to report that he can use Henry Jr. to complete "Project: New America" and allow them to brainwash a large portion of the United States. Barbara invites Jordan to join her family for dinner. Pat assigns Rick and Beth to investigate Blue Valley's history, during which they discover the town's founders established a network of tunnels that enable the ISA to operate covertly. Courtney visits Henry Jr. and tries to convince him that his father's belief in humanity's inherent evil is wrong, but he forces her to leave. While having dinner with Jordan and his family, Courtney realizes that he is Icicle after seeing him handle a heated hot plate without being burned. While sharing her discovery with Pat, she unintentionally brandishes the Cosmic Staff in front of a shocked Barbara. Henry Jr. accidentally kills his father's shady lawyer just as Henry Sr. wakes up.
10"Brainwave Jr."Andi ArmaganianJames Dale RobinsonJuly 20, 2020 (2020-07-20)T56.10110
Two years prior, Pat and Barbara have their first date in a diner. In present day, after blaming Pat for convincing Courtney to become a superhero, Barbara kicks him out and tells Courtney that they are leaving Blue Valley. After discovering Henry Sr. has amnesia and Jordan killed his mother Mary, Henry Jr. becomes convinced that he can save his father from Jordan's influence. When Pat goes to find Barbara, Courtney and the JSA, accompanied by Henry Jr., search for the ISA's headquarters. Barbara records a conversation with Jordan and his parents, wherein she and Pat learn about a "machine" that Jordan is building. As the JSA continue their search, they stumble across Dragon King's private lab, where Stargirl, Wildcat, and Henry Jr. defeat him and his drones before locating Brainwave, who has been cured of his amnesia. The team tries to escape, but he corners them. Henry Jr. tries to talk his father into abandoning Jordan, but Brainwave reveals he killed Mary before burying his son alive as the JSA watches in horror. However, Henry Jr. uses his dying words to urge them to keep fighting.
11"Shining Knight"Jennifer PhangGeoff JohnsJuly 27, 2020 (2020-07-27)T56.10111
Kurtis arrives in Blue Valley and bonds with her. In reality, he is using her to get her locket and sell it off for money. Pat discovers this and confronts him, telling him to never return. Meanwhile, Justin suffers from memory loss and comes to Pat to remember his time as the Shining Knight. Courtney discovers Brainwave knows her identity and attempts to use the Staff, but it is still non-functional due to her lack of confidence stemming from her not being Starman's daughter and her fear that she is not good enough to be Stargirl. Pat and Barbara help her regain her confidence, and she activates the Staff with even more power than it had before. Elsewhere, Brainwave reveals Courtney's identity to Icicle and deduces Pat must be Stripesy. Icicle hacks into Barbara's computer and finds that she has been looking into Starman's death and knows his identity, so he orders Brainwave to kill Courtney's entire family. Concurrently, the ISA find that they can brainwash half of the country due to Brainwave's increasing power and plan to do so in 12 hours.
12–13"Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E."Toa FraserMelissa CarterAugust 3, 2020 (2020-08-03)T56.10112
Greg BeemanGeoff JohnsAugust 10, 2020 (2020-08-10)T56.10113
Part 1 : As "Project: New America" gets underway, Sportsmaster and Tigress are dispatched to kill Pat, Barbara, and Courtney, though they defeat them with Mike's help, who learns about the JSA and his father and stepsister's involvement in it. The family, joined by the JSA and Justin, take refuge at Pat's cabin to formulate a plan to foil the ISA. After Anaya's son Isaac comes to her with his bully troubles, she encourages him to take revenge against his tormentors before meeting with Tigress and Sportsmaster, who kill her for calling them unfit parents. With Pat's help, Rick deciphers his father's journal and discovers a complete map of the ISA's underground lair. Beth hacks into the ISA's computers and discovers that while "Project: New America" aims to stop global warming, utilize clean energy, and eliminate all forms of discrimination, it will come at the cost of 25 million lives. Before the JSA can locate the ISA's synaptic amplifier, Dragon King initiates the brainwashing process, leaving Justin and Barbara in trance-like states while Pat is forced to fight Courtney.
Part 2 : Mid-Nite frees Pat and Justin from their trances, leading to a showdown between the JSA and ISA, wherein Sportsmaster and Tigress are defeated while an escaped Cindy kills Dragon King. Sharpe releases Grundy, who severely damages S.T.R.I.P.E. before Hourman beats him into submission, though he chooses to spare him and lets him leave in exchange for never returning. Wildcat kills Brainwave after he disguises himself as Henry Jr. and Stargirl destroys the synaptic amplifier, but Icicle destroys Mid-Nite's goggles and takes Barbara hostage. He tries to convince her to side with him, but Barbara refuses before Pat and Stargirl confront Icicle. After sustaining damage to his ice armor, Icicle is killed by Mike. Sharpe wipes the ISA's systems before escaping. In the aftermath, Justin departs Blue Valley to find the surviving Seven Soldiers of Victory, Shade watches the news pass off the ISA's plot as an earthquake from their now abandoned meeting room, and Cindy finds a gem containing "Eclipso" in William's storage unit. Six weeks later, the Whitmore-Dugan family celebrates Christmas with the JSA. Meanwhile, a man who resembles and claims to be Sylvester Pemberton looks for Pat in California.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

On July 19, 2018, it was announced that DC Universe had given a series order to Stargirl, consisting of thirteen episodes. The pilot was written by Geoff Johns, who also executive produces alongside Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, and Melissa Carter (who is co-showrunner with Johns).[29][28] Production companies involved with the series are Mad Ghost Productions, Berlanti Productions, and Warner Bros. Television. The series was said to be a "reimagining" of Stargirl.[29] On July 6, 2020, The CW renewed the series for a second season, resulting in the series moving exclusively to the network as a CW original series.[30]

Writing[edit]

Johns described Stargirl as having a similar tone to 1980s films such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Back to the Future. The start of the series sees the deaths of the original members of the Justice Society of America (JSA). With the younger generation taking up their mantle, Johns said their "paths aren't complete. They don't know where they're going to be or what they're going to be. And so, there's all sorts of mistakes they can make and choices they can make, and who knows what their ultimate destiny will be?... It makes for a lot of fun and a lot of unpredictability." The members of the Injustice Society mirrors those on the JSA team, with Johns teasing that just about everyone who has been a member of the Injustice Society in the comics would appear in the series. Speaking to classic JSA members such as Alan Scott and Jay Garrick, Johns called them the "elderly statesmen" and that they "are spoken of and they exist in the JSA" with "their legacies... felt throughout the show". There were also "plans in the future for things". For the first season, star Brec Bassinger felt the original Doctor Mid-Nite, Charles McNider would have "a significant role to play", while Johns added the season would establish the Seven Soldiers of Victory as the first superhero team before the JSA and explore the history of the Cosmic Staff.[2] Regarding the death of Henry King, Jr., Johns revealed that he always "had a finite story", going "from this almost unlikeable bully to possibly a redeemed hero, and then ultimately die protecting his new friends when facing his father, while also learning a lesson that Courtney imparted on him and apologizing to Yolanda." Johns spoke with actor Jake Austin Walker before he signed on to play the character to inform him of this and discuss the character with him. The character's return in the season one finale with his father pretending to be his son was done to subvert the "nobody ever dies" superhero trope.[21]

Yolanda Montez's struggle with killing Brainwave will be "a big part of season 2". Johns added that compared to Rick Tyler, who is "starting to kind of turn a corner" after overcoming his anger for his parents' death, Yolanda is "turning the other way... She’s lost in her own world, thinking about what she has done" since she was not ready to kill someone, unlike Rick. Additionally, more motivations from the surviving members of the Injustice Society will be explored in the second season.[21]

Casting[edit]

In September 2018, it was announced that Brec Bassinger had been cast as Courtney Whitmore / Stargirl.[1] Johns called the casting of Stargirl a difficult process, auditioning hundreds of actresses for the role. On why Bassinger was perfect for the role, Johns said, "Immediately... I knew she was Courtney. She has the humor, she has the enthusiasm, the energy, the innate optimism, and Brec really embodies who Stargirl is".[2] In November 2018, the following roles were cast: Anjelika Washington as Beth Chapel / Doctor Mid-Nite,[31][2] Yvette Monreal as Yolanda Montez / Wildcat, and Christopher James Baker as Henry King / Brainwave.[32][2] In January 2019, Luke Wilson was cast as Pat Dugan / S.T.R.I.P.E.[9] Amy Smart joined the cast as Barbara Whitmore the next month,[4] along with Neil Jackson as Jordan Mahkent / Icicle,[4][2] Trae Romano as Mike Dugan,[4] Hunter Sansone as Cameron,[4][10] and Cameron Gellman as Rick Tyler / Hourman,[33][2] with Jake Austin Walker cast as Henry King Jr. and Meg DeLacy cast as Cindy Burman, rounding out the cast.[5][6]

In December 2018, the following members of the Justice Society of America were cast: Joel McHale as Sylvester Pemberton / Starman,[20] Lou Ferrigno Jr. as Rex Tyler / Hourman,[23] Brian Stapf as Ted Grant / Wildcat,[24] and Henry Thomas as Charles McNider / Doctor Mid-Nite.[12] As well, Joy Osmanski was cast as Paula Brooks / Tigress, Neil Hopkins was cast as Lawrence "Crusher" Crock / Sportsmaster, and Nelson Lee was cast as Dr. Ito / Dragon King, members of the Injustice Society.[13][2] In April 2019, Hina Khan was cast as Anaya Bowin.[14][15]

In October 2020, Nick Tarabay joined the cast as a series regular as Eclipso while Jonathan Cake was cast as Shade and Ysa Penarejo was cast in an undisclosed role in recurring capacities for the second season,[11] while Jim Gaffigan was cast as the voice of Thunderbolt.[26] The following month, Alkoya Brunson was cast in a recurring role as Jakeem Thunder.[18] In February 2021, it was announced that John Wesley Shipp would reprise his role as Jay Garrick from The Flash.[34]

Design[edit]

Costume designer LJ Shannon "tried to stay as true to the [comics] lore as possible" in her designs. Each of the costumes are "utilitarian" with individual looks. Johns described Doctor Mid-Nite's as "[a] little steampunky" with canvas and leather and Hourman's as "a little more slick".[35] Legacy Effects created a practical S.T.R.I.P.E. for use during filming.[36]

Filming[edit]

Filming had begun by March 14, 2019,[37] with Glen Winter directing the pilot.[38] Christopher Manley and Scott Peck were directors of photography on the series.[39][40] Filming occurs throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area, including: Marietta, Virginia–Highland, Duluth, Lithia Springs, Dallas,[37] Marietta Square, West End, Westlake High School, the Atlanta Center for Medical Research,[41] Campbell Middle School, Paulding County, Smyrna, Arbor Place Mall, Vinings,[42] Mableton, and Douglas County High School.[43] Walter Garcia serves as the series' stunt coordinator and second-unit director. He was hired to help Stargirl's staff "have a personality and be alive when she fights with it".[36]

The series continued to film in Atlanta for the second season,[44] with filming beginning by October 28, 2020.[45][46]

Visual effects[edit]

Zoic Studios provided visual effects for the series.[19] According to Johns, Stargirl was the first Warner Bros. Television series to use previsualization (a process most commonly used by feature films) for their effects scenes.[36] Previsualization was handled by The Third Floor, Inc.[39] Johns brought his experience working on the films Wonder Woman (2017), Aquaman (2018), and Shazam! (2019) to help the series have visuals not "seen in superhero shows before".[36]

Music[edit]

In June 2019, Pinar Toprak revealed she would be composing for the series.[47]

Release[edit]

Stargirl premiered on DC Universe on May 18, 2020,[48] and consists of 13 episodes.[49] The series was originally intended to premiere on May 11, 2020.[50] The series is released in 4K Ultra HD on DC Universe.[51]

In November 2019, it was announced that The CW would broadcast each episode the day after it premieres on the streaming service, with each episode available to stream on The CW's online platforms after its broadcast.[28] Stargirl started airing on The CW on May 19, 2020, at 8 pm.[48] Some episodes have content removed when they air on The CW to allow for the network's commercials, notably approximately eight minutes in each of the first two episodes.[35] DC Universe streams the full episodes,[36] and Johns said starting with the third episode, both releases are "almost identical".[35] The series release plans shifted and it stayed in post-production longer to accommodate the broadcast on The CW to accomplish the adjustments that had to be made.[39]

Scenes removed in the first episode from The CW broadcast included: establishing shots of Barbara Whitmore's new job, and Pat's auto shop; an interaction between Courtney and Cindy Burman in the halls of Blue Valley High School that Alex Zalben of Decider said was "clear set-up for later" but helped strengthen Courtney's emotional arc; and Mark Ashworth's scenes as "a mysterious, extremely creepy bearded janitor", which Zalben said was more of "a fun Easter egg that will pay dividends down the road";[16] and Courtney finding a newspaper article about Starman and Stripesy.[52] The first season became available on HBO Max on December 1, 2020.[53]

The second season of the series will air exclusively on The CW,[30] and is scheduled to air in 2021.[54]

Marketing[edit]

On December 7, 2019, a teaser trailer was released.[55] In early August 2020, The CW released several posters for its Arrowverse series with the superheroes wearing face masks, including Stargirl, with all posters having the caption "Real Heroes Wear Masks". This marketing tactic was used to "stress the importance of wearing masks while out in public to help stop the spread of" COVID-19.[54]

Reception[edit]

The CW ratings[edit]

The following table represents viewership data for each episode's airing on The CW, as DC Universe does not release viewership information.[56]

Viewership and ratings per episode of Stargirl
No. Title Air date Rating
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "Pilot" May 19, 2020 0.3 1.22[57] 0.2 0.54 0.5 1.77[58]
2 "S.T.R.I.P.E." May 26, 2020 0.3 1.19[59] 0.2 0.63 0.4 1.82[60]
3 "Icicle" June 2, 2020 0.2 0.96[61] 0.2 0.72 0.4 1.68[62]
4 "Wildcat" June 9, 2020 0.2 1.10[63] 0.2 0.56 0.4 1.65[64]
5 "Hourman and Dr. Mid-Nite" June 16, 2020 0.2 0.94[65] 0.2 0.76 0.4 1.70[66]
6 "The Justice Society" June 23, 2020 0.2 0.92[67] 0.2 0.71 0.4 1.63[68]
7 "Shiv Part One" June 30, 2020 0.2 0.99[69] 0.2 0.59 0.4 1.58[70]
8 "Shiv Part Two" July 7, 2020 0.2 0.96[71] 0.2 0.61 0.4 1.57[72]
9 "Brainwave" July 14, 2020 0.2 0.83[73] 0.2 0.58 0.4 1.41[74]
10 "Brainwave Jr." July 21, 2020 0.2 0.77[75] 0.1 0.31 0.3 1.08[76]
11 "Shining Knight" July 28, 2020 0.2 0.74[77] 0.1 0.41 0.3 1.14[78]
12 "Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part One" August 4, 2020 0.2 0.83[79] 0.1 0.39 0.3 1.22[80]
13 "Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two" August 11, 2020 0.2 0.86[81] 0.2 0.48 0.4 1.34[82]

The pilot episode was tied for the second-best series debut on The CW for the 2019–20 television season with Nancy Drew after Batwoman,[83] and was the best summer series premiere on the network since Whose Line Is It Anyway? season nine in 2013.[84] Through the first seven episodes of the season, Stargirl was averaging a 0.2 rating for adults 18–49 and close to 1 million initial viewers per episode, which was "on par" with The CW's Arrowverse series.[56]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the series has an approval rating of 89% based on 38 reviews, with an average rating of 7.61/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A stellar series perfect for anyone looking for a little hope, Stargirl is delightful fun the whole family can enjoy."[85] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 68 out of 100 based on 8 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[86]

Brian Lowry of CNN described the series as "hardly seeks to reinvent the wheel, or even expand the mold. Still, its mix of solid characters, clever writing and youthful exuberance casts a brighter light than most."[87] Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter gave a review stating "Derivative, but should fill the superhero-origin-story-shaped hole in your heart" and wrote, "The result is that a show that is frequently derivative to the point of distraction might actually fill a need for viewers able to concentrate on its occasional charms until better superhero shows return."[88]

Arrowverse[edit]

Stargirl and her team were briefly introduced in the Arrowverse crossover "Crisis on Infinite Earths" in January 2020,[89][90] from footage from "The Justice Society" episode.[91] Stargirl is set on a new Earth-2, created during the crossover.[89][90] Stargirl from the pre-Crisis Earth-1 had previously appeared in three episodes of season two of Legends of Tomorrow, portrayed by Sarah Grey, between October 2016 and February 2017.[92]

Regarding any proper crossovers with the Arrowverse, Johns and Bassinger were keen on the idea. In April 2020, Johns said, "right now the main concern is making sure that this show is great, that these characters are great, that they have their own stories and they get the proper screen time and the proper episodes to develop on their own. So hopefully in the future we can do something fun, but the first season is all about making sure that Stargirl is the best show it can possibly be." Bassinger added that there had already been preliminary discussion about crossing over with The Flash, and she was hopeful to be able to crossover with Melissa Benoist on Supergirl.[2] John Wesley Shipp is expected to reprise his role as Jay Garrick from The Flash.[34]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Eclipso cameos in "Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two", voiced by an uncredited voice actor.
  2. ^ Shade is portrayed by an uncredited actor in "Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. Part Two".
  3. ^ These are the DC Universe premiere dates. The CW aired each episode a day after.[27][28]

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External links[edit]