Tyler Hoechlin is going for a change, having traded in his Teen Wolf fur and fangs for the red and blue outfit of the Man Of Steel, appearing as Superman in at least the first two episodes of Supergirl's second season.
The series, which stars Melissa Benoist in the title role, has previously suggested the presence of her cousin Kal-El, and even had the two IM each other, but this will mark the first time that he will actually appear on the show. Unlike the brooding character of the films Man Of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Hoechlin's take on the character promises to be more traditional, fitting in with Supergirl’s generally hopeful tone.
At the recent San Diego Comic-Con, Empire had the opportunity to sit down with Tyler Hoechlin, the rest of the show’s cast and executive producer Sarah Schechter to discuss the arrival of Superman.
Melissa Benoist (Supergirl): I’ve wanted Superman to be on the show from the beginning. Last season whenever Kara interacted with Clark through Instant Messaging, I always felt like there was something missing.
Sarah Schechter (executive producer): Last year what was important to us was that Supergirl not be in the shadow of Superman. At the same time, what we like to do on the show, besides delivering action and comedy and drama, is to make it a family story. For us it was really interesting to get deeper into Kara’s family, and that includes Clark. Clark is the only surviving member of her family, so at a certain point it’s strange not to have that be part of her story.
Benoist: I always wanted them to interact, because it’s such an important relationship, and they have learned so much from each other. She has things he doesn’t have, he has things she doesn’t have, but they’ve learned from each other, so I think it’s perfect.
Chyler Leigh (Alex Danvers): I was so surprised when I heard they were adding Superman, because everybody had been saying, “Oh, it’s not going to happen.” And then script number one of Season 2 comes in and you’re, like, “Oh, there he is! Well, that’s cool.” And you kind of get to see a little bit of Alex and Superman’s relationship, because he’s been part of the family so there’s a dynamic that’s always been there. As a result, it delivers some pretty funny little moments.
Jeremy Jordan (Winn Schott): I was surprised, too, but I think it’s a testament to the show and to how solidly we have established the Supergirl character that they feel like they can bring in Superman and it won’t detract from her. As far as Winn’s concerned, he’s all about Superman. If there was one man that Winn would turn for, it would probably be Superman…not that I'm teasing anything, because I'm not.
Mehcad Brooks (James Olsen): Character wise, it’s great for the show because the conversation that everybody’s been waiting for is, “Yo, bro, you’re dating my cousin.” That is happening and it’s a great conversation to have. Especially since it doesn’t end up in any punching or choking. Thank God, because he’s a big guy. He gives me some good advice about dating her, and I give him some good advice about who she’s become.
Schechter: The difficult part was finding the person to play Superman. And then we met Tyler Hoechlin. I’ve actually had the privilege of seeing him in the suit, and when people see him they’ll realise, “Oh, that's why they chose him.” As soon as he put it on, we were slack-jawed and, like, “Oh my God, we’re with Superman.”
Tyler Hoechlin (Superman): Honestly, it’s still a little bit surreal and something that’s not fully sunk in yet. But I kind of like it that way, because it’s making it a little bit easier to really just look at the character for who he is. Seeing the suit as a symbol, it takes care of itself. Realising that this is just like any other person putting on a suit in the morning, going out to do what they do. That’s kind of made it a little bit easier to approach it. I’m just excited about finding out who Clark is and who Superman is as his human self outside of being able to do everything he does.
Schechter: Tyler has the charisma and the kindness, as well as the strength, and I think what people see is how fun it is to have Superman. It certainly does not overshadow Kara and Supergirl. The dynamic between them, that you’ll see in the first two episodes, is just a lot of fun.
David Harewood (Martian Manhunter): I have to say that I kind of geeked out when I saw Melissa wearing the 'S', so to see Tyler as well…that’s just going to be crazy. Crazy good. He looks the part, so that’s going to be awesome.
Hoechlin: This show is so hopeful and optimistic and Superman fits right in there. It’s the 'truth, justice and the American way' element that I love. That's the person you hope would exist and do what he does with the powers that he has. They’re just trying to embody that and there’s obviously struggles that go along with being someone who has that much responsibility. But in the end I think he’s incredibly happy to be able to do what he can do.
Benoist: Hope remains a key ingredient of the show. One of the things that I admired most about Kara is her sheer will and the fact that she never, ever gives up, even when things are grimmest. It’s a quality that runs in the family.
Hoechlin: Not to just sit on that word, but I do think Superman’s role is one of hope. The belief that things can be better and people with powers will do good things. I know it’s one of the issues right now in the world in that there are a lot of people in power who, if you look at it on the surface, you just assume are either self-serving or 'evil'. But here you have someone who is capable of really taking over, but he chooses not to use his powers selfishly. Instead he helps other people. That is such a symbol and statement of who he truly is. That’s something I would really want to focus on; to make it a top priority of who he is.