CBS' Supergirl Casts Laura Benanti as Kara's Krypton Mom

Supergirl Cast Laura Benanti

Nashville‘s Laura Benanti has joined the cast of CBS’ Supergirl series in the recurring role of the title character’s birth mother, Alura Zor-El.

Per our sister site Deadline, Kara’s mother is described as a strong noblewoman whose wisdom and guidance echoes across space and time, proving invaluable on her daughter’s super journey.

Glee grad Melissa Benoist recently landed the coveted role of Kara Danvers née Zor-El, while Desperate Housewives alum Mehcad Brooks has been cast as Jimmy Olsen.

Other series regular roles still to be cast include Kara’s science-minded foster sister, Alex; Cat Grant, the CEO of CatCo; Kara’s CatCo colleague Wynn Schott; and Hank Henshaw, the Supergirl-obsessed director of the DEO (Department of Extra-Normal Operations).

A Tony Award winner, Benanti’s previous TV credits also include Law & Order: SVU, Nurse Jackie, Go On and The Playboy Club.

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69 Comments
  1. How hard is it to understand that only one Kryptonian survived Krypton’s destruction, seriously? It’s not the 1960’s anymore.

    • Lee Cox says:

      Not true. Supergirl has been around, more or less, since she was first introduced in 1959. So what if she’s the SECOND survivor of Krypton’s destruction? It doesn’t make Kal any less special, particularly since she’s his younger cousin. It’s not as though she’s simply him in drag, after all.

      • But she is. The moniker “Superman in a dress” exist for a reason. Let me put it another way: when doing a roll call of characters in the Legion comic book, Lightning Lad and Lightning Lass – who are siblings that share powers – are given their own unique entry that details their powers. In Supergirl’s case, the entry reads “same powers as Superman”. Not “standard Kryptonian abilities when under a yellow sun” or some such. She is specifically referred to in that manner. Even the publisher treats her as if she was Superman in drag. Now look at the announced characters on this show. They are all from the Superman comic, none are from any of the Supergirl series. She’s stealing both Superman’s pal AND Superman’s dark twin, the Cyborg SuperMAN. This character would have nothing if not for the character she’s spun out of, which is unheard of for other similar characters, all of whom have their own supporting cast, their own antagonists, etc. Supergirl doesn’t, mainly because her old comics focused on developing her based on who she dated (be they man, equine, or fish), not as a superhero. Conceptually, if Siegel and Shuster had wanted more than one Kryptonian survivor, then they would have told THAT story. They didn’t. They wanted Superman to be the one and only member of his race in the entire universe. ANY time someone else brings another Kryptonian, that’s one idea Jor-El didn’t think of to save his people, which makes him ineffectual as a character, let alone a genius smarter than the other geniuses on his planet.

        • I must agree with your statement about Supergirl. The Supergirl series got all the character from Superman series. The producer forgot that she(Linda Lee Danvers) indeed have a boy friend Dick Malverine from the day she was Linda Lee. He disappear when her comics book was giving another tryout. Both Superboy/Supergirl supporting cast disappear after the New 52 book debut in 2011.

      • Further more, this is ripping off Superman II, in which Kal’s mom was his adviser and sounding board.

        • Gail says:

          Only because Marlon Brando could not come to terms on a new contract. He was still supposed to be Superman’s adviser as he was in the first film.

          • I know. Ultimately, that happened and now this is happening. It also doesn’t help that in current comics Zor-El is portrayed as a wuss AND as the Cyborg Superman. Like, what kind of logic does that make?

        • cdhaskell says:

          It sound like the whole Supergirl series is ripping off the Superman series. It is irony that while Joe Spiegel was fighting the war his partner and the original DC owner decide to printed the Superboy series because Timely(Marvel Comics Group) was getting a hit with their teen-ager heroes title. In the late 50’s Supergirl series was created to get the female group to read their title. Both Superboy/Supergirl get fan who will still read the monthly title which why both Super heroes will make a come back. I can’t wait to see how Kara’s mother will appear in the series. I wouldn’t be shock to see the comics book version of the series will appear in the comics book shop. I still remember the comics book version of the Adventures of Superboy syndication series. The Wonder Woman comics went from Earth 1 Wonder Woman to the golden age Wonder Woman series during the first season of the 70’s Wonder Woman series. I can’t wait to see what happened in May when CBS finally decide to debut,renwal or cancel.

    • Drew says:

      Actually, there have been a number of survivors over the years. The entire city of Kandor survived. Clark is A survivor, not THE survivor.

      • That’s the point, Drew. Those other survivors shouldn’t exist. Superman is the one and only. That’s what his creators intended, period. The other Kryptonians are crap. They are either all evil, or they are all related to Superman, or they are all evil AND related to Superman.

        • Ray H. says:

          Michael, the mandate for Superman as “there can only be one” has long been discarded. And there have been numerous other stories that have helped bolster Superman while including his Kryptonian coterie of supporting characters. It’s maybe time to reconcile that for yourself.

          I think your anger would be justified if somehow Superman’s brand or status was somehow really suffering because of Supergirl as a character or this now new show in particular. But that simply hasn’t been the case. He’s still the most recognized and well-liked super hero.

          Let’s give this new Supergirl show a shot before we tear it down. Nothing that’s been revealed so far is so unbearable. Sure some of it may be bizarre sounding for comic traditionalists, but I think it’s been shown often that super hero TV shows that take risks from the source material can often be more interesting.

          • Ray, Superman has been suffering due to the likes of characters like Supergirl. In order to include her and other discarded ideas from the Silver and Bronze Ages back into canon, DC’s had to reboot Superman multiple times in the last decade, to the point that he’s now had at least six different, contradictory, origins. That’s six origins in ten years. Prior to that, he had just the one for almost 20. The Man of Steel origin was the longest-lasting origin of ANY era, and while that one was the rule, the character thrived compared to the eras that came before and those that followed. Having multiple origins is a sign of a troubled narrative, and the only reason it’s troubled is to make room for outdated, contradictory ideas such as a Kryptonian Supergirl.

        • Drew says:

          They were an advanced spacefaring species. It wouldn’t make sense for there to be only one survivor. They should be severely endangered, sure. They should be incredibly rare to find. But I don’t think it’s wrong to feature some survivors. The issue is with how they are presented. The criminals from the Phantom Zone are valid, I think. As is Supergirl. I really don’t like the Kandor stuff, but it’s there anyway, so there’s not much i can do about it.

          • That’s entirely dependent on which version of the lore you follow. There’s the one in which Lara was an astronaut, yet never went anywhere. Then there’s the Modern Age version, in which they couldn’t leave their world because the Eradicator genetically bound them to Krypton. The Man of Steel movie version introduced a sort of compromise between the two, in which they colonized other worlds but they all died out when they lost contact with Krypton after it exploded, which was genial, really. Goyer managed to have both things, space-faring Kryptonians AND make Kal-El the only survivor of Krypton’s destruction. Zod and the others made it to the movie on a technicality, mainly that Superman needed someone to punch.

          • Drew says:

            The movie did set up Kara’s survival. Just a different version of it. I think she was the one who brought the ship that Clark found the suit in.

          • Drew, the prequel comic book established that Kara crashed on Earth 18,000 years ago. That would be one way for her to escape Krypton’s destruction – leave it before it explodes 18,000 years later. The comic further establishes that she left the ship that long time ago for parts unknown, making the odds of her currently being alive very small.

      • Oliver Covington says:

        don’t forget Power Girl and brainiac he’s technically kryptonian as well…

    • Nellie says:

      Her whole city was saved from the destruction of Krypton. You’re still gonna watch it, admit it.

      • Her city being saved from the destruction of Krypton is one more idea Jor-El didn’t think of to save more people. Why would he send a baby into space when he has the option of moving to Argo with his baby AND his wife so they all survive? See, it’s one of the many things that makes this a lame idea.

    • It sound like her mother will be seen in some kind of flashback segment or some kind of device where she give her daughter all kind of wise thought from the dead. I hope that I am wrong. It will be interested to see how much of her home life will be developed over the series.

      • JEREMY says:

        Actually,Charles the idea of such a device is not that far removed from the Christopher Reeve films. It was INDEED taken from the movies and used in SMALLVILLE,as well.
        Kara SHOULD have SOME connection with her true heritage,because when a tree is cut off from its roots, it dies.

        Something to sleep on besides a pillow and a mattress.

    • You’re forgetting Krypto the Wonder Dog too!

  2. Stamanah says:

    Quite the musical mother/daughter superhero pair…

  3. morgan says:

    she´s also a recurring on nashville

  4. mc says:

    Shall we expect them to break out into song at one point? ;)

  5. Gail says:

    Laura Benanti apparently won’t be on Nashville for long. She will be appearing live at Radio City Music Hall beginning in March for a limited run and now she will be on Supergirl next fall if it goes to series. So long Sadie.

  6. Andy says:

    So she’s Kara’s Jor-El. Yep, this is definitely Smallville 2.0.

    • JEREMY says:

      Since this is being served by the same team that does FLASH and ARROW,I don’t suppose they’ll try to work in a cameo/guest app for either of THOSE heroes in
      SUPERGIRL.

      Would anyone want to weIgh in on THIS???

      • Carla Krae says:

        Right now, it’s possible they’ll be in the same universe, but not firmly/finally decided, yet. If they’re allowed, they’re open to some kind of crossover, somehow.

        • Davey Elmer says:

          It’s pretty much all-but-confirmed at this point that Supergirl is going to share a universe with Flash and Arrow even if there aren’t immediately crossovers between the 3 series. Not only have numerous people said that crossovers are possible, THR pretty much said that they’d heard that Berlanti had it in his contract for Supergirl that he be able to do crossovers at some point between the 3 shows.

          There’s also the fact that CW and CBS are ‘sister stations’.

          • JEREMY says:

            I only hope this works out as well as the “Holiday” gift form CW,namely the crossover ep

            “Brave and the Bold” w/Flash and Arrow.

            Why do I call it a gift?

            (1) The episode was aired in December just before Christmas.

            (2) The heroes are wearing the colors of the season, Red(Flash) AND Green(Arrow)

            Did ANYBODY ELSE even NOTICE ANY OF THIS??

            CBS will give us several eps of Supergirl to build up to this 3-parter. I wonder if they’ll use the song “SUPERGIRL” as the theme(Was it Avril Lavigne who did that one?)?

            This isn’t the first CBS did this. They did a 3-pt. crossvover ep with ALL 3 CSI shows once,
            and that was pretty sharp.

  7. Dean says:

    I buy it just add some hair dye and they would be convincing as mama and little girl.

  8. The Kaibosh says:

    My initial reaction when this was first announced was skepticism. That turned to objection when they announced that Jimmy Olson and Cat Grant would be a part of the show but didn’t include any further context as to whether or not Superman would exist in this story. The objection eased when it was stated that Superman would exist in this world but simply wouldn’t be seen. OK, looking a little better. Adding Laura Benanti is pretty good. She kills it in everything she does so that is a good thing for the show. I would expect that “recurring role” means that the viewer will see flashbacks of what happened to the lead up and aftermath of Krypton’s destruction. Something similar to the island flashbacks on Arrow is what will likely happen. So far the production seems to be coming back to a good place although this Jimmy Olson as the quasi love interest offends Superman canon. Jimmy is supposed to be Superman’s pal: He’s the aw shucks cub reporter at the Daily Planet not what they’ve described for this show. Let’s see what happens.

  9. I should know not to read these comments. Come on guys and gals, if you can suspend disbelief for a Superman, then you should accept whatever else comes.

  10. PFitzDC says:

    Matt–Is this a “series” as noted in your paragraph? Or is it a “pilot” per Deadline? CBS hasn’t given it an episode order already, has it?

  11. Eric says:

    What does this mean for Sadie on Nashville? She has quickly became one of my favorite cast members.

  12. brandydanforth81 says:

    Guess this means Sadie won’t be on Nashville much lnger,too bad I liked her & her sl plus her friendship with Rayna.Oh well, I guess check this out.

  13. javadude54 says:

    You can’t go wrong with Laura Benanti. The woman is amazing.

  14. Tiffany says:

    Elizabeth Lail for the role of Alex. Please! She awesome. Check out Once Upon A Time and see how Awesome.

  15. LoloCurray says:

    I hope it’s flashbacks because Laura is only 10 years older then Melissa

    • Gail says:

      Laura’s character will probably be dead and talk to Supergirl through a crystal or whatever as Jor-El spoke to Superman in the movies and in Smallville.

  16. Harry_Wild says:

    Can someone tell me if the photos are the same person or not; and if not; what are the names of each of the ladies?

  17. Is Alura Zor-El what the casting notice says? Even when they try to pander to Silver Age nostalgia, they get it wrong. Kryptonian naming conventions for women is for them to have a proper name followed by their father’s name (i.e. Lara Lor-Van, Lor-Van being her father). Alura’s name is Alura In-Ze, In-Ze being her father.

  18. I think the whole point of those carping about this iteration of Supergirl is the fact she is being used as some silly ‘women’s empowerment’ device instead anything really original. It’s like the current Leftist Rangers copping Spider-Man into a ‘Latino’ teen or a ‘black’ Human Torch. Not to say some these ‘interpretations’ may or may not be interesting, but let’s be honest and call them what they are: Ripoffs. And even more sadly, they are politicized Ripoffs. Women and non-white races seem to be using the ‘white’ male as some evil kicking post much like the Jews have been targeted for 3000 years.

    But the facts are, it’s ideas from this group being ripped off by a need to fell important and to subvert any positive representation of the white male, mostly perceived as the American Ideal if individualism. Which is disturbingly funny when you realize how so many other non-Americans want to come here to live!

    • JEREMY says:

      smitty,I think there might a job for you at NBC News.

      They’re looking for a new anchorman since their old one is on suspended leave.
      You might be just what they’re looking for.

      Regarding your post,I myself have major reservations about the changes you mentioned at Marvel. It DOES seem as though they are trying to forward a certain type of agenda.
      A certain TV news network is doing this same thing. ANYBODY with an agenda is essentially dangerous,and these changes may prove to be detrimental. You might have noticed CBS is picking up A LOT of actors from musicals for this show . Is there some type of message being conveyed here? Possibly.

      To quote my Favorite Sci-Fi Movies, “I HAVE A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS”.

  19. Dr. M says:

    Not Helen Slater? :(

  20. Mark says:

    what someone else from a musical based show what is this going to be Supergirl the musical — no faith in this

    • Sheila says:

      Laura Benanti has done TV work that didn’t involve music. She was in Go On and played Amaro’s wife in Law & Order: SVU.

  21. Rafael says:

    In the meantime right now, I just read that Melissa is going to make one more single guest appearance in glee by the end of Glee’s current season.

  22. exs113030 says:

    I’m surprisingly excited for this!!! I just hope they keep them both brunette…don’t listen to all the people demanding super girl be blonde.

  23. Boiler says:

    To the actual point of the story, it would be very disappointing if this means Laura leaves Nashville