Post Mortems
Supergirl Sanvers I Love You

Supergirl's Chyler Leigh, Floriana Lima Open Up About 'Sanvers' Moment, LGBT Storyline's 'Profound' Impact

The following contains spoilers from this Monday’s episode of Supergirl.

This week on The CW’s Supergirl, 40 minutes of anxiety built up to three little, yet momentous, words, as DEO agent Alex Danvers and NCPD detective Maggie Sawyer mutually declared their love for one another, after the former narrowly dodged death.

“I love you, Maggie Sawyer.”

“I love you, Alex Danvers.”

“I kept asking when this was going to happen,” Chyler Leigh, who plays Alex, shared with TVLine during our recent set visit, “and [showrunner] Andrew [Kreisberg] was like, ‘Oh, we’ll see. We’ll see.’ And then of course this is how it happens.

“It’s a pretty big next step for them,” Leigh continued. On the heels of Alex’s kidnapping, “You have moments of, ‘You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,’ but at the same time, they hadn’t gotten this vulnerable with each other quite yet.”

Floriana Lima — who previously teased the ILYs as “a pivotal moment” awaiting the girlfriends — went on to say, “Throughout this season, we’re showing a relationship blossom. Not only did Alex come out, and there’s a lot of emotion in that, but there are so many ups and downs in a relationship, right? And in this episode, a very sweet, loving connection has been developed.”

Leigh referred back to the Nov. 28 episode, where Maggie requited a newly out Alex’s feelings by saying, “We should kiss the girls that we want to kiss” — after which the two indeed locked lips. “There was that moment of, like, life is too short, and you just really don’t know,” she remembered. “That’s one thing that I always kind of laugh at with the show — because you literally could die at any moment, at any moment — but there really is no time for BS. You’ve just got to live.”

The icing on the cake for Leigh? “I love the fact that Alex says [‘I love you’] first,” she said with a warm smile. “I think that’s really cool.”

Supergirl SanversAll told, what has been most important to the actresses in playing out the Alex/Maggie (aka “Sanvers”) storyline, which this year earned a GLAAD Media Award nomination?

“The GLAAD nomination was just so amazing, and wow, surreal for us,” Lima shared. “I think what’s important is just to show this as a relationship and not to focus fully on the fact that these are two gay women. We want to treat it and give it as much thought as any other relationship, right, but also be mindful that we are representing a community that needs more representation. We want to get it right, and we want to really think things through.”

Especially since every LGBTQ story told on TV, on film… in any forum… stands the chance to make life even a tiny bit easier for those who are targeted by bigotry. Take the well-reported story of Dened Rey, a queer screenwriter who during a January plane flight was lambasted by the man seated next to her for exposing passengers to the Alex/Maggie scenes she was watching on her laptop computer — a “gay abomination,” as he put it.

Weeks later, toward the end of a long stretch of filming outside on location, Lima and Leigh went over to greet a group of young women who had been looking on for hours. “It was the sweetest thing. They just went bananas,” Leigh recalled. “We went and hugged every single girl — and one of them was [Dened].”

Lima said they have experienced “so many” stories like Rey’s. Even on the day TVLine was on set, she had read and been “very moved” by the letters sent by some.

According to Leigh, “A lot of them are about young girls kind of hitting this place of self-harm, and pretty deep, deep wounds and issues….. Incredible stories of, like, ‘This is the first time I’ve gone five days without hurting myself.’ It’s because people are feeling like they’re heard, people are feeling like they’re understood and they’re cared about.”

That reciprocity — meaningfully telling an LGBTQ story, and seeing incontrovertible examples of its value — is perhaps the greatest, if slightly unanticipated, reward that Leigh and Lima have taken from this experience.

“These are people that are as invested in us as we are in them,” Leigh remarked. “It’s cool to see those connections and know firsthand that [this storyline] is genuinely doing something profound.”

Want scoop on Supergirl, or for any other show? Email InsideLine@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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35 Comments
  1. darkangel200 says:

    What a great interview. Chyler and Floriana seem so genuine and good hearted. And I love how sweet they are to their fans. Thanks for this.

    • Olivia says:

      I totally agree. They’re great actors and seem to be awesome humans. They really deserve all the praise.

  2. Gregory Begonius says:

    Not every two names can just be jammed together…

  3. David H says:

    I liked this show when it was about Supergirl.

  4. Frank says:

    Chyler Leigh is amazing, no word to describe her. This ‘sanvers’ storyline is one of the best things out of this (sadly not so great) s2 season.

  5. Manu says:

    Thanks so much for delivering, Matt and for putting up with some fans ahem anxiety on social media. Hope you get to do this more often next season.

  6. Pipes says:

    That’s all well and good, and I’m happy for the Sanvers fans. It’s been a crappy 18 months for LGBT fans, especially youth. I do wish the story was being shown more instead of telling us they love one another via dialogue vs actually showing it. But I’m sure I’m being nitpicky and it probably doesn’t help that I’m not a big fan of Chyler and Floriana’s chemistry so I’m not big on the pairing. I am however disappointed about the lack of Alex and Kara scenes together, both in an episode like this and over the season in general. I feel as though the shipping has kind of taken over the show and we’re severely missing the family scenes. Both Kara/Alex and the ladies with Space Dad. For me that’s the heart of the show and I miss it greatly. Take all the ships out, Sanvers, Karamel and Supercorp and give me back the family unit that made S1 so special.

    • Chrystal says:

      I am so in agreement with you. I watched the show for the SuperGirl/Alex sister moments. It also showed adopted kids that they are indeed loved by those who adopt them. It had a beautiful message and it was sorely missing in season 2 and the new relationships are not a substitute for what made the show unique.

  7. Michele says:

    Tiny correction – In the Nov 29th episode – it was Maggie that came to Alex and said ““We should kiss the girls that we want to kiss” — after which the two indeed locked lips.”

    Thanks for giving this story it’s due. It’s one of the few places this season that I felt the writers have gotten things right. It has felt authentic and given us a more well rounded Alex and an great addition to the show in Maggie’s cop with a wall up but also a soft center. The writers should be thanked for the wonderful writing. The women applauded for the their work as well as the warmth and understanding they have been showing to their fans. It’s wonderfully they understand how important this story is to so many.

    The shift from CBS to CW might have brought fantastic representation, a much more developed Winn, and Lena Luthor but the rest of what made the show great in season one has been lost this season.

    Kara has been a shell of her former self drifting from week to week to suit the story instead of a character thru-line and has been, in a lot of the season, reduced to a supporting character on her own show. Like many, I have missed the feeling of ‘family’ which was a great piece of season one. Also James has turned into a cameo role after the forced breakup with Kara so she could find herself only to have play out the Romeo and Juliet plot I can see coming a mile away.

    Granted there is only so much time in an episode but I hope for season three they rediscover the best of season one (family) and merge it with the best of season two (this authentically and well paced romantic pairing of Sanvers) so the show gets back on track instead of falling victim to what a lot of the CW DCU shows have fallen victim to as the slate of those shows has grown bigger.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Thanks for the catch; fixed!

    • Olivia says:

      If you mean S1 vibes (Cat Grant’s unapologetic brand of feminism, Kara returning to her original self, Danvers sisters quality time, no Mon-El) with S2’s saving grace (Sanvers, Maggie, Lena, Lilian Luthor in some capacity), well… I agree 100% !!

      If they do that and go character oriented instead of plot oriented, S3 has the potential to be awesome from beginning to end without the need for filler.

      I’d also love more J’onn, more Winn-Alex little moments and either they use James or oust him. Make up your minds, writers.

  8. Sara says:

    I’m still crying. Maggie Sawyer slayed!

  9. Gpsc21497 says:

    This was awesome. Chyler and floriana are ana amazing talent. And floriana needs to be integrated more in season 3. More supersanvers please

  10. Bryan87 says:

    Great interview. Honestly, Alex’s development and the inclusion of Maggie have been two of the more positive changes that came out of the show’s move to CW. However, I also don’t blame fans who are stil cautious precisely because it is now a CW show and much of how Kara’s being written this season and the type of character they turned Mon-El into really drives that point home on a regular basis, too.

    CW may ultimately be ‘just’ the network that’s airing these shows, while the showrunners make the decisions about the plot, but after how horribly another show of theirs handled a LGBT storyline that attracted lots of young, vulnerable LGBT viewers this has, in some ways, put more pressure on Supergirl to now ‘get it right’ or at least do better with Alex and Maggie and their story. But at the same time expectations are now so low that people are already happy if shows don’t kill their LGBT characters off again and so far there seems to be a great understanding over the importance this story holds to many viewers among the cast and writers so that’s something.

  11. K.D.S. says:

    Alex and Maggie are probably my favorite tv couple at the moment. I’m usually annoyed by shippers, but i definitely ship them. They have a great chemistry and their story is beautiful.

  12. Charlie says:

    Isn’t “queer screen-writer” an insensitive term to use to describe Deneb Rey? Why didn’t you say “gay”?

  13. dug says:

    This is why i stopped watching the show. Seems now a days they cant keep characters sexuality out of the story line! Im not interested in seeing lesbian or gay or any sexuality on these shows period! A shame.

    • Zoe says:

      You mean you stopped watching the show in the pilot when Winn was revealed to have a crush on Kara, and Kara first saw James and instantly had the hots for him? Heterosexuality is also a sexuality, and it’s one I would certainly love to see less of (especially since all this boring business with Mon-El) but I still watch anyway.

    • Olivia says:

      Dude, we’ve been subjected to heterosexuality irl and on screen since birth. You should be able to handle a couple minutes of gayness in your day without throwing a tantrum like a toddler.

  14. why are using so many quotation marks?
    … Storyline’s ‘Profound’ Impact

    why not?
    Storyline’s Profound Impact

    your text is peppered with these – it made me think of air quotes

    I’m just saying

  15. Karen says:

    Thanks you so much for this interview!!
    I just love Floriana and Chyler <3

  16. JOE S HILL says:

    The LGBTQ disease has no place on popular TV shows like Warner Bros. TV’s “SUPERGIRL” series, nor should this same sex slime be permitted in the pages of comics, and all the open embracing of this repulsive behavior will continue to get blunt and honest commentary as long as Greg Berlanti and his staff allow this kind of offensive material in iconic characters, who have nothing to do with this kind of behavior, and rest assured it will continue to get negative press and scorn, when it’s allowed in areas that it is plainly NOT welcomed in! you listening Greg Berlanti..keep the Lesbian bullshi! out of material that they have no business being in, because you’ll wind-up losing some of your audience!

    • Doc says:

      How about you take your bigoted mind and get lost back to the 1950s.

    • The Carpooler says:

      Losing people like you, Joe S Hill, would be a great thing for all of us. Lighten up and enjoy a TV land escape. Reality these days is hard enough.

    • Maria Huete says:

      I’m going to ignore all your bigoted speech, doesn’t deserve a reply. But have you actually read a comic book about these characters? Because for all of your outrage for the source material, Alex doesn’t exist on the comics and gay things have a lot of bussiness being wherever Maggie Sawyer is, you know since she was Batwoman’s fiancé and all.

    • Mary says:

      It’s not a disease and it’s not a choice. Your hatred and bigotry, however is a choice. You’re the only who is offensive with your hate and negativity. You’re obviously also a very unhappy person. You can’t be very happy with all of your hatred. It’ll consume you.

  17. Cate says:

    Lovely interview, thanks Matt. There have been a lot of romances on Supergirl this year but for me, Sanvers has been the best written. They’ve taken their time (sort of) having Alex come out and get together with Maggie – although it was still pretty fast. Both actresses do a great job and I love how supportive and positive they are in the media about it. Not greatly into the big sob stories from fans – a positive role model on a tv show is still just a tv show character. However if people take good things from it, that is nice for them.

    As long as they never lose the Alex/ Kara bond as the heart of the show.

  18. Cathy says:

    Funny, as people root for their favorite ships and story arcs, they never seem to comment on all the fighting and killing in this show, which is about 90% of it. It’s a bit monotonous for me. So what keeps me tuning in? The reward of following Sanvers, and especially of watching Chyler Leigh’s committed, entrancing performance. Alex and Maggie have become the warm, beating heart of Supergirl. (And I don’t think the Girl of Steel minds at all!)