In May of this year, Supergirl put out a casting call for a transgender actress to join the show’s fourth season. On Saturday at San Diego Comic Con, it was announced that transgender actress and activist Nicole Maines would be playing the part of Nia Nal- assumed to be a version of the DC Comics character Nura Nal, a humanoid alien, also known as Dream Girl, a member of the Legion of Superheros, who can see into the future.
The casting call for the character read as follows:
“Transgender woman, early 20s, open ethnicity. A confident, wunderkind of a fashionista. Once a political speechwriter, Nia is the newest addition to the Catco investigative reporting team. With her she brings sparkling wit and biting humor but under that banter-y, chic façade, lays a soulful young woman who has much to offer the world. A young ‘Cat Grant’ type.”
Maines talked with Variety about what taking on a role like this means to her and the trans community.
“I haven’t really wrapped my head around it,” Maines told TV exec editor Debra Birnbaum at Variety’s Comic Con Studio. “It feels fitting to say with great power, comes great responsibility,” adding, “I’m nervous because I want to do it right… We can be whoever we want, we can do whatever we want, we can be superheroes, because in many ways we are,” adding, “We’ve had trans representation in television for a while but it hasn’t been the right representation.”
Supergirl was once hailed as the most progressive and feminist of the Arrow-verse shows, but has faltered in the previous 2 seasons. While stories of Alex’s coming out and relationship with Maggie Sawyer had been a step in the right direction; almost everything having to do with Kara Davers and her alter-ego Supergirl missed the mark. Critics have surmised that much of Kara’s character growth was stunted for the progression of other characters, particularly male ones.
It appears though that Season 4 will be bringing Kara back to her roots with the promise of more focus on her as a journalist and her time at Cat Co. Nicole Maines character, Nia Nal will be a large part of this turn back to Kara’s day job as Nia is a former employee of Cat Grant. Sent to National City, she will find herself becoming close with Kara and learning not only about journalism, but about being a superhero.
Supergirl Season 4 premieres on its new night, Sunday, Oct. 14 at 8/7c on The CW, leading into the Charmed reboot.