Geoff Johns’ spotlight panel at New York Comic Con 2018 took an in-depth look at everything from upcoming comics like Batman: Three Jokers and new issues of Doomsday Clock to DC Universe shows and movies like Stargirl and Shazam. We’ve known Stargirl is headed to DC Universe for some time, but the intimate Q&A setting at NYCC was a great opportunity to learn some new things about the upcoming show.
It was announced at the panel that Starman co-creator James Robinson will be co-writing the show alongside Johns. Given Robinson is perhaps best known for his work with the Justice Society of America, it’s natural to wonder if we’ll see any of them in Stargirl. Johns didn’t give details, but assured fans we would. “I don’t wanna spoil it, but there are a lot of Justice Society characters in [Stargirl], he said.
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It’s extremely clear that Stargirl is a passion project for Johns, who explained the character was inspired by his late sister, who passed away in 1996. “I wanted to create somebody who was taking on a legacy herself and embodying the positive spirit of the DC Universe,” he explained.
As far as inspiration for the show, a lot of it will be based on the comic books, but there’ll be several aspects that are new for the show. Johns described it as a “small town show, a bit of a throwback” that should evoke Back to the Future, Karate Kid and Cobra Kai. It’s about passing the torch and focusing on a new generation with a different perspective, which Johns said mirrors the cultural climate in our world. There is “such a movement in youth today… [young people now are] very active and very proactive.”
A Stargirl television show is something Johns has wanted to do for a long time. “I thought it was perfect for a TV show. I always wanted to do it as a TV show,” he said. “I can’t believe we live in a world where, let alone there’s more than one [superhero] movie, there are all these superhero shows. If someone said [when I was starting out] ‘I’ll bet you a thousand dollars there’ll be a Doom Patrol show,’ I would have lost a thousand dollars.”
Johns said DC Universe represents a great time to be a comic book fan. “We live in such a wonderful world where the characters we love and have loved forever, we get to share them with everyone else,” he said. “My whole career has been taking characters and trying to convince people that they’re cool and worth your time.”
Johns also gushed about Brec Bassinger, who will be playing Stargirl, saying he saw hundreds of auditions for the character but once he came across Bassinger’s, he said “that’s it. That IS Stargirl.” “She’s adorable, but can also kick ass. And that’s what Stargirl is,” he said. It’s important for the people playing these characters to really become them, and Johns said that DC has been really fortunate in that respect. For instance, with Gal Gadot, who plays Wonder Woman — “She’s so nice, and so kind, and she takes the role of Wonder Woman very seriously, but in a very emotional, warm way,” Johns said. “It’s a responsibility” to play these characters, and people like Gadot and Bassinger take that very seriously.
That goes a long way in helping Johns realize his vision for these shows — a vision that sometimes requires some outside-the-box thinking. Say, for instance, building an actual 15 feet tall robot. “If you’ore gonna do Stargirl, you gotta do S.T.R.I.P.E. And we want to do it right.”
Stargirl will land on the DC Universe streaming service in 2019.