Every Actress Who Has Played Supergirl In Live-Action



Throughout her live-action history, Supergirl has been played by a slew of talented stars who have left their mark on the Girl of Steel. Kara Zor-El/Danvers, aka Supergirl, is one of DC Comics’ best characters. Supergirl might not be as famous as her Kryptonian cousin, Superman. However, that does not make Supergirl and her displays of power any less extraordinary than those Clark Kent is known for. Over the years, Kara Zor-El has appeared in different franchises, being the lead of her own projects and becoming the fan-favorite DC hero in the eyes of many.

From the only Supergirl movie to Smallville to the Arrowverse and beyond, Supergirl has had her fair share of live-action adventures. For each new universe Kara Zor-El appeared in, there have been changes to how the character presented herself, her origins, and more key elements of the DC hero — including several different live-action Supergirl suits. 2023 saw the debut of a new Supergirl, only for her to die in the same movie. However, the new DC Universe has already cast its Girl of Steel, confirming that Supergirl’s live-action adventures will continue with a new actress adding to the character’s legacy.


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Helen Slater Started Supergirl’s Live-Action Legacy

Known For: Supergirl (1984)

Helen Slater was the first actress to play Supergirl in live-action. Her Kara Zor-El was the star of the first and only live-action movie for the Girl of Steel to this day — which the new DC Universe will soon fix — 1984’s Supergirl. In the movie, Kara survived Krypton’s explosion due to Argo City being transported into a pocket space called “Innerspace.” Supergirl was set in the same continuity as the Christopher Reeve Superman movies, with the actor once thought to make a cameo in the film, though that ended up not working out.

Despite Supergirl not being the major success the character deserved, none of that was Slater’s fault. She played a Kara Zor-El who was true to how the Girl of Steel is in the comics: compassionate, determined, charming, and powerful. As the first actress to play Supergirl in live-action, Slater continued to have some connections to the DC world. The actress went on to play Lara-El — Superman’s biological mother — in Smallville, as well as share the screen with Melissa Benoist’s Supergirl in her Arrowverse series as Kara’s adoptive mother, Eliza Danvers.

Through CGI, Slater’s Supergirl and Reeve’s Superman finally appeared together onscreen in 2023’s The Flash, thanks to the DCEU movie’s exploration of the multiverse.

Laura Vandervoort Was The First Live-Action Supergirl On TV

Known For: Smallville

Lauren Vandervoort as Supergirl in Smallville

Following Slater came Laura Vandervoort as the next iteration of Supergirl in live-action. The character now appeared on the small screen, with Vandervoort playing a role in the Superman prequel series Smallville. As the series had a strict “No tights, no flights” rule, Vandervoort never got to don Supergirl’s iconic comic book costume, though she wore clothes that invoked the hero’s signature look. Smallville‘s Kara Kent was stubborn, determined, loyal, and, different from Tom Welling’s Clark Kent — who was finding himself — Kara was confident in who she was and what she had to do to help others.

Adrianne Palicki Gave Life To A Fake Kara In Smallville

Known For: Smallville

Adrianne Palicki as fake Supergirl in Smallville

Adrianne Palicki played Lindsay Harrison in Smallville. The character went missing as a teenager when the meteor shower first struck Smallville, returning out of nowhere fourteen years later. She shows up completely naked at the Kent Farm, meeting Welling’s Clark Kent and introducing herself as Kara from Krypton. Later, it would be revealed that Palicki’s character was not actually Supergirl, but a puppet of Jor-El’s. While she only played a fake version of Supergirl, Palicki’s DC history runs deeper, with the actress having portrayed Wonder Woman in a failed TV pilot.

Melissa Benoist Played Supergirl For The Longest Time

Known For: Arrowverse’s Supergirl

While Slater will forever remain iconic due to playing Kara Zor-El first, Melissa Benoist has become synonymous with Supergirl in the eyes of many. The actress made her debut as Kara Danvers when the first season of Supergirl aired in 2015. While Benoist’s Supergirl started her journey on a different Earth, the Girl of Steel and her world would eventually get folded into the Arrowverse. That led to Benoist’s Supergirl having the most exciting adventures the character has ever had in live-action, with Supergirl becoming a major part of the Arrowverse.

Benoist bowed out of the role in 2021 after leading six seasons of Supergirl. Her legacy as Kara Danvers has been cemented, with Benoist playing the pitch-perfect adaptation of DC Comics’ Supergirl for several years and crossovers. Benoist’s version of Kara was every bit as charming as the character is known to be, with the actress making the character’s bubbly personality endearing rather than campy. As Supergirl, the Arrowverse actress showed great resolve, compassion, and fearlessness. Benoist’s Supergirl even fought Tyler Hoechlin’s Superman in the Arrowverse and won, showing her might.

Sasha Calle’s Supergirl Was Gone Too Soon

Known For: The Flash (2023)

After ten years, the DCEU finally decided to bring in Supergirl. Sasha Calle premiered as a different version of Kara Zor-El in 2023’s The Flash; however, the character’s potential would be cut short. Supergirl’s role in the DCEU movie started out fine enough, with Kara taking the role Superman had in the comics’ Flashpoint. However, things took a dark turn when General Zod killed Supergirl, and despite how many times the movie’s two versions of the Flash tried to save Supergirl and Michael Keaton’s Batman by going back in time, there was nothing that could be done.

The permanent death of Calle’s multiverse take on Supergirl was due to shake-ups at DC. The studio went through major changes before The Flash was released, which included James Gunn and Peter Safran taking over as DC Studios co-CEOs. The new DC management decided to end the DCEU and launch the new DC Universe. Calle’s Supergirl was part of two versions of The Flash‘s three endings, with the final iteration of the film scrapping her character to not set up a story the new DCU would not pay off. Calle’s planned Supergirl movie was canceled.

Milly Alcock Has Been Cast As The DCU’s Supergirl

Known For: DCU/Supergirl: Woman Of Tomorrow

During the announcement of the first few projects of the new DC Universe, Gunn revealed that the Girl of Steel would debut in the DCU’s Chapter One, with an adaption of Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow‘s story from the comics to the big screen. House of the Dragon breakout star Milly Alcock managed to beat the Tomorrowverse Supergirl voice actress Meg Donnelly after screen tests, becoming the Supergirl of the DCU. Alcock will reportedly make her debut in Gunn’s Superman: Legacy, which will see Supergirl interact with her Kryptonian cousin, David Corenswet’s Superman.


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Alcock’s House of the Dragon role makes her a perfect pick for Supergirl. Like Rhaenyra Targaryen in the Game of Thrones spinoff series, Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow‘s version of Kara Zor-El will have a darker edge to her. As Kara grew up on a floating part of Krypton, watching everyone die around her with no means to escape, Supergirl will be fighting her own demons as she becomes a symbol of hope for others. Alcock has shown that she can bring that nuance to life, adding a new side to Supergirl‘s live-action journey as the latest actress to play Kara.

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