Hayden Panettiere would be a great addition to the DCEU in any superhero role. However, there is one that seems tailor-made for the actress.
It might not have released the same number of successful movies as the MCU, but fans of the DCEU can be happy knowing that their cinematic universe has had its fair share of Hollywood royalty playing some of the world’s most iconic heroes and villains. Celebrities like Margot Robbie, Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, and Jason Momoa, are now part of the pantheon of artists that have played superheroes on the big screen – and there are many more to come.
The world of live-action DC Comics movies is always looking to add new characters to the mix. While most of the bigger roles go to the most well-known actors in the entertainment business, there’s still plenty of pivotal DC characters that still haven’t been cast.
Case in point: Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl. A character that’s been loved by fans ever since her debut in 1959. In this era of equality and diverse representation, it’s baffling to see Supergirl completely absent in the DCEU, being relegated to a CW show — although a version of the character will be showing up in the Flash solo film (which might be different from the Supergirl from Snyder’s original world).
This leaves us with a massive gap in the DCEU, as we now might be down one Superman, following Henry Cavill’s departure from the franchise.
Fortunately, we know exactly who would have been a great actress to play such an iconic role: the star of Heroes and Nashville, Hayden Panettiere.
Whatever Happened to Hayden Panettiere
In 2006, a show called Heroes challenged the standards of TV. A dark, gritty take on the superhero genre, the show revolved around the lives of a group of “exceptional” people, each gifted with superhuman abilities.
One of the show’s characters was Claire Bennet, a high school student with the power to spontaneously regenerate. Claire was played by Panettiere, who used her previous skills playing the “cheerful blonde cheerleader” kind of character as her main source of inspiration.
After Heroes, Panettiere struggled to shake the image of ‘cheerleader’ out of her career. Ever since the show Nashville went off the air in 2018, the actress has been on a hiatus, prioritising her private life over anything else.
This might be the reason why she wasn’t even considered for the lead role in The CW’s Supergirl. That part went to Melissa Benoist, who bears a striking resemblance with Panettiere. Benoist is a year older than Panettiere, which means that Panettiere would have been just as good for the role.
Perfect for the Part
Something to keep in mind when we say that Panettiere would have been the perfect choice to play Supergirl is that she has four seasons of experience playing a superhero character.
While Benoist is doing a great job on her own, there’s no denying that casting someone with a background that includes acting in one of the most influential superhero TV series of all time would have been a great way to advertise the show.
Panettiere also has an extensive drama background to presume. While it’s true that she has more or less been typecast as the blonde high school student, her experience as a purely dramatic actor in Nashville proves that she would have been great playing some of Supergirl’s most touching stories.
Let’s not forget that, at their core, the Kryptonians are deeply tragic characters. Hayden Panettiere would have given Supergirl an extra layer of nuance to the character, which makes us believe that she would be the best bet if Warner Bros ever needs someone to play Supergirl in the DCEU — again.
That said, Sasha Calle will do a great job with the role too. Don’t be surprised to see The Young and the Restless actress get her own spin-off series or films.