The DCEU has been having a hard time consolidating a narrative line, with all the different timelines and universes it could be hard for a lot of people to actually keep track of the multiverse stories. And that’s the case with Supergirl too. There’s the now cancelled CW TV show (Melissa Benoist), the upcoming Flash movie’s Supergirl (Sasha Calle), and the DCEU Supergirl established by Zack Snyder in a 2013 Man of Steel prequel comic.
All three are very different takes on Kara Zor-El, telling different origin stories and played by different actors.
Today, we’ll focus on Zack Snyder’s planned Supergirl in the DCEU – what we know about her and what we learned about the character in the official Man of Steel prequel comic book.
Man of Steel Prequel Comic
The Man of Steel prequel is a DC comic released the same year as the iconic movie, and not only does it serve as a prologue to the entire film but gives us more info on Kara Zor-El AKA Supergirl.
The first page of the comic already presents an iconic scene we missed in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel; Kal-El’s arrival on Earth. We see the Kryptonian rocket ship, Jonathan Kent and Martha Kent holding a baby, and the last panel shows us Krypton before it was destroyed.
From there, the comic quickly moves on from Superman / Clark Kent and transports us to several years before. We find Kara Zor-El (wearing the family crest symbol on her chest) on a strange alien planet completing her final test as a pilot. We learn that the pilots are to be trained and prepare to go on terraforming missions during Krypton’s biggest expansion era.
During this training, the six candidates wear the dark black / grey uniforms worn by General Zod we get to see in Man of Steel. They’ve also got advanced Kryptonian tech to guide them through the planet – which is filled with alien plants and coloured crystals.
Only four participants are to graduate. Among these are Kara, her boyfriend Kell-Ur, and Dev-Em, the latter one having a clear issue with Kara — questioning her leadership. The entire situation pushes Kell into danger and when Kara tries to save him, a snake (or something like it) bites his hand and he ends up falling to his death.
Kara then fights Dev, who reveals that he is responsible for Kell’s death. He also tries to kill her but she quickly defeats Kell and ends up restraining him.
At the trial, it is revealed that this is the first Kryptonian murder in over a thousand years. The Council can’t decide on the punishment, as they don’t want to have it be an eye for an eye, and leave Dev-Em under the council’s custody indefinitely.
Later at the graduation, the same Council congratulates Kara for her bravery and assign her an important mission. In the Man of Steel prequel comic, we also learn that the scout ships they are travelling on are the same ones that Superman finds in Man of Steel.
A New Mission
As Kara sails off on her mission with her crew, they mention that it’s going to take about ten years for them to reach their destination, and this is why they have to get into cryosleep capsules during the trip. At the same time, Dev-Em manages to escape his holding cell.
During some of the crew’s conversation, it is also revealed that you’re not supposed to dream during cryosleep. But as soon as they get in, Kara has a vivid dream in which she manages to save her boyfriend (using her abilities as Supergirl). When she awakens, she finds that all of her partners’ capsules are open.
After exploring the ship, she finds the skull-like corpses of her crew — these bodies are pretty much the same as the ones Kal-El finds in the abandoned ship on Earth.
Dev reveals himself. He has murdered everyone else on board. We also learn that, in order to keep Krypton a crimeless society, it was in fact the Council who helped him get onboard the scout ship.
Naturally, a fight between Kara-El and Dev-Em ensues, and the ship ends up crashing to the Earth (in the Arctic).
Crashing to Earth
In the final panels, we see a figure stepping out of the ship. Is this Kara-El or has Dev-Em survived too? The question is left unanswered.
It could very well be that Kara-El has been living on Earth long before Kal-El arrives. Perhaps she’s been secretly saving the world as Supergirl, or living in hiding as one of us.
The Man of Steel prequel comic sets up future conflict in the DCEU. Superman or Supergirl, or both, might have to defeat Dev-Em in a future film/story.
How Man of Steel Sets up a DCEU Supergirl Appearance
Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel may already be 9 years old, but that doesn’t stop it from holding exciting secrets that are finally getting answers. Among the many Easter eggs and hints for the then-upcoming DCEU film, we got to see an important piece of the bigger Superman story, and it seems to be paying off for DC in the hopes of a new helm to the Man of Steel sequel.
We are, of course, referring to Supergirl, Superman’s hotheaded cousin who got a bit of Kryptonian culture under her wing before being involuntarily shipped off the doomed planet.
Supergirl has seen her fair share of mainstream popularity, even in recent memory such as her important role in Injustice 2. The animated DC media also does her character justice with the Superman/Batman: Apocalypse movie, as well as the Justice League Unlimited TV show. Most popular of all, we’ve even got a 6-season live-action Supergirl TV series out there. A live-action DCEU version of Supergirl is confirmed to play a role in the Flash movie, but that is unlikely to be her main counterpart in the continuity we are familiar with. Still, the actor could reprise the role as a possible Man of Steel successor.
Die-hard DC fans are probably aware of this, but there is a prequel one-shot comic called Man of Steel: The Prequel that gives some background to the events that took place prior to the movie, including the Krypton scenes at the beginning (and what happened to Supergirl).
Published back in 2013, the comic introduces us to Kara Zor-El, a starship pilot who was forced to crash on a foreign planet following an attack and the subsequent demise of her crew during an expedition. The crash was caused by some damage done to the craft’s directional systems, forcing her to land on earth. Interestingly enough, the events of the comic took place thousands of years prior to Man of Steel. If that is any indication, then there’s a good chance that Kara is alive on Earth.
Now, that raises a few questions and draws us to two possible conclusions. The first being that Kara managed to get herself back up and live in hiding. Or, more likely, she’s in a similar situation to Steve Rodgers, frozen in the Arctic. In a grim version of that scenario, she could even be trapped in the Phantom Zone. It’s interesting to see how the DCEU wishes to introduce her, especially with the events of the comic in mind.
The first scenario also gives us a bit of backstory and solves the problem of having to do an origin story for an already established Superhero in the eyes of many fans. With Kara out and about prior to Supes, she could be written into other prequel events such as Darkseid’s invasion of the earth during the ancient times.
With the second scenario, there’s a chance to appreciate her growth from a Kryptonian mindset into a general appreciation of Earth and its people.
Zack Snyder explained that the original concept he had was to include Supergirl in Man of Steel, but, ultimately, couldn’t make the idea work. Sadly he didn’t actually disclose how far they got with the idea, even though this entire comic of the Man of Steel Prequel is based on the origins story of Supergirl and her arrival on the planet:
“As we went along, it was always my intention to expand the universe and start introducing more and more family characters. She fell into that category. And certainly, the idea of a Supergirl solo movie is a very cool thing. I don’t have a script or anything in mind, but it would be amazing to see.”
We might have to wait a little while longer to finally see Supergirl make a solo DCEU appearance on the big screen – even if she’s already set to appear in the Flash movie. The current state of the standalone movie is unknown but, now that the DCEU is trying to get the convergent timelines together, we could finally begin to see Zack Snyder’s Supergirl movie soon enough. And chances are it won’t be anything like 1984’s Supergirl with Helen Slater.
Tell us, what are your thoughts on the Supergirl Man of Steel Prequel comic? Do you want to see Zack Snyder’s Supergirl in Man of Steel 2?