When it comes to TV sisterhood, Supergirl’s Kara and Alex Danvers — played affectionately by Melissa Benoist and Chyler Leigh — fly a little higher than the rest. Whether fighting side by side or drinking wine on Kara’s cozy couch, these two women are the heart of the CW hit. Now the action drama is kicking off a two-parter that explores the roots of their bond even more.
In “Prom Night” on April 27 and “Prom Again!” on May 4 (the second half was directed by Leigh), heroic Nia Nal/Dreamer (Nicole Maines) and the data-crunching Brainiac-5 (Jesse Rath) travel back in time to prom circa 2009. Their plan? To see if the teenage Danvers siblings (Izabela Vidovic as young Kara; Olivia Nikkanen as young Alex) hold the key to locating present-day Kara — aka National City’s savior Supergirl — within the Phantom Zone. She’s been trapped in that parallel dimension since the first episode of the sixth and final season, a storyline that fortuitously accommodated Benoist’s maternity leave. Leigh calls the throwback episodes “an origin story of the Danvers sisters.”
Here, the fan favorites behind the adopted alien from Krypton and her warrior sis prove that family is all just relative.
At what point during shooting the series did you begin to feel like sisters?
Chyler Leigh: It was pretty instantaneous. And it was a surprise, I think, for both of us to look at each other and go, “Wait a minute. I’m made for you!”
Melissa Benoist: Our first couch scene [Season 1, Episode 3, “Fight or Flight”]. I threw a pillow at Chyler and thought she was going to catch it. It smacked her in the face and we couldn’t stop laughing.
Leigh: The [couch scenes] are such special moments. It brings a reprieve from all the action…and there’s so much of Mel and Chyler in there, I think that makes it even more special. I would say the vast majority of those scenes that we have done, it’s all improv by the end.
Alex has officially taken on her own super moniker, Sentinel, after a long journey as a lesbian field agent turned director of the secret agency the Department of Extranormal Operations (DEO) and, later, a vigilante. Melissa, how was it knowing Chyler would be joining the Arrowverse’s heroes to pick up the slack while you were on maternity leave?
Benoist: To me, Alex was always a superhero, so it only made sense that she got her suit and her Hand of the Soldier gauntlet [which transforms into any weapon she desires]. Like, it’s about time. And with David Harewood [Martian Manhunter] — the three of us are the OGs from the very get-go — it’s so solid that any of us can step out and the show is in good hands.
Leigh: Khakis and an Under Armour shirt [Alex’s DEO uniform] will only help you survive for so long, you know?
Chyler, you were a mom first, and Melissa, you directed the show first. Did you two trade notes on either?
Benoist: I’ve gotten to see what a wonderful mom Chyler is…she’s such a mama bear to us on the show. I learned by watching her.
Leigh: To see Mel’s eyes twinkle, I have no doubt she’s going to be a phenomenal mom. From a directing standpoint, I had a much different experience [from Benoist]. I’m not in [“Prom Again!”]. But I think we can both say we did a pretty damn good job.
The midseason finale airs May 11, and then you’re on hiatus until summer. What’s in store for the Danvers sisters in the remaining 13 episodes?
Benoist: Oh, good question! [Laughs]
Leigh: Well, eventually Supergirl has to come out of the Phantom Zone, so maybe another Danvers couch scene is in order!
Is there a Danvers sisters tattoo yet?
Leigh: [Laughs] No, but we’ve talked about it!
Do you hear from fans or sisters who see themselves reflected in Kara and Alex’s relationship?
Leigh: Oh, yeah. [Fans are excited to see] that you don’t have to have sisters that are catty. These girls have each other’s back, and they fight to the death for each other, which has happened pretty much every season.
Have there been discussions about Kara flying off into the sunset as the show wraps up?
Benoist: The ending that was pitched I was really happy with. Of course, I’m not going to give anything away, but I am very happy with the strength and the empowerment that comes with the way we’re ending the series for Kara.
Supergirl, Tuesdays, 9/8c, The CW