SUPERGIRL Casts TV’s First Transgender Superhero

Television’s first transgender superhero will soon be joining the cast of  Supergirl, producers announced Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con.

The series has tapped actor and transgender activist Nicole Maines to play Nia Nal, a new member of the Catco reporting team who will eventually be revealed to be a hero in her own right. The casting call for the role, which producers put out in May, described Nia as “a confident, wunderkind of a fashionista” with “sparkling wit and biting humor, but under that banter-y, chic façade, lays a soulful young woman who has much to offer the world.” While Maines’ character is technically created for the show, Nia Nal is based in part on the related character Nura Nal, also known as Dream Girl of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Dream Girl, first introduced in Adventure Comics #317 in 1964, was an alien from the planet Naltor who had the power to see future events before they occurred. Originally, Dream Girl’s precognitive powers were portrayed as being unfailingly accurate—if she saw an event, it would absolutely take place—though she sometimes misinterpreted aspects of her visions. (In her first appearance, for instance, Dream Girl foresaw the deaths of the Legion of Super-Heroes in a rocket explosion, but it turned out that what she saw was actually the destruction of robotic doubles.) Dream Girl was also one of the smartest members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, though not quite on par with Brainiac 5‘s 12th-level intellect.

Superboy asks Dream Girl why the Legion of Superheroes have been turned to children

Beyond the similar names and heroic code names, though, it’s not clear yet just how much Nia Nal’s Dreamer will borrow from Nura Nal’s Dream Girl. We don’t know, for instance, if Nia will be a Naltorian, or if she will be a human who gained superpowers. Entertainment Weekly has reported, however, that Nia will be Nura’s distant ancestor, which would be consistent with Dream Girl’s 31st-century origins. If that’s the case, then it is likely only a matter of time (travel) before Nura also turns up.

Perhaps the most intriguing prospects, though, involve a potential romantic entanglement with Jesse Rath’s Brainiac 5, who has been upgraded to a series regular for Supergirl‘s fourth season. Nura Nal and Brainiac 5 have been romantically involved in the comics, and were even engaged for a period in the mid-2000s before the Legion of Super-Heroes was rebooted. Even if the pair are not linked romantically, Nia Nal could prove a strong counterpart to Brainiac 5, someone who can banter with the best of them and can take his intellect down a peg from time to time. With Jeremy Jordan’s Winn Schott, off the cast for season four, Nia is in a prime position to take his place as Brainiac 5’s intellectual foil, if not perhaps the Katherine Hepburn to his Spencer Tracy.

Detail of cover of Legion of Super-Heroes 47 showing Brainiac 5 giving Dream Girl an engagement ring

For now, though, we’ll have to wait for the premiere of season four of Supergirl on October 14, when we’ll start to learn more about Nicole Maines’ Dreamer.

As for Maines, she has previously appeared on the USA Network drama  Royal Pains, as well as in the documentaries The Trans List and Not Your Skin; she is also set to star in the upcoming horror comedy Bit, directed by Brad Michael Elmore, in which Maines will play a transgender teen who moves to LA and falls in with a gang of intersectional feminist vampires. As a teenager, Maines successfully sued her school district for discrimination over its policy prohibiting her from using the girls’ restroom.

What are you looking forward to in this upcoming season of Supergirl? Let us know in the comments!

Images: Warner Bros, DC Comics

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