‘Supergirl’ Turns James Olsen into the Guardian

Supergirl executive producer Andrew Kreisberg revealed today that James Olsen is poised to become DC hero Guardian this season.

Secret crime-fighting duo?

Secret crime-fighting duo?

According to CBR, Andrew explained that James “will decide he can no longer sit back and be a sidekick.” This is certainly an interesting pivot for the character, although his desire for justice and physical prowess cannot be denied. Traditionally The Guardian does not have superhuman abilities, so all James needs is a little bit of training, discipline, and tech. Which is where his friend Winn comes in. “Winn is his man in the van,” Kreisberg says. “Putting Winn and James together is like comedy gold.”

Not only will Winn and James team up to fight crime together on the sly, but Winn is also complicit in covering the crime fighting up. Apparently he and James will be keeping their new vigilante gig a secret from the DEO, and especially from Kara. Of course, this will add further post-breakup strain. Kreisberg previewed that becoming the Guardian “will cause massive problem in his relationship with Kara because he has decided not to tell her.”

Here’s where things get a little confusing. At the start of its first season, Supergirl established itself as breaking tradition by avoiding the long-standing trope of keeping loved ones in the dark. Not only did Kara’s sister know from the start what Kara could do, but as soon as she decides to use her powers, she lets her best friend Winn in on the secret. Not only that, but her love interest James moves into town already knowing what she can do. The only character locked out of the loop was her boss Cat Grant, who at first didn’t seem to like her all that much.

But now that it’s James Olsen’s turn to develop a superhero identity, the writing falls back on the “keep her in the dark” chestnut. What could be the reason for this? It seems that the producer believes James would keep it a secret from Kara because “she has her own feelings about vigilantes.” But plenty of drama has been mined from characters being open with each other about their different stances – and no one really believes Kara would have James arrested if he confessed to her that he was acting as a vigilante, do they? And it’s not just that James will be lying to the person who has just been declared his best friend, it’s that Kara’s other best friend will be joining in on the secret.

Hopefully Supergirl quickly does away with the secrets and lies, and instead allows Kara and James to work together. Or to argue about their methods if necessary, because resolution comes through conflict and not through silence.