If you’re new to the explosively popular world of DC comics — or maybe if you’re a longtime fan, too — you might find it difficult to keep track of all the many backstories, superpowers, and relationships each character comes with. No need to let that stop you from enjoying one of the newer additions to the lore: Stargirl, executive produced by Geoff Johns.
Understanding the background and history of a story can raise the stakes and enhance the viewing experience. Before you watch Stargirl, here’s what you should know going in:
Stargirl’s Origin Is Based on Multiple Past Versions
In the new series, Stargirl’s origin is partially based on a couple different versions in the DC franchise.
In the 1999 comic Stars and STRIPE #0, Courtney Whitmore dons the costume and equipment of a past hero called the Star-Spangled Kid as a joke on her stepdad Pat, who used to be the Star-Spangled Kid’s sidekick. Although she gets dressed up as a prank, she soon finds herself fighting villains in earnest with Pat by her side, taking on the name Stargirl.
A slightly altered story in 2011 shows Stargirl coming about when Courtney discovers and tries out the Star-Spangled Kid’s gear in her home city of Los Angeles, attracting a great deal of public attention. In this version, it’s never explained exactly how her stepdad Pat came into possession of that gear, but the result, nevertheless, is that Courtney finds it and becomes Stargirl.
In the new series, Courtney finds the old superhero gear in sidekick-turned-stepfather Pat’s things as in the original comic, but only the Cosmic Staff, not the full getup that was included previously.
The most significant elements of the original stories carry over: Courtney takes on powers previously wielded by the Star-Spangled Kid and works with her stepdad Pat to become a teenage superhero.
The Cosmic Staff Has Evolved
A significant aspect of Stargirl’s power is her weapon, The Cosmic Staff — physically, Stargirl is agile and strong, but not superhuman. When Starman was alive, he was the only one who was able to wield the Cosmic Staff. The show doesn’t immediately explain why, 10 years later, Courtney Whitmore is able to use it.
Unlike in past appearances, the Cosmic Staff has some agency of its own in Stargirl, sometimes having effects that Stargirl doesn’t intend when she’s using it.
Starring Brec Bassinger, Yvette Monreal, Anjelika Washington, Cameron Gellman, and others, Stargirl will air its second season in 2021. Whether or not you’re an expert, having a bit of background information will help you keep up with your fellow DC fans and enjoy the show.