Supergirl’s James Olsen Will Become Another One Of DC’s Superheroes

Supergirl’s James Olsen Will Become Another One Of DC’s Superheroes

Wait. What?

Entertainment Weekly has broken the news that former Superman sidekick James Olsen is getting a substantial upgrade on Supergirl: He’s becoming an actual superhero. Olsen will become the show’s version of Guardian, according to executive producer Andrew Kreisberg — and at first, he’ll be keeping his vigilante identity secret from Kara:

These next few episodes are going to make him realise that being a photographer… is not enough for him, so he’s going to go on a pretty exciting career trajectory that we’re really pumped by. James is going to decide that he can no longer sit back and be a sidekick, so he’s going to decide to become a vigilante and he’s going to become Guardian — complete with the shield — which is going to cause a massive problem in his relationship with Kara [Melissa Benoist], because he has decided not to tell her.

In the comics, Guardian is a shield-toting hero with exceptional combat abilities — someone many were expecting Arrow‘s Diggle to become after he got upgraded to a fully-fledged member of Team Arrow. The first person to use the moniker was Jim Harper, a Metropolis police officer who turned to vigilantism to tackle his city’s rampant crime. He was later retconned to be affiliated with Project Cadmus, with a clone of Harper taking on the Guardian mantle. The next Guardian was Mal Duncan, who used a strength-enhancing exoskeleton to recreate the abilities of the original Guardian.

Harper has actually already appeared on Supergirl, but not as the Guardian — played by Eddie McClintock, he was a US Army Colonel investigating the Martian Manhunter for Project Cadmus in the show’s 17th episode, “Manhunter”. So there’s a lot of room for Supergirl to play with the Guardian character and his origin.

However he begins his career, he’ll have help in keeping his heroics a secret from Kara — Winn will become James’ “man in a van”, offering intel and support for Central City’s new hero.