Ever since the pilot episode of Supergirl, Kara Zor-El's parents have played an instrumental part in her world. With both her adoptive parents — played by Dean Cain and Helen Slater — and her biological parents, Kara has a strong familial bond. Her family has always been a big part of the show, but one family member is about to look a lot different.
Executive producer Andrew Kriesberg explained why the change was necessary:
“Unfortunately Laura, who Greg [Berlanti] and I have worked with for years going back to Eli Stone, was unable to continue in the role due to work commitments in [New York]. But we are so blessed that Erica has come aboard to offer her own interpretation of Kara’s mother. We had tremendous success with a former Lois Lane last season with Teri Hatcher. We know Erica will continue the proud tradition of legacy actors joining our shows and creating new and exciting takes on classic DC characters.”
Laura Benanti brought Alura to life in a recurring role in Season 1, often guiding Kara in her battles. She existed as a A.I. contained within Kara's pod designed to help Kara cope with life on Earth, just as Jor-El exists as an A.I. in Superman's Fortress of Solitude. After Supergirl's move to Vancouver and The CW, Alura appeared only once in Season 2.
Durance played Lois Lane from Season 4 of Smallville and made the character her own. When she first appeared, it seemed that a romance between Lois and Clark was lightyears away, but by the show's conclusion they were a strong couple who empowered one another (and STILL hadn't got married despite the seven-year flash-forward).
The CW Loves Legacy Actors
Of course, Erica Durance's casting isn't the first time that Supergirl has brought in actors from previous DC TV series — she isn't even the first Lois Lane to appear. Lois & Clark's Lois Lane, Teri Hatcher played Mon-El's mother, Rhea who did battle with Kara in Season 2's third act. Dean Cain played opposite Teri Hatcher as Clark Kent/Superman and plays Kara's adoptive father, Jeremiah Danvers. And both previous Supergirls, Helen Slater and Laura Vandervoort, appear in multiple episodes.
Original #WonderWoman Lynda Carter plays President Olivia Marsdin in Season 2 as well, branching out from Superman's supporting cast. #TheFlash has featured John Wesley Shipp, the '90s Flash, playing the role of Barry Allen's father and the real Jay Garrick. Mark Hamill has appeared in the #Arrowverse as the Trickster, the same role he played in the '90s series; the same is also true for Amanda Pays, who plays Dr. Tina McGee in both shows.
Acknowledging legacy actors is nothing new, so really it was only a matter of time before Erica Durance appeared in the #Arrowverse, and while Laura Benanti brought a certain gravitas to Alura Zor-El, there's nothing to say that Durance can't succeed as well. Kara's mother was missed in Season 2, so this is a way to bring her back into the show and allow the relationship to develop further.
Who knows, it could also mean that there are plans for a return for Astra — after all, nobody stays dead in comic books for very long.
What do you think of this recast? Let me know in the comments!