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What a move to The CW could mean for DC’s STARGIRL



Stargirl (DC Universe/The CW)

Monday evening it was announced that DC’s Stargirl had been renewed for a second season. After consistently reeling in an audience circa 1M for seven weeks, it had finally been decided to bring Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) and her JSA pals back for more.

But that news came with a caveat.

The series, originally produced as a DC Universe exclusive, would be leaving the service. The CW, which airs episodes 24hrs after their DCU debut, will now be the exclusive home to the adventures in Blue Valley.

The news was met by a mixed reaction from fans. Many were elated to find out that Stargirl will continue beyond it’s 13 episode first season. Many were concerned at separating the show from its home base.

For us it means we will likely no longer have access to episodes prior to their release. We will settle back in to life watching Stargirl amongst our comic book fan peers. But it also left us wondering: how else might the move impact the show?

At the time of writing no plans have been announced to alter the way in which DC’s Stargirl is produced.

Geoff Johns will undoubtedly stay on as show runner/executive producer. Given his deeply personal connection to source material it is highly unlikely he would step away and allow anyone else to steer the ship for season 2.

The most obvious change which fans have voiced concerns over would be to move production to Vancouver. The public conception of the so-called CW Arrowverse is that all the of the shows are produced in Vancouver. The city itself is synonymous with TV productions.

When Supergirl was cancelled by CBS and rescued by The CW that show moved production from Los Angeles to Vancouver, so you can’t blame fans for being concerned.

But The CW has recently show it is willing to work outside the norm. Batwoman, which recently concluded its first season, shot scenes for multiple episodes in Chicago. That city often acts as Gotham City in big screen versions of Batman and helped set Batwoman apart from its Arrowverse cousins.

DC’s Stargirl filmed exclusively in Atlanta, Georgia which also happens to be home to Black Lightning. Yes, you might not have been aware but Black Lightning is does not film in Vancouver with the rest of the shows. When Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) took part in the Crisis On Infinite Earths crossover he was pulling double duty flying back-and-forth between locations.

Atlanta is home to a number of huge TV productions including AMC’s The Walking Dead franchise. It’s also well know that the local government offer tax breaks to productions looking to take up root in its sprawling landscapes.

DC Universe’s Doom Patrol also filmed both seasons on Atlanta soil.

The obvious benefit of moving the series to Vancouver would be the ability to freely crossover with other Arrowverse shows. There has been plenty of rumour regarding where Courtney might show up with The Flash being the most likely candidate.

At this point the entire Arrowverse believes that the Multiverse no longer exists. With Stargirl currently sitting on the new Earth-2 that means the series sits in a similar position to season one of Supergirl. By that I mean there is no need for regular crossover access negating an urgent need to move productions to cohabitate.

One aspect of the change in release which we are yet to understand is the licensing fees. Whilst Warner Bros. outright owns DC Universe, it shares ownership of The CW with CBS.

Whereas Warner Bros. can, in theory, pick and choose what appears on its own streaming services. It will need to license the series to The CW at a cost. In season one that cost was used to up the ante in production, helping the VFX to look suitably cinematic in the final product.

Keeping the show on the air could come at a price. The network may have offered a lower figure for season 2. Not due to a lack of faith that it will continue to succeed. To the contrary, The CW knows that Stargirl has a regular audience already built in given the stable figures for the seven episodes which have so far aired.

It actually all comes down to advertising. The more viewers the series has, the more the network can charge for advertising. The more money it can charge for advertising, the more chance it has for recouping the license fee it pays to Warner Bros. for the series.

So whilst season one was funded by DC Universe and later added to by The CW, season two will be solely funded by what The CW executives think the show is worth.

Whilst nothing is certain, we don’t expect a huge amount of change either behind or in-front of the camera. DC Universe series tend to air their home grown productions in 2:1 aspect ratio where The CW favours 16:9. But this year saw Batwoman experiment with the 2:1 ratio, again showing that the production teams behind the Arrowverse are happy to branch out.

With season one a bonafide success amongst fans and critics, The CW are unlikely to tamper with a winning formula. Whilst there will undoubtedly be the odd budget cut here and there we fully expect Stargirl season two to be every bit the same level of quality as season one.

How do you feel about the move to become a solely CW show? Let us know in the comments below…

The show stars Brec Bassinger in the title role. Luke Wilson is playing S.T.R.I.P.E., alongside Joel McHale (Starman), Lou Ferrigno Jr. (Hourman), Henry Thomas (Dr. Mid-Nite), and Brian Stapf (Wildcat). Neil Hopkins (Sportsmaster), Joy Osmanski (Tigress), and Nelson Lee (Dragon King) will portray members of the Injustice Society.

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