Joel McHale has been cast in the DC Universe series Stargirl as the Golden Age superhero Starman. He is the second addition to the Stargirl cast following the announcement of Brec Bassinger as the titular teenager who becomes an unlikely superhero.
The Wrap reports that McHale is joining the cast of DC Universe’s Stargirl series as Starman, a stalwart superhero who was a member of the Justice Society of America. In the series, his real name is Sylvester Pemberton, and he’s described as “a courageous and confident superhero, [who] wields a mysterious anti-gravity weapon called the Cosmic Staff.”
Starman is a superhero identity used by many characters in DC Comics history, but McHale’s character seems to be based on the Golden Age hero, Ted Knight, who first appeared in 1941’s Adventure Comics #61 and faded into obscurity in the 1950s. Like McHale’s Sylvester Pemberton, the Golden Age Starman wielded a “gravity rod” of his own invention that allowed him to fly and manipulate energy. The most beloved iteration of the character, however is Jack Knight, Ted Knight’s son who was created by James Robinson and Tony Harris in 1994. A reluctant hero who wields his father’s cosmic staff but refuses to don the star-striped uniform, Jack Knight is the character in the comics who later passes the mantle to Stargirl.
It seems the Stargirl series reimagines this inheritance in a more streamlined fashion: Sylvester Pemberton’s Starman has a longtime sidekick named Stripesy, who is later revealed to be the stepfather of Brec Bassinger’s lead character, Courtney Whitmore. Whitmore discovers her stepfather’s past life as a superhero sidekick and decides to don the mantle of Stargirl. Here’s the logline for the series:
“Courtney Whitmore (aka Stargirl) is smart, athletic and above all else kind. This high school teenager’s seemingly perfect life hits a major speed bump when her mother gets married and her new family moves from Los Angeles, California, to Blue Valley, Nebraska. Struggling to adapt to a new school, make new friends and deal with a new step-family, Courtney discovers her step-father has a secret; he used to be the sidekick to a superhero. ‘Borrowing’ the long-lost hero’s cosmic staff, Courtney becomes the unlikely inspiration for an entirely new generation of superheroes.”
McHale joins the Stargirl cast a year after reports that the actor was circling another superhero role in a TV adaptation of Quantum and Woody. But it seems like the stars have called and McHale will don the cape and tights to play Starman; though judging by the description of the series, he may not show up often, or perhaps just in an advisory capacity to our title character. The announcement of McHale’s casting also puts to bed old reports that Warner Bros. was considering a Starman feature film, which was rumored back in 2010.
Stargirl is the sixth original series at the DC Universe streaming platform, joining a slate that includes Titans, and the upcoming Doom Patrol and Swamp Thing. No release date has been set yet for Stargirl.
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