“Supergirl” is tackling trans issues in their most recent episode.
Nicole Maines plays Nia Nal (also known as Dreamer), the first trans superhero on TV. In Sunday’s episode titled “Reality Bites”, Nal is challenged by a man who believes the world doesn’t need superheroes like her.
Showrunners Robert Rovner and Jessica Queller prepped Maine for the storyline early on.
“Something happens to Nia’s roommate, and she sets out for revenge,” Maines recalled the showrunners telling her to E!News. “It’s an episode to show Dreamer as a guardian for the trans community.”
Maines describes her character as typically a “happy go-lucky kind of hero” but admits there is none of that in this episode.
“This episode shows Dreamer with none of that. It shows Dreamer and Nia just completely snapped, and over the edge, and off the deep end,” Maines said. “She’s not that kind of happy-go-lucky, making jokes in the face of danger kind of hero anymore. She’s out for blood.”
“This episode is kind of the culmination fo everything Nia has gone through for the past two seasons,” she added. “Losing her mother and her sister, losing her literal universe, and then losing Brainiac also, and then put on all the regular stakes of being a superhero. And then you have someone who attacks your roommate…someone who is telling you, you know, stop doing what you love because of who you are, or I’m going to keep going after, you know, trans people. It is a very immediate oh, someone needs to pay for this.”
Maines wanted to be a big part of creating the storyline and sat in with the writers.
“What do we want this episode to be?” Maines said of the conversations they would have. “Who do we want this villain to be? Do we want to give him a backstory? Does it matter what his backstory is? What lines you want to give to who? Who do we want to be making these points? Do we want Nia to be saying all of this, or what lines we want to give to Yvette, who is the victim here?”
The situation also gives Supergirl and Brainy perspective of what the trans community has to deal with on a daily basis.
“You have Supergirl, she’s dealt with villains of all kinds before and she’s really saying, hey, listen, we’re going to get this guy, just stay with Yvette and make sure she’s ok, this is what we do every week,” Maines said. “And Nia says no, this is not what we do every week. This is not something that you understand. This is not something that you live with, hanging over your head. This is my community under assault. This is me, as a person, under assault. So she has her support, but really, this is an episode where Nia and where Dreamer really say, I feel just alone in this, and I feel this is something I need to do my way.”
Maine added that everyone on set was very supportive of the storyline and excited to help create it.
“Everyone kind of understood the importance of this episode and everyone was just like, Nicole, I’m so happy to be doing this. I’m so excited for people to see this episode. So it was a feeling not just for me, but for everybody on set of importance surrounding this episode, which was really great to see.”