The CW Conclave: Six new characters you should tune in for

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1. Nia Nal – Supergirl

Supergirl has perhaps received the most attention of any show on The CW, regarding its casting additions — and rightfully so. Three years after the series made its historic debut as DC’s only female-led superhero TV show, Supergirl will make history again in season four by introducing television’s first transgender superhero: Nia Nal, aka Dreamer.

Trans activist Nicole Maines has been cast in the series regular and multi-faceted role. While the season will find Nia taking on her hero mantle, she will also be a new reporter at CatCo. In fact, as I’ve previously written about, Nia’s dual identity was not included in the original casting call, but she was linked to a fan favorite character.

"Nia promises to shake things up at CatCo and bring back a familiar energy that’s been missing its name-sake stepped down. That’s right! Everyone’s favorite one-liner queen has finally found her spiritual successor, so to speak, and it’s not James Olsen or Kara Danvers. Per the casting notice, Nia is “a young ‘Cat Grant’ type,” who brings not only “sparkling wit and biting humor” but also a “soulful” intellect."

In an interview with Variety at Comic Con, Maines explained why it was so important to her and for transgender representation that Nia not be solely defined by her gender identity.

"Trans characters don’t have to be “the trans character”… I think in television there is a pattern we’ve seen of, you know, the trans character comes out and then their entire storyline is about their transness… Trans people have lives outside of our gender identity and our transness, and I think it’s time to start telling those stories."

Introducing Nia, a multi-faceted LGBTQ character, is also important for The CW, given its poor reputation for representation, which largely stems from The 100.

Lexa (Alycia Debnam-Carey) was an incredibly popular and complex character, who was not solely defined by her sexual orientation. However, her death in 2016 during the show’s third season played right into the “Bury Your Gays” TV trope from the perspective of many fans.

The issue is somewhat complicated since Debnam-Carey was leaving the show and, therefore, had to be written off. However, it’s pretty universally agreed that the precise nature of her death and its coming just after the consummation of her relationship with Clarke was detrimental to LGBTQ representation.

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The CW has since made strides, including with Alex Danvers’ (Chyler Leigh) coming out storyline in Supergirl‘s second season and subsequent relationship with Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima).

Nia should be an especially big win for representation because trans characters, particularly multi-faceted ones, are so rarely seen on television and are often portrayed by cisgender people.

Which new characters are you most excited to see on The CW this season? Let us know in the comments section below.