‘Supergirl’ Series Finale: Katie McGrath on Lena’s Evolution & SuperCorp’s Last Stand

    Supergirl comes in for a landing on November 9 with a two-hour series finale full of action, emotion and old friends…there’s even a sly nod to the character’s previous incarnation. It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation as Kara (Melissa Benoist) and the gang race to save Esme (Mila Jones), the love totem-channeling foster child of Alex (Chyler Leight) and Kelly (Azie Tesfai), from Lex (Jon Cryer) and Nyxly (Peta Sergeant). Which means we’re getting backup from returning pals like Kelly’s brother Jimmy Olsen (Mechad Brooks), former CatCo techie-turned-Legion of Superheroes member Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan) and his fellow Legionnaire, Mon-El (Benoist’s real-life husband, Chris Wood).

    Much of the first part is devoted to the team’s attempts to stop the Nyxly and Lex—the Boris and Natasha of the Fifth Dimension—from collecting all of the totems they need to take over while also empowering the citizens of National City to unleash their own inner heroes. After that, things settle down and get emotional as Kelly and Alex finally tie the knot. And that is not to be missed. Especially because, like the action portion of our program, everyone on the canvas gets their moment.

    In fact, Kara’s bestie Lena Luthor gets a pair of them that just blew us away, so we rang up the hilariously open Katie McGrath to chat about her five-year ride as this complicated and ultimately enchanting woman, and whether we may see her again on any of the CW’s other super-powered shows.

    OK, so I just watched the episodes and it’s so lovely the way they devote so much of the finale’s second hour to this family and this celebration. I really love it. And Lena gets to give this incredible speech to Kara.

    Katie McGrath: I know. I can’t believe I actually managed to get through it on the day, because it was our last week of filming. So all of the emotions are running high and you’re very aware that this is the combination of a good five years of a storyline. And it’s also the last week, and you’re up against it with time and you want to do it justice. So I’d prepped for so long…

    You nailed it. And I was thinking, you were also probably dealing with the emotions of filming the series wraps for all these actors.

    Oh yeah, every day. And that was the thing, the last two or three days, every scene almost, you’d be wrapping someone and they’re saying goodbye. And I know it sounds so trite, but these are your family. You’ve been in the trenches, you’ve celebrated, you’ve done everything with them, for me, for five years, and you’re saying goodbye. Everybody has a different reaction to it and you’re watching everybody’s reaction. It was a lot. It was a lot.

    Supergirl - Julie Gonzalo + Katie McGrath

    Colin Bentley/The CW

    I can imagine. And in these last two hours, you get to see how far Lena has come. We get a really nice look back at how all these characters have evolved. Not only does she help Andrea (Julie Gonzalo) come to terms with her past, but she also ends up a [spoiler]!

    I know, right? When I read it in the script, I was like, “That’s insane.” But I get it, I have a lot of money, so I’m the best choice. [Laughs]

    So when did you guys get this script and start filming?

    We tended to get the scripts quite close to when we’d start filming, which actually was quite nice for this one because it means we didn’t have to sit with it too long, sit with the goodbye. You just sort of got the script and we went straight into it. And it was a two-parter as well, like you said, so we had all of this action [first] and then the last week of filming was more chill. A lot of it was the wedding. They got all the big action pieces out of the way, which meant you felt like you were doing more of these character pieces and it was a nice way to wind down. Putting a full stop on the show, as well as saying goodbye in real life, if that makes sense.

    Supergirl - Mehcad Brooks + Katie McGrath + Nicole Maines

    Katie Yu/The CW

    Oh, totally. How much did this cause you to look back at where Lena started and how long it’s been for you?

    Oh man, I’ve said this in other interviews, I was hired to do three episodes in Season 2. I know, madness! And so to be there on the last day and, like you said, have this amazing scene with Melissa and then to [spoiler] for Alex and Kelly? Had you told me on my first day of filming, when I was petrified by the fact that I was filming with Superman and Supergirl, having no bloody idea what I was doing, so jet-lagged that I couldn’t tell you my ass from my bloody elbow, and then five years later, this is where I’m at? There were moments where I was sitting there going, “How the hell did I pull this one off? How? How did I fool them all into giving me a job for so long?” [Laughs]

    What was it like having everybody come back?

    Oh God, having Mehcad back was just the best, and then Jeremy. Everybody coming in, it felt like they hadn’t been away at all, which was so lovely. Everybody just sort of slotted back in. I always say this about your real friends—and I don’t know whether everybody else agrees with me about this—but I always think true friends are ones I haven’t spoken to in six months, I pick up the phone and it’s like we spoke yesterday. That’s what it felt like. They just came right back in and it felt like home. Again, there are so many clichés that are going to come out of me, Damian, I’m so sorry! But it did, it felt like family.

    And it reads on screen. Plus, we’ve seen you guys at the conventions…this is one of those shows where that “family” really is there.

    And we couldn’t do this without that. It’s not just the cast…we’re all in it together. If we didn’t genuinely like each other as human beings, we would not be able to manage it. A huge, vast part of that is not only our on-set crew, but our production team, our writing stuff, our producers. Everybody is so all-in. It was a very strange and very functional, but also dysfunctional, family. [Laughs]

    Supergirl - David Harewood + Chyler Leigh + Azie Tesfai + Katie McGrath + Jesse Rath + Nicole Maines + Melissa Benoist

    The CW

    Now, for the fans that wanted #Supercorp to happen, I feel like what they give us at the end is even better.

    Oh, I’m so glad you said that.

    It’s like their “For Good” moment from Wicked, where Kara and Lena address how they have helped one another grow. Kara says “You have pushed me more than anyone” and then Lena kills me with, “You’ve made me a better person.”

    The thing that you want with a finale is for everybody to come away happy and everybody to feel like—I know this sounds weird—but everybody could feel like they’re seen, like their show is being portrayed, whatever that show is. And that’s what I think was really important for the writers and the producers and all of us, is that at the end of six years and people who’ve been with us through this whole journey, you want them to feel that when they watch it, that it’s their show that they’re watching, whatever their show is. Whoever and whatever it is, it doesn’t matter, it’s their show and you want that to be what they get from their final episode.

    And it’s a real privilege as a show and as an actor to be able to do a final episode, because so often we don’t get to. So often shows get canceled before that and stories don’t get wrapped up. To be given the space by the studio, by Warner Bros and by DC, to be able to do that, that is something very, very special. And hopefully we got it right.

    I feel like you did. And I’ve been there since Day One. I was on set when they shot in LA when it was on CBS.

    Oh my god. Back in the dark ages. [Laughs]

    Supergirl - Katie McGrath + Nicole Maines

    Katie Yu/The CW

    Exactly. And now I have to… Lena’s wedding look? This is phenomenal.

    Thanks very much! Our costume designer is a very nice understanding woman and she was very patient with me. She had an idea, I had an idea, hair and makeup had ideas…it was a whole thing [Laughs]. And I love the idea that everybody is going to one wedding, but Lena is definitely going to a completely different wedding. I was like, “Huh. I’m making a statement.”

    It’s perfectly Lena. She’s not going to show up in a flowered dress.

    No. But doesn’t she look bizarrely like a Colombian drug cartel leader? [Laughs]

    I thought, “This woman is ready for a Fashion Week after-party.”

    Thank you! We worked really hard and I was like, “Oh, let’s just go balls to the wall and just go all the way out.” Literally. So it was a lot of double-sided tape, babe. A lot of tape. [Laughs]

    So how do you say goodbye to this character?

    Oh, I don’t think I’ll ever say goodbye to her. I don’t think I can. I don’t think I’d want to. I said it more times than I can count: Lena is the woman that I wish I was. She’s confident and she’s kind and she’s intelligent. She’s calm in a crisis and she’s all of these things. And then I look at her after five years and I think of how much she’s overcome, all of her fears, all of her self-doubt. And to finally get to a point after five years to accept who she is so completely, why would I want to say goodbye to her? Why would I ever want to let that go? I want to keep her with me forever.

    And with her being a Luthor and the CWverse existing, you may be able to!

    Listen, from your mouth to God’s ears, honey.

    So what is next for you? Are you taking a break, or are you jumping right into something?

    God, no. Breaks? God, no. Those are for intelligent, well-rounded, emotionally stable people. No. I’m working. I’m working. And I’ve been up since 4am baking a cake for my friend.

    Oh my God. See? That’s Lena. Lena would do that.

    I know, right? Because she is like, “Sleep is for quitters, guys. Sleep is for quitters.” Yeah, no, I do have another job. I can’t tell you what it is yet, but I do have one. So when you know what it is, [we can do this again]. Please don’t abandon me now that I’m no longer on Supergirl. You will come and talk to me, and I will make a fool of myself! [Laughs]

    Supergirl, Series Finale, Tuesday, 8/7c, The CW

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