‘Supergirl’ Makes History by Casting Nicole Maines as TV’s First Transgender Superhero

Maines will play Nia Nal, aka Dreamer.
Nicole Maines
Nicole Maines and Wayne Maines
David Buchan/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Following the controversy over “Rub and Tug” — a biopic about a transgender man that elicited so much backlash by casting Scarlett Johansson in the lead role that the actress chose to depart the project — “Supergirl” has cast Nicole Maines as the first trans superhero on TV. Maines will play Nia Nal, aka Dreamer, who appears to be a new take on the DC Comics character Nura Nal (better known as Dream Girl).

In addition to being featured in “The Trans List,” Maines has also appeared on “Royal Pains”; she’ll be joined in the upcoming fourth season of “Supergirl” by fellow new characters Colonel Haley (April Parker Jones) and Manchester Black (David Ajala). Per a description, Maines’ character is “the newest addition to the CatCo reporting team. A soulful young transgender woman with a fierce drive to protect others, Nia’s journey this season means fulfilling her destiny as the superhero Dreamer (much like Kara came into her own as Supergirl).”

In response to the backlash over Johansson’s casting in “Rub and Tug,” her representatives released a statement that only made things worse: “Tell them that they can be directed to Jeffrey Tambor, Jared Leto, and Felicity Huffman’s reps for comment.” Tambor, Leto, and Huffman have all won acclaim — and received pushback as well — for playing transgender characters.

Melissa Benoist plays the superheroine of the title in “Supergirl,” which premiered on the CW in 2015 and has aired 65 episodes across its first three seasons. The series returns on October 14.

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