The great news was confirmed at Comic Con.
Back in May, Supergirl put out a casting call for the role of Nia Nal. Nia was billed as “a confident, wunderkind of a fashionista” and a “young Cat Grant type”. It was also revealed that the character would be transgender.
And at Comic Con it was revealed that transgender actress Nicole Maines had won the part. Maines’s previous acting credits include appearing as herself in the documentary The Trans List, and a guest appearance as a transgender teen on Royal Pains.
Maines was also the plaintiff in the Doe v. Clenchy case which was brought to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in 2013. The ruling from that case allowed transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice in the state.
Speaking to Variety after getting the role, Maines said: “It feels fitting to say with great power, comes great responsibility.” She then added: “I’m nervous because I want to do it right.”
Speaking about trans representation in the media, Maines said: “We can be whoever we want, we can do whatever we want, we can be superheroes, because in many ways we are.
“We’ve had trans representation in television for a while but it hasn’t been the right representation.” She pointed to the early depictions of trans people in the media, and how they were usually sex workers or drug addicts, and were always played by cisgender actors.
“They’re men in dresses and that was damaging for a long time,” she said.
Maines also addressed the recent controversy caused when Scarlett Johansson won the role of a trans man for the film Rub and Tug. Although Johansson stepped down from the role, she was accused of initially issuing a tone-deaf response to the controversy caused.
“I think that cis-gender actors don’t take roles out of malice, it’s just a failure to realize the context of having cis-gender people play transgender characters,” Maines said.
“We don’t see the same issue with sexuality, we see straight people play gay all the time.
“With trans folks we have a lot of people accusing us of just playing dress up for whatever reasons and that’s just not true. Having trans people play trans roles show that we are valid in our identities and we exist.”
Supergirl Season 4 will start airing on the CW on October 14.