The CW has released a first look at Azie Tesfai as the new Guardian. Tesfai plays Kelly Olsen, sister to James Olsen, on the series, and has essentially stepped into her brother’s vacant spot on the show’s roster of regulars since the departure of Mortal Kombat star Mehcad Brooks. During his time on the series, Brooks not only played James Olsen, photographer-turned-editor, but had a “night job” as Guardian, the shield-bearing protector of National City. Shortly after Brooks departed the series, Tesfai had a small moment in the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover in which she revealed that she had his shield.
After Kelly used James’s shield to protect some civilians from falling debris during the Crisis, fans immediately started wondering whether that meant she would take on the Guardian role. Earlier this year, The CW confirmed that she would step into the costume as part of the final season of Supergirl.
Those clues and teases will come to fruition in episode 612, titled “Blind Spots.” The episode was co-written by Tesfai and co-producer J. Holtham, and addresses racial inequality, according to a statement from The CW which accompanied this first look. David Ramsey directed the episode and will also appear as John Diggle. This episode will air September 21, 2021.
Something that pops off the screen immediately is that the blue-and-gold color scheme of the costume much more closely mirrors the one used by the various characters in the comics who have gone by the name of Guardian over the years. While Brooks‘s performance as Guardian was generally well-liked by fans, a vocal minority of them complained about the actual costume and shield, and how little they looked like the actual suit and weapon from the source material.
Besides James Olsen as Guardian, early in the series, character actor Eddie McClintock appeared in the role of James Harper, the character known as Guardian in the comics. Harper was the character in the Guardian suit when the character appeared regularly in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen. Over the years, both Malcolm Duncan and Jake Jordan, both men of color, among others have assumed the role of the Guardian. Arguably the most visible iteration of the Guardian was the one in Young Justice, heavily influenced by the Jake Jordan version of the character.
Supergirl will air one more episode — next Tuesday’s “Fear Knot” — before going back into hiatus and being replcaed by Superman & Lois on the schedule. The two series will trade off spots periodically until Supergirl wraps its series in the fall.