'Smallville's' Laura Vandervoort: Melissa Benoist Is the "Supergirl I Wanted to See All Along"

After playing Kara Zor-El on The CW's superhero drama, Vandervoort is guest-starring on CBS' 'Supergirl' as villain Indigo.
 Michael Yarish/CBS

Laura Vandervoort has officially passed the Supergirl mantle to Melissa Benoist.

After donning Supergirl's cape on The WB/CW's Smallville for six seasons, Vandervoort is set to guest-star on the CBS drama Monday, where she'll take on DC Comics villain Indigo.

"It's definitely a switch of roles, but that's what I liked most about Indigo," Vandervoort tells THR. "She's almost a polar opposite of Supergirl and that's what was so fun about playing her."

For the actress, seeing Melissa Benoist take on her former role as the DC Comics character was exciting — largely because CBS' Greg Berlanti/Ali Adler drama goes much deeper into comic book mythology than Smallville did.

"This is a completely different version of Supergirl than we had on Smallville," Vandervoort says. "On Smallville, Kara was an adolescent, immature version of Supergirl. She thought she knew it all and thought she could take care of things on her own, not to mention she didn't wear the tights and the cape. It was pre-Supergirl, whereas on this show, Melissa is playing the character from the comics. She's trying to figure out her powers and her place in this world. It's almost more like a Clark Kent character, where she's working a day job and wears the glasses and that whole thing."

While Benoist is able to go full Supergirl, that's not something Vandervoort has any regret about missing out on during her tenure on Smallville.

"Getting to see any actress wearing the tights and the cape was pretty cool for me because I didn't get the opportunity to do that on Smallville. We're finally getting a series about Supergirl where you see her in her full glory, in her costume, and I'm so proud of this show and what they've done with the character."

When Vandervoort showed up on set to film her episode, that was actually the first time she met Benoist despite publicly voicing her support back when the Glee alum first landed the major role.

"I was just excited that this show finally got its day because there was talk eight years ago about doing a Supergirl series and it just didn't happen," Vandervoort says. "This is exactly how I imagined a Supergirl series back then. Meeting Melissa on my first day was great. We hit it off and started comparing notes about how I had done it vs. what she's doing. My version was much more of a child and was kind of bratty. But now I love what they've done, she's much more a mature person who is learning as she goes and she doesn't have it all together yet while she's saving the day and discovering her own strength. This is the Supergirl I wanted to see all along."

Vandervoort and Benoist will go head-to-head when Indigo wreaks havoc on National City in Monday's episode, "Solitude."

"Indigo can transport via the internet and technology, which makes her equally dangerous in the digital form as she is in the physical form," Vandervoort says. "That causes trouble for Kara because she can't always get a grasp on Indigo since she's able to disappear through any technology and pop up just as quickly. And she has a unique connection to Kara's past which will be revealed in this episode."

As for what to expect from Monday's hour, Vandervoort says Kara isn't the only one with a surprising connection to Indigo.

"She is also connected with Non [Chris Vance] and his larger plan," Vandervoort says. "There's a lot happening and a lot to be revealed. You don't quite know what her purpose is and why she's showing up right now, but she first appears when she hacks into an Ashley Madison sort of website and leaks client info to Cat [Calista Flockhart]. She just creates widespread panic in the city."

Back when Smallville was on the air, it was the only show of its kind. But five years later, the TV landscape is overflowing with comic book shows — including three more DC series produced by Berlanti. Asked if Smallville would still be the same show if it was on today, Vandervoort doesn't think much would have changed.

"Smallville had its own mood and vibe and that worked for the show because it was about the characters before they were truly who they were destined to be," Vandervoort says. "Clark's [Tom Welling] world was on the Kent farm and his job at the newspaper. And of course the show changed over the course of 10 years but I don’t think it would change if it were on the air today to fit into the time. I think it still would fit as is. There are so many superhero shows on television that are glossy and high-action and I think Smallville would have fit right in with those but it would have had its own niche."

Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS.

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