If you’ve seen one comic book show action scene, you’ve seen them all, right? Wrong.
The team behind Supergirl‘s action scenes works tirelessly to make every single shot look real, effortless and completely unique, especially with the countless other comic book TV shows on the air these days. But with so many other superheroes fighting villains, both realistic and fantastical, how do you make one show stand out above the rest?
According to Supergirl’s stunt coordinator John Medlen and fight coordinator David Wald, it all stems from the powers your main hero posesses.
“Our [fight sequences] are different because she flies and has this superhuman strength,” Wald tells THR. “I come from a Power Ranger background so it fits right in. We’re flying, hitting monsters and creating bigger action. For the other superheroes [on shows like The Flash], super-speed is great and we integrate that. Arrow — he’s more martial arts. So each show is different, and this one is different because we can show the flying and the superhuman strength.”
Medlen believes that the flying sequences are truly where Supergirl shines. “That’s what we pride ourselves on,” Medlen says. “We get the ability to come up with these creative flying techniques with these wires, all different styles that someone else isn’t doing out there. We have that opportunity to come up with these new ideas.”
While integrating superpowers into fights and stunts adds an extra layer of work (and a whole slew of other challenges), Medlen actually prefers working on shows with that super-powered aspect.
“It’s actually a lot more fun,” Medlen says. “We get to be creative and come up with amazing ideas, depending on what their abilities are. It’s just better than an average fight where you give someone a punch to the face and they stagger a couple feet. It’s much more enjoyable.”
Wald agrees. “When they punch, they go 50 feet, 100 feet,” he says. “They go through buildings. They can pick up cars. There’s a lot more weapons you can use.”
But the biggest challenge comes from marrying the physical stuntwork with the visual effects that are added in post production after filming concludes.
“We’re working on one now that is a combination of visual effects and stunts,” Medlen says. “We have to find where that line is and where we can blend the two together. Blending them together and working together as one team is the challenging part.”
Supergirl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS.