‘Supergirl’ NYCC Interview: Mehcad Brooks Talks About His Portrayal of James Olsen

With Supergirl set to introduce the world to a new kind of hero, a familiar name will be making his way to the show to serve as the right-hand man to another superhero sporting the Zor-El crest on her chest.

We spoke to Mehcad Brooks at a roundtable interview at New York Comic Con, where he talked his portrayal of James Olsen, and how the show is “bringing him to the 21st century.” But do not fear, Jimmy Olsen fans.

“The DNA’s the same,” Brooks said. “He’s still has truth and justice in his heart, he’s still Superman’s best friend, he’s still a great guy, but he’s just a little stronger. I would say he’s suave, he’s more romantic, he’s got a whole lot of other things going for him that we didn’t see.”


For those wondering about Supergirl‘s James Olsen’s relationship with Superman, Brooks said that while the show doesn’t “get too involved” with the structure of it, that foundation is still there.

In fact, Superman is the reason why Olsen makes his way to National City. He asked Olsen to keep an eye on his cousin, Kara, just as she’s beginning to accept her super-self and the powers that come with it. But once you see Kara and James interact, you can’t help but wonder if romance is in the future for these two.

“There is definitely an attraction between the two of them,” Brooks said. “But there’s kind of a bro-code between him and Superman. When Superman goes and asks you to go check on his cousin, you can’t start hitting on Superman’s cousin because then you start getting hit on by Superman, and that’s not a good thing.”

It’s clear from the pilot that Olsen will play a role in helping Kara on her heroic journey, seeing as Superman himself sent him to watch over her. Brooks believes that while times may have changed, the James Olsen that fans will see is one that is true to the spirit of the Jimmy Olsen character from the past sprinkled with some new surprises that add even more depth to the character.

“We’re trying to bring Jimmy to the 21st century and utilize him in a way he has not been used before,” Brooks said. “He’s a great character that people connect with; he’s a great character people fall in love with and have a strong, emotional connection with. And he’s not a hero. He doesn’t do anything particularly heroic. He’s a sidekick.”

Watch our full interview with Brooks below, where he talks about the pressure about taking on the role, how he’s a big nerd at heart, and the honor of being the first African American Jimmy Olsen.

Supergirl premieres Monday at 8:30/7:30c on CBS before moving to its original timeslot on Monday, Nov. 2 at 8/7c.

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment | Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes | Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters | Co-executive Editor for Fangirlish | Contributor for Bears Wire at USA Today SMG | Producer/Co-Host of Buffone 55 for Bears Barroom Radio Network | Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.