Tomorrow night the final episode of Stargirl will air on The CW. Instead of grieving over what could have been, I want to celebrate the three seasons we were given. In addition, I wanted to try something a bit different and talk about my relationship with the show, giving this article a more personal touch. Since its premiere in 2020, Stargirl has been a really special show for me, and I want to use this space to share the journey we’ve had together.
From the moment I saw the first episode, I could tell something was different about Stargirl. It had a sense of heart that was different than the other DCTV shows. Don’t get me wrong, shows like The Flash and Doom Patrol have had their fair share of well written emotional moments, but the DNA of Stargirl was something different. There was an almost indescribable sense of earnestness in the characters.
Courtney Whitmore wasn’t a jaded teenager with a tragic backstory. She was a good person who saw the good in others. She wasn’t driven to be a hero by personal trauma, she simply wanted to do the right thing.
I think one of the things that spoke to me the most was the show’s emphasis on family. It wasn’t just a series about heroes fighting villains, it was about a family coming together. The subplot scenes where Mike Dugan grows closer to Barbara Whitmore have nothing to do with the Justice Society vs Injustice Society plot, but they’re essential. Those scenes depicted a blended family forming a bond, and they tugged at my heart strings.
The theme of family extended to the audience. During the promotional rollout for the series, showrunner Geoff Johns encouraged fans to watch the show as a group with their family and friends. I took his advice, and hosted watch parties for every episode in the first season. It helped that Stargirl was a different type of DCTV show. Some friends who weren’t fans of superhero television shows became addicted. Some of my friends and family participated digitally due to COVID-19 lockdowns.
These watch parties were a blessing. They brought my friends and family together during a very stressful time. The early days of the COVID-19 pandemic were filled with so much fear and uncertainty. I’m thankful that Stargirl gave us some joy during that period, and something to bond over.
My watch party for the season one finale involved a game. My friends and I decorated a posterboard with red, blue and gold stars (representing Courtney and Cosmo) and wrote out our season finale predictions. Each correct guess got a point, represented by a star sticker. As you can see in the image above, my friend Alex beat me by a point. However, in light of recent revelations in season three, I might be able to challenge one of his points.
Here’s a tip for any Stargirl fans—you can visit Blue Valley whenever you want. Although the fictional small town is said to be in Nebraska, most of Blue Valley’s exterior scenes are actually filmed in Dallas, Georgia. Whenever I drive through Georgia, I like to stop in downtown Dallas. It’s like stepping into the show.
I’ve visited many filming locations and usually they wind up looking more bland than they do on film, but Dallas is different. The Georgia city looks like Blue Valley, even when it isn’t decorated for filming. Visitors can walk right up to the Pit Stop door and take their picture outside of the iconic garage. These past Dallas visits made me feel like I had a deeper connection to the show. Whenever I saw a scene filmed downtown, I’d immediately recognize certain landmarks and stores I had visited. If a character was at the American Dream building and mentioned needing to find Pat at the Pit Stop, I knew that the actual distance was only a two-minute walk.
Last year, I spent my birthday in Georgia and I wanted to have lunch in Blue Valley. I drove up to Dallas and walked through Main Street as I had many times before. I ate my lunch in the Wild Boar Sandwich shop, which I’ve seen the Justice Society walk past numerous times. Next time you’re watching a downtown Blue Valley scene, see if you can spot it. It’s a few doors down from Ritchie’s and the movie theater.
This is going to sound dorky, but this is the DC website where we celebrate all things nerdy. The coolest part about my birthday was being able to sit inside Ritchie Rock’s Diner. Unlike the other businesses on Main Street, Ritchie Rock’s is a fake restaurant. Warner Bros. rents out the storefront and decorates it for the show. The storefront is closed to the public, with only cast and crew members allowed inside. I am neither, but this time around I got lucky!
During my birthday visit to Blue Valley, I saw a few crew members inside doing some paperwork. I shyly asked them if it was alright to go inside and take some pictures. To my surprise, they encouraged it. They took some pictures of me sitting down in the same booth the cast has sat in for many pivotal conversations. This filled my heart with joy for the rest of the day. That’s right, the best part of my birthday was sitting down inside a fake restaurant. If you’re a Stargirl fan, then you probably understand.
My role as a writer for DC.com has given me the opportunity to interact with many of the show’s actors and it’s always been a delight. I don’t have the space to recount every interview or interaction, but I want to share a special one. During Dragon Con 2022, I was selected to be one of the panelists for the Stargirl fan panel. I was also offered an interview with Trae Romano (Mike Dugan) and Anjelika Washington (Beth Chapel). For reasons beyond my control, I learned that the panel was scheduled at the same time as my interview with them. At first this seemed like an unfortunate obstacle, but in the spirit of the Justice Society, I found the perfect solution.
I participated in the Stargirl panel for the first half, then told the audience I was excusing myself to interview Trae and Anjelika. I told the audience to give them some love and cheers so I could record it to show to them. I hurried to the interview room to chat with Trae and Anjelika, who were both delightful. Once the interview wrapped, I gave them an unusual proposal.
“The Stargirl fan panel is still going on for another five minutes. Do you want to crash it?” I asked. Anjelika and Trae were both thrilled with the idea. I walked them to the location where the panel was being held, where the two actors surprised a room filled with their fans. This was an awesome moment to witness. Trae and Anjelika’s faces lit up when they saw all the fans celebrating their show. The fans also loved the intimate encounter with the stars of their favorite show.
The series might be ending, but that special relationship between Stargirl and its audience will continue. I’ll be rewatching the series from time to time, and I know I won’t be alone. The talented cast will go on to star in amazing projects, and I can’t wait to see how far their careers will go. And of course, Courtney Whitmore will continue her adventures in the comic book medium. Don’t forget, Stargirl and the Lost Children is written by Stargirl showrunner and co-creator Geoff Johns.
In the DC Universe, nothing really ends. In 1991, The Flash television series was cancelled after one season, seemingly ending John Wesley Shipp’s time as the Scarlet Speedster. Since then, however, we’ve seen Shipp reprise his role as Barry Allen in the Arrowverse, and even take a turn as Jay Garrick. In fact, Shipp showed up as Garrick in Stargirl last season. And Shipp isn’t alone. Matt Ryan found a place on Legends of Tomorrow after Constantine was cancelled. Michael Keaton will be suiting up as Batman again in next year’s film The Flash—over thirty years since he last wore the suit in Batman Returns.
The point is, in the DC Universe, we don’t believe in retirement. We don’t know where or when, but we’ll see Stargirl and the Justice Society again. Until then, we have three perfect seasons to revisit anytime we want. Stargirl exceeded all my expectations, and I wouldn’t trade the last three years for anything.
The Stargirl series finale airs Wednesday at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. CST) on The CW. For more news about the finale and the show as a whole, visit our official Stargirl series page.
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DC.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, “Gotham Gazette.” Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.