|First appearance||Supergirl: |
October 26, 2015
|Full name||Alexandra Danvers|
|Occupation||Bio-engineer, Physician, field agent, director|
|Significant others||Maggie Sawyer (ex-fiancée)|
Alexandra Danvers Ph.D. M.D. is a fictional character from the DC Comics television series Supergirl, portrayed by actress Chyler Leigh. Created by executive producers Greg Berlanti, Ali Adler, and Andrew Kreisberg, the character was introduced in the pilot episode as the elder adoptive sister of protagonist Kara Danvers / Supergirl. Alex is a bioengineer, physician, scientist and a field agent of the DEO, a secret government agency that works to protect the Earth from extraterrestrial threats. She later becomes the director of the organization at the end of season three, after having been J'onns second-in-command for years. Alex is also featured in the show's digital tie-in comic book series, Adventures of Supergirl, as well as the 2017 four-part Arrowverse crossover event "Crisis on Earth-X", with Leigh reprising her role across Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow.
Both the character and Leigh's performance have been well received by critics and fans alike. The relationship between the Danvers sisters and Alex's coming out storyline have garnered particular praise.
Alex Danvers is the only biological child of scientists Eliza and Jeremiah Danvers. When Alex was a teenager, her parents adopted an orphaned Kara Zor-El and they grew up together in the town of Midvale. Although Alex was an exceptional student, particularly in science, she couldn't help but envy her Kryptonian sister's alien abilities. Alex was relieved when Kara decided not to use her powers, but still felt embarrassed by her alien behavior. Nonetheless, as the older sister figure, Alex felt protective of Kara and sympathy for her losses and displacement.
At some point, Kara took a reluctant Alex flying through the night and they were spotted by the Department of Extranormal Operations (DEO), a secret government agency tasked with monitoring alien presence on Earth. Unbeknownst to the young girls, Jeremiah agreed to work for the organization under Hank Henshaw instead of letting them take Kara away. Suffering the loss of her father, among other factors, caused Alex to excessively drink and party as a young adult. Nonetheless, she managed to earn her dual doctoral degree (Ph.D.) and (M.D. before being recruited into the DEO herself by Henshaw (later revealed to be J'onn J'onzz, who promised Jeremiah that he'd look after his daughters). In season three, it is revealed that at some point in the past she was a practicing doctor, and worked at a hospital in Seattle.
At the start of the series, Kara is initially unaware of her sister's true occupation. Alex reveals herself to Kara as well as the existence of the DEO after Kara saves Alex from a near plane crash and decides to become a superhero like her cousin Clark Kent / Superman. She is also Hank Henshaw's trusted right-hand operative. Alex is tasked with training Kara in combat and provides her with a Fortress of Solitude-esque room with a projection of Kara's mother, Alura. Alex, J'onn, and the rest of the DEO work alongside Kara, dubbed "Supergirl" by the press, to put away dangerous alien criminals who have escaped from the Fort Rozz prison spaceship, including Alura's identical twin and Kara's aunt, Astra. Donning a Kryptonite-laced suit, Alex fatally stabs Astra with a Kryptonite sword.
While continuing her work at the DEO, Alex crosses paths with National City Science Police officer, Detective Maggie Sawyer. The two initially come into conflict over work, but quickly form a flirtatious friendship, leading Alex to question her sexuality. Alex comes out as gay and enters into a relationship with Maggie. They become engaged in the season finale. Alex also learns of her father Jeremiah's mysterious survival and ambiguous partnership with the anti-alien organization Project Cadmus.
As Alex and Maggie prepare to get married, Alex discovers that Maggie does not ever want kids. Alex, realizing that she does want kids someday, breaks up with Maggie and they reluctantly go their separate ways. In the aftermath of the breakup, Kara invites Alex to her friend Barry Allen's wedding on Earth-1, but both are soon forced to fight off an invasion of Nazis from a parallel Earth together. After the defeat of Reign, J'onn steps down and promotes Alex to Director of the DEO.
Following her promotion to director of the DEO, Alex struggles with her new role, and her organization deals with a new wave of anti-extraterrestrial bigotry within the country. United States Marine Corps colonel Lauren Haley is brought in by the president to supervise Alex, and is determined to discover Supergirl's civilian identity. To protect Kara from Haley, Alex has J'onn wipe her memory of her knowing that her sister is Supergirl. Alex continues to maintain a cordial relationship with Kara, but becomes hostile towards Supergirl, not knowing they are the same person. Alex eventually remembers that Kara is Supergirl, and manages to revive her when she is nearly killed by Red Daughter. Following the defeat of Lex Luthor, who had been orchestrating all the anti-extraterrestrial bigotry, Alex develops a romantic relationship with Kelly Olsen.
In season 4, John Deegan, a mad psychiatrist who works at Earth-1's Arkham Asylum, uses the Book of Destiny to rewrite reality on his Earth; in this new reality, Alex's Earth-1 counterpart is working for him. This Alex is intrigued to learn of her Earth-38 counterpart's life after Kara reveals herself as the adoptive sister of her Earth's Alex. She helps Kara escape from Deegan and this reality is undone by the combined efforts of Kara, Oliver Queen, Barry Allen, and Clark Kent.
Concept and creation
In February 2015, actress Chyler Leigh was cast as Alexandra "Alex" Danvers, initially described as Kara's "confident foster sister whose fascination with her sibling's powers inspired her to become a doctor." The character is an original creation for Supergirl, not based on any existing character appearing in DC Comics. Jordan Mazarati portrayed the 2003 version of the character, and Olivia Nikkanen portrayed the 2007 version.
Skills and abilities
Alex Danvers has no inherent superhuman powers; rather, she is highly intelligent, trained in various forms of martial arts, and has been shown to capably wield any weapon. She is also a excellent physician and bio-engineer, and has furthermore extensive expertise in marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat, and extraterrestrial physiology, besides being a far-reaching skilled scientist and military tactician. During season 3, Alex is given a new protective suit by Winn Schott. This one is more armor-like than her usual DEO suit and offers more protection for the body than the other one before. In addition to that, she has magnetic gloves now which allow her to retrieve any dropped weapon, and her Maaldorian laser pistol that she has taken away from a deceased alien during a rescue mission on Maaldoria was also upgraded and can shoot Kryptonite bullets now.
Both the character and Leigh's performance have been well received by critics and fans alike. The relationship between the Danvers sisters and Alex's coming out storyline in the second season have garnered particular praise.
Kara and Alex were named as one of "The 10 Greatest Ride or Die TV Siblings" by TV Guide's Keisha Hatchett, who stated: "These two might not come from the same species, but their unconditional love for each other proves that you don't need to share the same blood in order to be sisters. Both have helped each other through a difficult journey to self-acceptance [...] in a fierce display of sisterhood that keeps us coming back each week."
Estelle Tang of Elle described Alex's coming-out journey as "nuanced, remarkably moving, and believable reckoning of an adult woman coming to terms with something she had never consciously known about herself." Supergirl received a nomination for Outstanding Drama Series at the 2017 GLAAD Awards, which recognizes LGBT representation in the media.
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