Melissa Benoist(l), Katie McGrath(r)

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SuperCorp fans create new ship with Melissa Benoist, Katie McGrath characters

Fans on X and TikTok created videos of the two characters, and an entire storyline—in which Saskia is Sadie’s lawyer, or they’re both lawyers—was born.


Kira Deshler

Pop Culture

Posted on Apr 4, 2024   Updated on Apr 5, 2024, 7:50 am CDT

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When you’re really passionate about a pair of characters, whether their relationship is canon or not is almost beside the point. Fans care what happens within the world of a series or movie, sure, but the fandom that builds around certain characters can take on a life of its own.

Enter SuperCorp, a popular non-canon ship from the CW series Supergirl. The couple comprises Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist), a.k.a Supergirl, and Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath), the sister of Superman’s arch nemesis, Lex Luthor. Close friends in the series, the two never begin a romantic relationship, much to fans’ disappointment.

The SuperCorp fandom has remained quite active since the series concluded in 2021, and it holds the number-one spot for most F/F fanfictions on Archive of Our Own. Fans regularly create fanvids of the couple portraying their relationship as canon, using clips from Supergirl and other series to build romantic storylines.

This practice led to the most recent trend within the fandom, a new ship that, on the surface, has little to do with Supergirl. Melissa Benoist currently stars in a series called The Girls on the Bus, where she plays a political reporter. Before the show came out, fans began pairing images of Benoist’s character, Sadie, with another character played by Katie McGrath—Saskia, from the Australian series Secret Bridesmaids’ Business.

Now that The Girls on the Bus is out, this cross-universe ship has gained even more steam. Fans on X and TikTok created videos of the two characters, and an entire storyline—in which Saskia is Sadie’s lawyer, or they’re both lawyers—was born. The ship spread all over social media, and, though these characters exist in different universes and have never met, there are a few fanfictions about them on Wattpad.

How and why did this happen? I spoke to a couple of SuperCorp fans who helped me get to the bottom of this hot topic. Alice (@mcgrathxluthor) told me that she sees a lot of similarities between Kara/Lena and Sadie/Saskia, which makes the ship an easy sell. (Kara and Sadie are both reporters, and Lena and Saskia are both high-powered businesswomen.) Jazz (@DerpSwan) pointed out that this is not the first time fans have created a “crack” (AKA ridiculous or impossible) ship based on Benoist and McGrath’s other characters.

When I asked about how SuperCorp’s non-canon status affects the fandom, Jazz told me “I think non canon ships definitely have a more engaged/creative fandom as we’re making up for the things we don’t get on the show.” Alice suggested that the fandom has remained so enthusiastic because fans were heartbroken that SuperCorp was never made canon, and many hoped Benoist and McGrath would get a chance to put their chemistry to use in the future. “I think we just want what the CW denied us for so many years,” Alice explained.

Queer and lesbian fandom is often migratory, with fans following actors or creators from one show to the next, or looking for the next-best gay thing on their screens. But sometimes you have to create that thing yourself, as is the case with SuperCorp and its offshoot, Sadie and Saskia. If you want to get technical with it, it’s kind of like Claude Levi Strauss’ theory of bricolage, ie. the process of making a whole out of disparate parts. This type of creativity is what makes fandom so enduring, creating a community that, at its best, can generate a sense of belonging.  

Why it matters

In the case of both Supergirl and The Girls on the Busfans have done the work to make these series more engaging, though their efforts are rarely acknowledged by producers. SuperCorp’s continued popularity—even in this remixed form—indicates just how much these characters touched people and what a missed opportunity the relationship really was.

Yet there’s also a sense of optimism here, despite this disappointing outcome. SuperCorp may not be canon, but Benoist and McGrath will continue acting, and fans will continue to create a meal out of scraps, keeping the dream alive with every fic and fanvid

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*First Published: Apr 4, 2024, 6:00 am CDT