LOS ANGELES, March 29 (UPI) -- Melissa Benoist is saying goodbye to Supergirl after six seasons, but the superhero will live on. The Flash movie already has cast Sasha Calle as Supergirl, and Benoist said she's happy to pass the baton.
"The more Supergirls, the better," Benoist told UPI in a Zoom interview. "The world needs as many Supergirls as it can get."
Benoist stars as Kara Zor-El, Superman's cousin. As Supergirl, Kara possesses the same powers of flight, heat vision and invulnerability as Superman.
For Benoist, Supergirl embodies more than just powers and fighting villains. Over six seasons, Kara has supported her friends and family, too.
"You have truth, justice and the American way in Superman, but you have hope, help and compassion for all in Supergirl," Benoist said. "My favorite part about her is how much she cares about helping people."
One of the important relationships in Kara's life is Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath), the sister of Superman villain Lex Luthor (Jon Cryer), who is trying to turn the Luthor name around.
However, maintaining her secret identity as Supergirl often compromises Kara's friendship with Lena. Benoist said the final season will show Kara become vulnerable with Lena and her other relationships.
"It's going to be a very different Kara and Supergirl for fans to see," Benoist said.
Supergirl will also confront her own mortality in the final season, Benoist said. Supergirl has faced kryptonite, the weakness she shares with Superman, but Benoist said Kara must re-evaluate her priorities as a hero in Season 6.
"That's jarring and traumatic for her," Benoist said.
Benoist said she and producers Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and Jessica Queller mutually agreed it would be appropriate to conclude Supergirl after the sixth season. The 32-year-old actor said she has evolved as a person behind the scenes.
"I've really learned to ask for what I need and to not worry about being the nice girl all the time," Benoist said. "I definitely feel like I've grown up with this character."
In growing up on the show, Benoist's personal life changed over six seasons. She was married to Blake Jenner when the show began in 2015. In 2016, Benoist filed for divorce. She remarried Chris Wood, who played fellow Kryptonian Mon-El in Seasons 2, 3 and 5 of Supergirl, in 2019. They have a son together, Huxley, born in September.
"I feel like a wholly different person than I was when I started the show," Benoist said. "Supergirl really challenged me to become a better person as Melissa."
Over the six seasons, Benoist and the cast of Supergirl have made appearances at Comic-Con and other conventions. Meeting fans of the show, Benoist has seen firsthand how Supergirl has made a difference.
Benoist said she applauded Berlanti's inclusion of LGBTQ storylines in Supergirl. The show received attention for a 2017 storyline in which Kara's sister, Alex (Chyler Leigh), comes out.
Gay fans tweeted stories about how seeing Alex come out saved their lives. Supergirl added transgender actor Nicole Maines as the trans character Nia Nal in 2018.
Benoist said she told Maines that the scene in which Nia comes out as trans would save lives. However, Benoist said meeting fans drove the impact home even further.
"When you see people in person, that's where it really lands," Benoist said.
Benoist said she is satisfied that Supergirl gave each of its characters a complete story in six seasons. As she contemplates her next project, Benoist said she is eager to focus on being a mother to her newborn for a while.
"My son is just growing so fast day by day," Benoist said. "So I don't want this time to go by too quickly."
One day, Benoist said, she expects her son to doubt that his mother was a superhero. She said she would be willing to put on the Supergirl costume one more time to convince him.
"If he asks, I would do it," Benoist said. "Something tells me he probably won't. [He] might be embarrassed."
Supergirl returns Tuesday at 9 p.m. EDT on The CW.