Dear TV gods: Please release Supergirl's Winn from the role of neutered BFF
There’s about to be a super-coming out on The CW. At the Television Critic’s Association press tour, Greg Berlanti, the man behind Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl, teased that a regular character on one of his shows would be coming out this season.
Berlanti refused to give hints as to which character might be coming out, but he did promise reporters, “It is a significant character.” According to TVLine, Berlanti later revealed that the character coming out is a character we already know and is not on Arrow or LoT, leaving The Flash and Supergirl. The Flash has a lot of characters to choose from — Wally West, Cisco Ramon, and the new version of Harrison Wells come to mind — but good money’s on Supergirl’s Winn.
If Winn, as played by Jeremy Jordan, is the character coming out this season, it could be a great opportunity for Supergirl to expand his character beyond the trope of the neutered best friend. During the show’s first season, Winn was pretty much shown as sexless. Other than his undying love for Kara, he didn’t really seem to have a personal life. His brief fling with Siobhan Smythe (aka Silver Banshee) was cute, but lacked any real spark, and was over before it began. Furthermore, beyond his crush on Kara and talent with a computer, Winn didn’t really have any dimension in Season 1. Exploring his sexuality would not only serve to create a more diverse and inclusive world in Supergirl, it would also help flesh out his character in a way they need for Winn to avoid being forever defined as the best friend.
Before fans jump up in arms and say that Winn can’t be gay because he was already shown as being attracted to women, know that Berlanti admitted that the character who would be coming out this season had, so far, likely been playing it straight (for lack of a better term).
“We had a character who we had discussed as a possibility last year internally, and it didn’t materialize,” Berlanti told reporters post-panel, adding, “And obviously, because the character hadn’t been gay, we hadn’t necessarily discussed it with the actor, too.”
So, not only did the writers of the show in question not have the time to get into exploring the sexuality of said character last season, the actor was also unaware, leaving the door open for Winn to be the character in question.
Berlanti also noted that the actor whose character would be coming out next season was completely supportive of his or her new story arc, which all leads back to Winn. During the Supergirl panel at PaleyFest in March, Berlanti said that Jordan had been openly campaigning for his character to be gay. “Jeremy is always campaigning for this,” he told the crowd. “Winn should be gay, it would be fun!” Jordan added.
Of course, having Winn come out in Season 2 of Supergirl is not without its own set of problems. Depending on how it’s treated by writers, it could be a disaster, seen only as a plot point meant to lessen the blow of Kara moving forward with her romance with James Olsen. Or it could feel like a cheap ploy to get diversity points with viewers. How Winn’s coming out would affect the show will depend entirely on the writing. If, as Berlanti hinted, they are able to give Winn’s coming out the narrative impact it deserves, it could be a smart and great move for the show.
If Supergirl does decide to make Winn a gay character on the show, I hope that Winn’s coming out acknowledges his attraction to women without diminishing his past relationships. His relationship with Siobhan, for example, was a huge turning point for his character in Season 1. It gave him confidence, and helped him see a world of romantic possibility beyond Kara. Taking that into consideration, it would be great to see Supergirl embrace the fluidity of sexuality.
Regardless of whether or not Winn is the character that will be coming out on The CW’s group of superhero shows come fall, his character still deserves some much-needed depth. I don’t need Supergirl's Winn to be gay or straight. I need him to be more than the best friend.