ClexaCon 2018: Behind The Badge: Alex Danvers Panel

Credit: ClexaCon

I didn’t think it was possible to admire Chyler Leigh more than I already do, but her panel at ClexaCon proved me wrong. Leigh, who plays Alex Danvers on Supergirl, made her first appearance at the con this year. Her panel, moderated by Dana Piccoli, was a candid discussion of the storylines in season two and three of Supergirl and her love of the character and the fans. ClexaCon is a place for healing, or it can be; and I think that was evident during the panel. Leigh needed to say some things and fans needed to hear them.

There’s only one person who loves Alex Danvers and Sanvers more than the fans, and that’s Leigh. She wears her heart on her sleeve and got emotional multiple times during, and even before the panel. She understands the responsibility she has telling queer stories and takes it incredibly seriously.

When Leigh talked about her role as Alex, she said it was the most significant she has felt doing anything and called it “the most challenging role” she’s ever taken and the one she’s most proud of.

The panel covered Alex’s important relationships, and beginning in the first season, her most important relationship was with her sister Kara (Melissa Benoist). The Danvers sisters have been the heart of the show since day one. According to Leigh, one of the first scenes she filmed for the series was the one where Alex is outside of Kara’s door, the “I was the star” monologue. Leigh talked about loving the authenticity of the relationship and how she hears from fans all the time about how real Alex and Kara’s relationship feels and how it’s a legit representation of an adoptive family.

The only relationship Alex has had to rival the importance of her relationship with Kara is the one with Maggie Sawyer (Floriana Lima) that started in season two. When Leigh first found out about Alex’s coming out arc in season two, it threw her initially, but she was determined to do it right. She spent an hour and a half on the phone with showrunner Greg Berlanti, talking about the arc. Her determination to get it right and do right by the fans helped make it one of the best coming out stories on television.

One of the most emotional scenes during Alex’s coming out journey is the one where Alex comes out to Maggie in the bar. Leigh said it was one of the most uncomfortable scenes she has ever done, in the best way, because she struggled to get the words out and wasn’t sure she was doing it right. It’s one of her all time favorite scenes in the show and she still can’t listen to “Way Down We Go” without getting emotional, like every other Sanvers shipper.

Leigh choked up several times talking about Lima’s last episode and how hard it was, and still is to say goodbye to Maggie and Sanvers. When the episode aired, Leigh didn’t want to be on social media or talk to anyone, she just wanted to go away, she was that upset about it, but she struggled through because she also wanted to be there for the fans. Lima’s last episode was filmed in order, per Leigh’s request, and they filmed it all in one day. Leigh said that the biggest thing she could walk away with is “Alex’s journey isn’t defined by the relationship, it’s defined by her discovering who she is and being okay with that and loving herself.”

A fan asked about scenes that weren’t showed on screen and Leigh gave a very honest answer of “About 3/4 of the scenes that we filmed.” She said there were a lot of specific scenes she wished we could have seen because they worked really hard on them. She also said she wishes they could have had more kisses.

One of the only times Leigh seemed hesitant to answer a question was when a fan asked her about Alex getting closure about Maggie during the crossover, on a different show. She said she wished a lot of things were handled differently but felt they did the best with what they were given. When the fan who asked the question kind of backtracked and clarified that she didn’t mean it in a bad way or anything, Leigh told her very frankly, “I think it sucks.”

Leigh ended the panel by thanking the audience for sharing their stories and reiterating how grateful she is for the journey and how much of an honor it is. She also promised that if and when Alex gets another love interest, she will be a part of the selection process, just like she was with Lima and she will do what she can to make sure it stays and it’s for real.

Leigh received three standing ovations during her panel, one at the beginning, one after singing (to a silent hall), and the last one when the panel was over. As far as I know, she is the only one to receive that many standing ovations during a panel that weekend, and I think that says a lot about how she’s touched fans.

Please do yourself a favor and watch the entire panel when you have time, if you haven’t already.