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Why The Role Of Alura Was Recast On Supergirl

When "Supergirl" ended in 2021, the DC Comics TV series focusing on the adventures of the titular alien hero (played by Melissa Benoist) was in a vastly different place from where it began. Originally airing on CBS for its first season, the series had moved to The CW for the remainder of its run. Additionally, it was now set in the same universe as other "Arrowverse" shows like "The Flash," even though it had initially been kept separate. Of course, perhaps the most striking change about the conclusion of "Supergirl" compared to its debut was just how radically different the main cast was. Though quite a few familiar faces from the show's history made an appearance in the finale, many of these characters were former cast members who had long since taken their leave. Only a select few characters, such as Supergirl herself and her sister, Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh), stuck with the show for the entirety of its duration (via IMDb).

However, there was one particular recurring "Supergirl" character who underwent a departure midway through the show — only, that departure was completely behind-the-scenes. The part of Alura Zor-El, Supergirl's biological mother, was completely recast to a new actor after the show's first two seasons. Of the fans who noticed this change, a fair few may still be wondering about the circumstances that led to this recasting.

The original actress had scheduling conflicts

For the first two seasons of "Supergirl," actress Laura Benanti played Alura. Most of the character's appearances came in the form of a pre-recorded hologram, as the main cast had long thought her dead after the destruction of Supergirl's homeworld. Unfortunately, Benanti was not able to remain in the role past the second season due to her other work commitments and family life.

"I loved working on this show and will miss it so much!" Benanti tweeted when the news broke. "Right now it's time for me to be supermom to my own little one in NYC."

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the recast was the person the creative team chose to fill the role after Benanti left. For the rest of the show, Alura was instead played by Erica Durance, who already had a legacy in the DC Comics fandom as the actress behind Lois Lane in the long-running Superman prequel series "Smallville." Things took a turn for Alura with Durance's debut as well, as the character was revealed to be alive on a protected portion of her destroyed planet.

Durance crafted a remarkable portrayal of Alura in the later life of "Supergirl," but it's also true that some viewers were big fans of Benanti's rendition and lamented her leaving the show. "Upset but understanding about Laura's reasons," a commenter called Ash wrote in reaction to the news, while mountaineeraztec similarly expressed being "disappointed" but agreed that Benanti continuing in the role while juggling work in New York "would be quite difficult" (via TVLine). Thankfully, this was one TV recast that seemed like an amicable split, and both actresses can be credited with bringing one of the most important "Supergirl" characters to life.