Guess Who’s Coming to Dreamer? Nicole Maines Brings ‘Supergirl’ Home for Nia’s Big Episode

Blood Memory
Diyah Pera/The CW

A good night’s sleep isn’t the only thing Supergirl‘s Nia Nal (Nicole Maines) needs these days. Ever since she began developing her powers of precognition and ability to see the future in her dreams, CatCo’s new hire—the daughter of a Naltorian alien and a human—has been running herself ragged trying to figure out how to handle it all.

On top of that, she’s also become borderline narcoleptic and been drawn into the world of Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and her crime-fighting friends. Oh, and she’s also about to become the first trans superhero on TV.

Thankfully, the sweetly lovable Nia is heading home to see the folks in this week’s episode, so hopefully she gets some rest and some answers. We are so ready to see this pioneering advocate suit up as Dreamer and honestly, Kara is going to need some solid backup if they’re gonna beat Agent Liberty at his own game. Here, Maines previews Nia’s family reunion while looking back at the beauty of landing her dream job.

So congratulations, we love Nia!

Nicole Maines: Oh my gosh thank you so much! I have been very, very excited with how people have been receiving her.

What I love is that it is not just the groundbreaking-ness of it all and what this role stands for, but it’s also that she’s a really great character.

Yeah. Yeah, I mean going into it, I didn’t want her to just be, you know, the “trans character.” And I think that in 10 episodes, they have really shown that Nia is a lot more than just trans. And she is a lot more than just a Kara 2.0. She is her own person and people have been, for the most part, loving her and it has been so, so exciting to watch people’s reactions on Twitter.

What do we find out about her when we go home this weekend? I know it turns out that she has an awesome family.

Her hometown, Partha, is known as a liberal oasis, a place where humans and aliens have lived together in harmony for decades, long before Superman got there. Because, like she said in Episode 8, her mom (Kate Burton) is an alien, but her dad’s a human. So it’s a place where humans and aliens kind of live together. It kind of provides a nice break from the intense xenophobia that we keep seeing in National City.

Hannah James as Nia’s sister Maeve Nal (Diyah Pera/The CW)

And why does she bring Kara home with her?

Mostly because she can’t drive herself, she will fall asleep. [Laughs] Kara comes along as a friend and as a reporter to do a story about this alien oasis that is Partha. But mostly she goes as a friend. There’s this great scene with Nia and Kara at a pond where Nia kind of debriefs Kara on her current situation: Nia has been carrying this guilt around with her surrounding her sister (Hannah James). Her family lives in a liberal oasis and is amazing and accepting about everything, but Nia’s guilt is around her sister who thinks as the biological daughter, that she’s going to get the dreaming powers because they’re passed down from mother to daughter.


Yeah. And so she’s been training her whole life, just kind of assuming she’s going to have the powers. Nia’s been carrying this guilt around with her ’cause she thinks she has stolen something from Maeve, her sister. I mean they are, you know, the best of friends. They get along amazingly. And shooting all those scenes with Hannah was also amazing. She’s this wonderful ray of sunshine, you are going to adore her.

Is it explained why the powers are passed down to you? Is it just that you were destined to be Dreamer?

It’s just that, you know, Nia is a girl. She is just as much a woman as Maeve is. I have seen a lot of people kinda you know debating online, about the chromosomes and the biological aspect of it. It’s a power where you’re dreaming the future… this is a spiritual thing. If you’re dealing with he future, these powers know that Nia is meant to transition into a woman. She’s meant to be a woman, she has always been a woman and she is just as much a candidate for these powers as her sister is. I don’t think Maeve took that into consideration.

How do things end? Do they find peace with it?

That I will leave up to viewers to watch the episode.

The costume is phenomenal. It’s so great. And it also looks really comfortable.

I am glad it looks like that! [Laughs] No, it’s not bad. Well, so it’s two parts. One part is kind of like a jump suit, catsuit which is like the sleeves and you know the pants and everything. That’s very comfortable. It’s the vest that goes on over it that’s like… it’s very tight and it pulls everything back and I’m not used to having good posture. [Laughs] And so it’s like, yanking my shoulders back and and back pain all the time. Other than that, you’re right, it’s very comfortable.

How did you feel when you first suited up and got to walk on set as Dreamer?

Oh. I was like a giddy little kid. It was so exciting. The first time I was on set, I did a screen test in the costume and we shot that in Lena’s office, which of course which I never get to be in. So I was also like, “Oh I’m in Lena’s office. I’m in Lena’s office…in a super suit!” Oh, and I was like feeling my total Catwoman fantasy. I was slinking around all stealthily like. [Laughs] Melissa came on to set when I was testing the suit and she was very excited too.

How have you been handling all of the fan responses and outreach?

It was definitely overwhelming at first. I do a lot better on Twitter I think because that is where I interact with folks a lot. I always liked Twitter for like comedy reasons and now I have a much wider kind of audience for that, so I can just joke around and interact with folks. On Instagram, it’s a little harder. You know you have all those hidden direct messages and there will be times I remember to look at them and it’s like 99-plus messages and I’m like, “Ohhhh boy!” But yeah, it’s been so incredible.

Now is the time, though, you know?

With all the stuff that’s going on in the world, I got to that point of “How do I make a dent? How do I you know kind of shift the conversation?” So being able to do that through acting, through something that I love? It’s incredible. And I think that’s kind of the attitude we all kinda of have on set. We’re kind of like, “We are here making a difference while doing something that we love.” And there’s no greater joy than that.

Right now, with Trump trying to bring back the ban on trans soldiers in the military, it’s so important what you’re doing because there are just so many people out there who don’t understand. They’ve never known a person who is trans or been educated on it. They just see them as headlines. So it’s mind-blowing to think that, by simply being who you are and were always meant to be, lives are being changed.

Thank you very much.

So now what’s next? You have this momentum going…

Well, I did Bit, which is an intersectional, feminist vampire movie that’s in post-production right now and that’ll be coming out in a little bit. Soon, I hope. And that’s another story about a trans girl whose character and storyline doesn’t revolve around her being trans. And that’s what I’ve been real excited about with these roles—especially with Nia—is that I think a lot of folks, like you said, read a headline and have these preconceived notions. They’d be shocked Nia’s a trans superhero. “Oh no! I know what this is. I don’t want this.” Or it’s, you know, “The social justice warriors are shoving their whatever’s down our throat!” I think if folks had given it a chance and if folks had watched Nia’s development in her character…her transness is only mentioned once.

Exactly. It’s not your character’s storyline.

Yeah, people have three-dimensional lives. People are multifaceted and dealing with just one aspect of someones identity doesn’t leave a lot to do from a writing or acting perspective.

Nicole Maines as Nia Nal and Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl (Diyah Pera/The CW)

Once Nia embraces her inner Dreamer, what does that do to her relationship with Team Supergirl?

Her relationships with Kara and Brainy (Jesse Rath) are great because both of them are kind of teaching her the ropes of being a superhero. There’s some great training scenes of Brainy training Nia in combat. And then you know, there are these two little instances where they’re out doing superhero stuff and Supergirl will kind of be like “Dial it down to seven!” So I think Nia’s still on the road to being a superhero. [Laughs]

Supergirl, Sundays, 8/7c, The CW