Is Non Negotiable? ‘Supergirl’s Chris Vance Previews the Season Finale Showdown
If anything sounds like a job for Supergirl, it’s Monday’s first-season finale. Picking up with our heroine (Melissa Benoist) forced to battle with her adoptive Earthling sister Alex (Chyler Leigh)—whose body has been overtaken by Non (Chris Vance), the humanity-hating widower of Kara’s late aunt Astra (Laura Benanti)—the episode finds Kara’s angry uncle and his villainous partner Indigo (Laura Vandervoort) ramping up their mind-control program, Myriad, to exact a nefarious plot against National City’s mind-controlled residents. And pretty much the rest of the planet, unless Kara can save the day. Can she sway her Kryptonian relative to spare mankind and screw over Indigo? Or is Non right, should we be eradicated for ruined our planet beyond salvation? And seriously, will CBS just get to renewing this show already?! Vance may not have the answer to that last one, but he sure had some stuff to say about what fans should expect in the season’s final hour.
Based on last week’s episode, it’s starting to look like Non may be having a change of heart.
Yes, I think so. I think primarily, he’s in mourning for his wife, but I think his conviction to fulfilling her destiny, her vision, you know using Myriad and saving Earth has been paramount in his actions. I believe in his heart of hearts, he desperately wants to fulfill his wife’s vision, after all he did let her down in some sense. That said, I don’t think he’s a character that is without compassion and I think family means as much to him as it ever did to Astra and you know, he is Kara’s uncle in that family tree. And it’s far more interesting for me to play the humanity in Non, if you’ll excuse the irony in that.
Right, because he actually wants to end humanity!
Removing humanity from planet Earth will save it, but I try to play his humanity…he is very conflicted. [Laughs]
So going into the finale, where do we have him?
You have him basically giving Supergirl probably her ultimate challenge thus far because we’re going into a season finale and let’s face it, it has to be ramped up, right? [Laughs] So I think he is master and commander of his own world alongside Indigo and they will pull the strings and force this poor girl to her ultimate challenge.
To kill her own sister?
Well, that’s the by-the-by. I’m saying that the ultimate challenge is the save every man, woman and child on the Earth.
Ah, yes. Which she might have to do by killing her own sister.
Mhmm, there’s that possibility. [Laughs]
Have you seen the fight that Melissa and Chyler had to film?
I have, yes.
How epic is it?
Oh, it’s fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And the two of them are so good at that stuff. I mean they really go at it, so it’s a lot of fun. Then obviously all the guys that work in post-production and the directors and the producers that put it together, they know what they’re doing and it turns out really nice.
I feel like Non and Indiago are the last two people we should be trusting.
[Laughs] I think they’re just using each other for their own ends basically and the game of seduction, the manipulation, is all part of it.
So I can imagine that spells a lot of trouble for one or maybe both of them going into this last hour.
You think? Yeah, you hit the nail on the head, not too far away.
How has it been playing this guy? Because it was such an iconic role from the Superman films.
Yes it was. To answer your question, I think firstly Andrew Kreisberg, Ali Adler [and the other executive producers] had such a different vision of Non and his journey and his arc from the movies. It was unique in the sense that they brought forth the intelligence of the man, the military commander and so you’re almost getting to know Non before you ever saw him in the movies, really. Part of playing that out for them was a challenge I embraced because they have such a tight vision on this show, they have such a really good vision of a successful story and they’ve managed to achieve it. I love playing the part and getting as close to their vision as I possibly could.
What did you think when you saw the costume?
First of all I was like ‘Oh, OK then.’ [Laughs] It fit pretty well, they tailored it really nicely, but I can’t tell you it’s the most comfortable thing in the world, especially around the nether regions! Especially when you’re wearing harnesses and wires and that sort of thing. [Laughs]
You had to realize that doing a superhero show means you’re going to end up in a skin-tight suit.
Now you know what the women have gone through all this time!
Pretty much, that seems to be the theme of it. Now the girls are looking at us going, “Uh huh…see? Told you so.”
Yeah, how’s that craft services feeling now?
Still, it’s got to be so much fun.
You’re right, all the wire stuff and the green-screen stuff and the outdoor stuff and the fun—Melissa and I rolling around fighting, it’s hilarious. It’s always fun as a performer to be running around in a rubber jumpsuit pretending to be lasering people with your eyes, that’s all fun. The other challenge for me was, as I said before, was to bring a humanity and complexity to Non so he didn’t end up being a one-dimensional character in this, to ultimately play out what is a deeper, philosophical question that the writers brought to the table: Are we, as a human race, destroying our own planet? Obviously they do the parallel with Krypton being destroyed by Kryptonians, so to find the humanity and the conviction in Non that that is what’s happening made it much more complex than a one-dimensional villain for me to play and that was interesting.
That’s a question that needs to be asked in the real world.
Well this is it, isn’t it? It’s a really interesting philosophical question, particularly for the time we are in, with our awareness now over the last twenty years or so of global warming and water supplies being damaged and food resources being depleted. It’s really an interesting question. Are we a parasite on the face on the planet? I mean if we buggered off would the world be alright? I don’t know, maybe?
And maybe Kara’s solution is we have to keep hope.
Right, right! Exactly. And we do let’s face it, as a species we do. We have to find whatever that might be, the right balance of spirituality, the right investment in each other and in other species, and whatever it takes to sustain our existent. Because right now it’s apparent to most of us that in some sense we’re getting it wrong. Like very wrong.
Can you give me one tease as to what we should expect from this finale? Because it’s got to end on something big.
It does, it ends on something very big. I think the tease that I can give away is that Non and Indigo really put Supergirl through her paces and she’s sort of forced to risk everything to save everyone on the planet.
Does everyone make it out alive?
Oh come on, you know I can’t tell you that! [Laughs]
The Supergirl season finale airs Monday, April 18, at 8/7c on CBS.