Stargirl: The Tragic Story Behind The Creation Of Courtney Whitmore


Stargirl is shaping up to be an amazing series with so much heart. However, what a lot of fans don’t realise is how the character of Courtney Whitmore came to be in the comics.

Stargirl has become a massive hit on DC Universe and The CW and has exceeded everyone’s expectations. However, there is small minority that are claiming the show is cheesy and too family oriented. Well, we’re here to tell you that there is so much more to the series than what you naysayers think and it has to with Courtney.

We’re not talking about Courtney Whitmore, the show’s central protagonist. There’s another girl who shares her name and is the inspiration for the character and her name was Courtney Johns.

The Girl Behind Courtney Whitmore

Courtney Elizabeth Whitmore is more than just a fictional character in the eyes of creator Geoff Johns. She was inspired by his younger sister, Courtney who at the age of 18 died tragically.

What’s more is despite sharing a name with Whitmore, Miss Johns’ spirit is also captured within the character played brilliantly by Brec Bassinger. Stargirl has an infectious and positive personality which is what Geoff has said his sister had as well.

What Happened To Courtney Johns?

While we mentioned a plane crash took Courtney Johns’ life, we’re going to explain the story in a little more detail. Grab your tissues because it’s going to be a sad one.

On July 17, 1996, Courtney Elizabeth Johns was on the TWA Flight 800 when it crashed, killing her and 229 other people onboard. There were no survivors. In her memory, Geoff created Courtney Elizabeth Whitmore who debuted in DC Comics in July 1999 three years after his sister’s tragic death. Before becoming Stargirl, she was the second Star-Spangled Kid.

Geoff created the character to keep his sister’s memory and legacy alive. That is not all. Johns also gave Courtney Whitmore his late sibling’s smarts and spirit.

The Easter Egg

During the first episode, a photo can be seen on Whitmore’s bulletin board where Bassinger’s Courtney is seen alongside her inspiration. While this is a blink-and-you-miss-it, Brec posted the full photo to Twitter to celebrate the show’s premiere.

[Credit: @Brecbassinger – Twitter]

This important little tribute is to show fans that there is more to Courtney’s journey to becoming Stargirl. It is also about remembering the young woman who inspired her creation, her personality and above all, her name.

Honouring Her Memory

In a featurette, Brec Bassinger, Luke Wilson (Pat/Stripesy/STRIPE), Amy Smart (Barbara), and Joel McHale (Sylvester/Starman) talk about how Geoff brought the series to life. Check the video out here:

[Credit: @stargirl_cw – Twitter]

Smart mentions that when she read the script she spoke to Johns and he explained how the character was inspired by his sister. She also said it was a passion project for him and how much it showed.

We also cannot forget that Geoff is the showrunner for the series. Many of the episodes for the first season were written by him so he left no stone unturned. This show and its cast is what makes honouring Courtney the most important part of the project. They’re fulfilling what Johns set out to do when he and Lee Moder wrote the Stars and Stripe comic series.

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About Author

C.J. Hawkings has written for the now-defunct Entertainment website, Movie Pilot and the still functioning WhatCulture and ScreenRant. She now writes for FanSided and is loving it!

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