Supergirl Season 2 kicked off last night with “The Adventures of Supergirl”, finally bringing Superman into the Arrowverse. Along with the Man of Steel, the episode made numerous references to past Superman events on the big screen. It’s not uncommon for the Arrowverse shows to reference DC comics places and people, but this episode made it sound like the Christopher Reeve movies actually happened in this timeline.
The California Earthquake
Early in the episode Superman is asked about his actions during the California earthquake. This is a reference to the end of Superman: The Movie where Lex Luthor sent a nuclear missile to cause a massive earthquake, breaking California off into the sea and giving him plenty of beach-front property (including an itty-bitty place called Otisberg).
Cat Grant’s new assistant in this season is named Miss Tessmacher. This is a direct reference to Lex’s girl in the original Superman movie. Cat even screams at her the same way Lex Luthor did in that movie.
Lex Being in Prison
Season two of the show brought in Lex’s little sister Lena and we learn that Luthor is spending multiple life sentences in maximum security prison. It’s a little less of a direct tie to the 80s Superman movies, but Luthor did end up in prison at the end of Superman: The Movie before Miss Tessmacher broke him and Otis out in Superman II.
In the DC universe Corto Maltese is an island off the coast of South America. It has been referenced in the Arrowverse before in Arrow in Season 3 and was even mentioned once in Smallville. However in an episode of Supergirl with so many references to the older DC Superman movies, it stood out as in the 1989 Batman movie Vicky Vale was known for her photojournalism in Corto Maltese.
Yes, the episode did mention Gotham but this isn’t the first time the Arrowverse has ventured there. Arrow has mentioned Bludhaven (and the show was very close to getting to use Nightwing at one point), and we know both Batman and Superman exist in the universe. At the start of Legends of Tomorrow Rip Hunter says he’s “seen Men of Steel die and Dark Knights fall” referencing both the Doomsday and Knightfall events in DC comics. So a Gotham reference in Supergirl really isn’t something new…