As fan frustration increasingly mounts over the lack of female-centered superhero movies and TV shows, the team behind Supergirl vows that when translating Kara to the small screen, they won’t sacrifice the unique take her gender brings to the story.

“For us, usually when you see a female hero – and it’s no disrespect to any of them – they’ve had to lose being female to be the hero,” said Andrew Kreisberg, an executive producer and writer for the show. “Usually when you see a hero, it’s because she’s badass. And what we’re saying is you can be badass and still be a girl, and being a girl ins’t a bad thing. And so much of what makes Kara successful her is that she is a girl, and women do things differently. Our version of this world presents Superman as a bit of a loner… and that’s not the way Kara does things.”

Chyler Leigh, who plays Alexandra Dancer, a character created specifically for the show, said the female-led show was a common sense move.

“I wouldn’t even say it’s a good step forward; it’s appropriate. It makes sense. It is timely,” she said. “I have two daughters, they’re eight and six, and I couldn’t think of a better way to be a part of something that is such a great influence for them. They get to look up to Supergirl.”

Executive Producer Ali Adler said that they saw more than 1,000 women audition for the role, but that Melissa Benoist – who landed the role – was the very first person they saw, and she stuck with them throughout the audition process.

“She is so special and contagious and true,” she said. “She’s unapologetically a badass, and she’s soft.”

Benoist said that although she’s been physically training for the role, it wasn’t something she was used to.

“It’s funny because in my every day life, I have always been such a pacifist. I grew up in a household full of women, and if you hit someone, it was a huge deal, even just a slap,” ehs aid. “So the butt kicking is new, that’s a new muscle I’m flexing, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I liked it.”

At the SDCC panel, showrunners also revealed that Maxwell Lord would be appearing this season, played by Peter Facinelli,  as well as villains Livewire and Reactron.

Supergirl will debut in late October of 2015 on CBS.