Siobhan Smythe, the woman who will eventually become Silver Banshee, has been introduced on Supergirl, and the actress who plays her has already tweeted out a couple looks at the (frankly, campy) makeup and costume she’ll be sporting as Supergirl’s new villain. When asked when Banshee would appear in full, executive producer Greg Berlanti told fans they would spot clues regarding Banshee’s origin story by “doing their homework” and “reading the comics.”
Let’s do our homework, shall we?
Banshee’s origin story
In the comics, Banshee’s background is specifically Irish, and her powers come from a spooky, old Celtic ritual that she performs in a castle after learning of her father’s death. A powerful deity called “The Crone” tells Banshee she can walk among the living if she tracks down an old book that once belonged to her father. Well, surprise, someone sold the book to an American customer who lived in Metropolis. After flying in a ghostly way across the Atlantic, Banshee runs into Superman over and over, and power battles ensue. Eventually, the Crone concludes that Banshee is taking too long, and she drags her into hell while Superman watches.
Later, Supergirl rescues Banshee, who possesses a girl named Mattie and goes on a killing spree. Supergirl is able to separate Banshee from Mattie, and the spirit disappears again, for a while.
Banshee, post-New 52 reboot
Banshee is specifically a Supergirl villain in the New 52, recast as an Irish immigrant named Siobhan Smythe who moves to Metropolis to escape her father, Black Banshee. She befriends Kara, learning her secret and defending Supergirl as best she can. When her father mysteriously shows up, he turns her into Silver Banshee, and her fate is left unknown.
In the comics, Banshee has a Black Canary-style sonic scream ability, and she can also learn any language in seconds. In one comic, she even talks to doves in an attempt to impress Supergirl with her powers. She’s also very strong and fast, as is the typical superhuman.
In an interview with HitFlix, actress Italia Ricci explained that the show would not touch on Banshee’s history with Superman, and that her character’s language abilities, including the speaking-to-animals bit, had been left out. When asked if she was playing a New-52 style Banshee, as opposed to the original, Ricci stares at the interviewer and replies, “I have no idea.”
The interviewers then offered up a few moral conundrums that Supergirl has faced, and asked Ricci to guess what Silver Banshee would do. Her answers confirmed that this version of Silver Banshee wouldn’t see any of the ethical murkiness in the New 52 comics; she told the interviewers Banshee would kill her older cousin (Superman) if he was a rival, and would refuse to team up with The Flash. She said, with a laugh in response to “wow, no gray area there, just black and white like your costume”, “it’s fun to be bad!”
What to look for
The show’s creators have asked fans to weed through comics for clues, so here’s what we’ve gleaned. Any mention of a man named Garrett (Siobhan’s father), Gaelic or Celtic mythology, a ritual, an occult book, or Castle Broen will signify that Banshee is about to appear.
Banshee always has, in some issues, a business agreement with Lex Luthor, and has teamed up with Master Jailer, whom we met on the previous Supergirl episode, so there are opportunities for plot lines to meld together.