‘Naomi’ Star Kaci Walfall on How Closely the Show Will Follow the Comics

The actress tells TheWrap she carried a copy of it with her at all times

Photo: Fernando Decillis/The CW

The CW’s newest superhero makes her debut Tuesday night, with the premiere of “Naomi,” from Ava DuVernay. But don’t worry, series star Kaci Walfall promises viewers don’t have to be experts on the comics to jump into the series.

Yes, “Naomi” — like The CW’s super shows before it — is based on a series of comics, written by Brian Michael Bendis and David F. Walker. She was first introduced in DC Comics in March 2019, and Walfall made sure to always have her source material on hand.

“I carry the comic with me all the time. It’s always in my bag when I go to work just to reference it,” Walfall told TheWrap. “And I think that although the comic is this great story, sometimes Miss Ava and Jill [Blankenship, co-executive producer] say that it is a little bit of an inspiration for the show. So there are things that are very similar. There’s the characters that are in there are all in the show.”

That said, the world of “Naomi” will also definitely expand on screen.

“There’s new characters that weren’t in [the comics]. Like Nathan, for example, has a smaller part of the comic and Anthony has a smaller part,” Walfall explained. “And then there’s Lourdes who’s not in the comic, played by Camila Moreno, and Jacob played by Aidan Gemme, so there’s new characters. And I think that there are storylines that are similar to the comic. But then I also think that there are things that are different. And I think that the audience will really love that, because there’s still things that feel close to the comic, but then there’s also storylines that people won’t expect.”

For what it’s worth though, Walfall is pretty sure Naomi McDuffie is cool enough to have her own show, even without superpowers. And that’s because Naomi is a bit different than most supers we’ve seen. For one thing, she’s super popular, even before discovering she has powers. Naomi runs a well known Superman fan site, and is beloved at her school. And that’s something that struck Walfall immediately.

“I remember when I first read the pilot, and even read the character description, it often said the word ‘confident.’ I think it said the word ‘confident,’ like three times,” Walfall told TheWrap. “And I told Miss Ava when I was auditioning, I was like, ‘What I love about the character is how confident she is.’ She asked me what I loved about her. And yeah, I feel like there could be a show about Naomi even if she wasn’t a superhero.”

Walfall continued: “She’s loved so much. So it’s awesome to tell the narrative and tell the story that to be obsessed with Superman or to be obsessed with comics, you don’t have to be necessarily a nerd or you can get along with other people. And she’s juggling all these things like … all these AP classes. She knows all these languages. So, I feel like she can almost have a show on her own. And then that superhero element just makes the show so much more captivating and exciting.”

The young actress credited series creator DuVernay with giving audiences such a cool character, and teases “Naomi” as “a different project that we may have not seen from her” before.

“I love Miss Ava so much. I just get a smile talking about her honestly. She’s such a great creative but she’s also such a kind, great soul to be around,” Walfall gushed. “When you’re around Miss Ava, you want to be the best version of yourself because she is the best version of herself when she’s around you.

“I’ve watched like all of her projects even before I was working with her, I always wanted to work with her. So working with her in the super world has been really great because she’s so hands on in the project. She like, allows me to have creative freedom, but she’s definitely present. And so working with her in the super world is super fun, because she’s also giving us just this Black girl who’s a superhero, which we barely see. And [what’s] beautiful is that and it allows young Black girls and just people to see themselves within this character.”