‘DC’s Stargirl’ Name Drops Ted Knight, but Who Is He in DC Comics?

DC’s Stargirl joins the CW’s superhero series lineup and follows the story of high school teen Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger). As seen in the premiere episode, she inherits Starman’s (Joel McHale) cosmic staff and follows in his footsteps to become Stargirl. 

In the latest installment of the series, Ted Knight is introduced as Starman’s predecessor. So who is he, and what’s his role in DC Comics?

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for DC’s Stargirl, Season 1, Episode 2.]

Brec Bassinger in The CW's 'DC's Stargirl'
Brec Bassinger in ‘DC’s Stargirl’ | Jace Downs/The CW

Pat reveals the cosmic staff’s origin on ‘DC’s Stargirl’

In the second episode of DC’s Stargirl, Courtney faces her first major foe, Brainwave (Christopher James Baker). After she brings him down with the help of her stepfather, Pat Dugan, aka S.T.R.I.P.E (Luke Wilson), Courtney questions the origins of the cosmic staff.

Pat tells her that he doesn’t know much about it, but he knows that his friend, Sylvester Pemberton, aka Starman, didn’t create it. “I don’t know how the staff works,” Pat says. “Starman didn’t build it. A man named Ted Knight did, but that’s a story for another day.”

RELATED: ‘Stargirl’: Who Is Brec Bassinger, the Actor Who Plays Courtney/Stargirl?

Who is Ted Knight in DC Comics?

Ted Knight was the original Starman in DC Comics. The character first appeared in the 1941 Adventure Comics series with a finned helmet, red costume, and green cape. Knight was a scientist and astronomer who used his expertise to create a gravity rod/cosmic staff that would allow him to fly and fire blasts of energy. 

Knight has no physical super powers himself but uses his staff to channel cosmic radiation and turn it into weaponized energy. Throughout his appearances in DC Comics, Knight was a member of the Justice Society of America and the All-Star Squadron. He also briefly joins the U.S. Army Air Force as a fighter pilot during World War II. 

Eventually, after living most of his life as a superhero, Knight passes his staff and Starman name to his son, Jack Knight. He also creates a cosmic belt, which, along with the staff, is passed on from Jack to the Star-Spangled Kid (referred to as Sylvester Pembroke, aka Starman in the CW series) and Stargirl.

RELATED: CW’s ‘Stargirl’: How the DC Superhero Is Connected to Shazam

Will Ted Knight appear on ‘DC’s Stargirl’?

When Pat tells Courtney about Ted Knight on the second episode of DC’s Stargirl, he leaves the conversation open-ended. This hints he will tell his stepdaughter more about the staff and the man who created it. 

Because Knight is presumed to be dead in this timeline, it’s not likely the character will ever meet Courtney on the series. However, just like Starman, there is always a chance the character is shown in flashback scenes. 

For now, fans will just have to wait and see how the show decides to connect Ted Knight and Sylvester Pembroke. And more importantly, why the Injustice Society is so desperate to steal their cosmic staff.  

New episodes of DC’s Stargirl air Tuesday nights on the CW.