‘Valor’ Creator Hopes Female Lead, Diverse Cast Help CW Military Drama Stand Out

Up against a fall lineup peppered with military-centric pilots, “Valor” creator Kyle Jarrow is looking to the story’s strong female lead to set the series apart.

“It’s centered around a female soldier. And frankly there are tons of female soldiers, but the media depictions are very few. It feels like a story that’s really important and needs to be told,” Jarrow said Saturday night at “Valor’s” PaleyFest Fall TV Previews session, moderated by Variety‘s Debra Birnbaum.

“Valor” follows an elite unit of U.S. Army helicopter pilots and the fallout from a botched mission. Nora Madani, played by Christina Ochoa, is the unit’s first female pilot.

“There’s more pressure [on Nora], not just being in the special ops and being a Black Hawk pilot, but also being the first female,” said showrunner Anna Fricke. “We highlight that and what her responsibility is in that role.”

Beyond a strong female lead, “Valor” boasts a diverse supporting cast—an effort to authentically represent the military, according to Jarrow. With a writers room informed by two female veterans, authenticity was an attainable priority.

“The U.S. Army is incredibly diverse. It’s actually more diverse than the general American population and it felt like we needed to reflect that reality,” said Jarrow, adding, “Diversity was a big goal, but in all those roles we wanted to find people who had all elements — charisma and acting chops, as well as a military believability.”

“Valor” premieres Oct. 9 on the CW.

(Pictured: Matt Barr, Christina Ochoa and Kyle Jarrow)

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